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Grants Enhancement Program

introduction to the grants enhancement program

The Grants Enhancement Program (GEP) was founded in 2010 to improve grant applications submitted by junior investigators and faculty members in order to maximize the probability of funding.  Providing this support at both Children's National Hospital and The George Washington University (GW) has a long-term goal of expanding the base of successful, externally funded, clinical and translational researchers at the two partner organizations. We have now fully implemented our collaboration to enhance the grant-obtaining success of the combined junior faculty served by the CTSI-CN, both at Children’s National and at GW. Our new combined program will offer an even greater range of expertise to applicants of both institutions. GEP review prior to grant submission, is required of all CNH junior faculty (assistant professor) applying for external funding and is available to faculty at all levels.

The GEP assists faculty with grant proposal development and applications by providing:

Senior Level Proposal Review: This program consists of a panel of 7 successful senior investigators whose collective expertise spans the translational research spectrum. These GEP advisors provide detailed review, feedback, and mentoring of proposals from developing early-stage concepts to draft specific aims through full proposals, in concert with the investigator’s primary mentor. Requests for consultation by the GEP should be made at least 12 weeks prior to the grant submission date.  The GEP reviews both initial applications and revised (amended, or “A1”) applications that are in response to an NIH critique. 

Applicants can also take advantage of resources from the GW School of Medicine Research Enhancement Unit to provide streamlined access for CTSI-CN v2.0 investigators to grant preparation training/consultation, structured mentorship, writing seminars, professional editing, and illustration services. 

Open studio reviews: Open Studios meetings address the earliest stages of project formulation. The meetings provide critique of the concept proposed by the applicant by a team GEP faculty together with other senior faculty specifically experienced in the project area.  With this input the applicant can then develop the specific aims page that becomes the material for one-on-one assistance by the GE members and peer critique. 

Periodic K/R Group Meetings: The GEP hosts periodic, usually monthly meetings of two groups of peer investigators: those pursuing Mentored Career Development Awards and those pursing Independent Research Awards (R Grants). At each meeting the group reviews, discusses and critiques the specific aims of a group member and provides peer review, guided by one or more senior faculty member of the GEP’. 

GEP Library: This library contains a collection of successfully funded grant applications for both mentored and independent R level awards as well as various guidance documents for grant preparation. The GEP Library is found on the platform, making it easily accessible to all GEP members. Access will be granted by Valery Yankov (


Step 1, request assistance: The applicant should send email notification either to the grants enhancement program (GEP) or to one of us, Dr. Stefan Ladish ( at Children's National or Dr. Rong Li or Sanjay Maggirwar at GW requesting review or an initial meeting. If sent directly to a reviewer (one of us), the email should also be forwarded to Valery Yankov, administrator for the GEP, who will track the submission.

Step 2, register the proposal: Valery Yankov will generate a redcap survey link and send the link to the applicant. If this is an initial exploratory meeting, this will be recorded in a contact file-- keeping track of individuals asking for pre-proposal writing (conceptual) help.

Step 3, complete Redcap submission: The applicant completes the redcap request form,  including uploading grant documents (i.e., the specific aims page at a minimum) for review, creating an ongoing record of reviews in progress.

Step 4, reviewer assignment: Valery Yankov extracts documents and sends them to the GEP chair Dr. Stefan Ladish. One reviewer of the GEP becomes the primary reviewer for the proposal aims review and will be responsible for follow-through; other reviewers may also provide input.

Step 5, review process: The primary reviewer is identified by email cc or reply to Valery Yankov, who will keep the ongoing record of work in progress.  All reviewer feedback/edits are sent directly to the applicant, with a copy to Dr. Stephan Ladisch (to be aware) and Valery Yankov (to record as needed)

Step 6, submission: By the due date of the application submission Valery Yankov contacts the applicant to verify successful submission and assure redcap update.