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Opening Salvos in Grant Land.

20 August 2012

So, the grant I’m writing is going to involve diabetic eye care, and computer simulation techniques. My pilot focussed on diabetic retinopathy, but for the full-scale grant I want to include other diabetic eye conditions¬† as well. Essentially, all ophthalmic complications of diabetes. It’s a health services grant, so I’m not actually looking to design interventions for the disease, or change surgeries or anything like that. I’m looking at policy and access. How can I improve means of providing care for diabetic eye conditions?

Now, I’ve written a preliminary aims page, which has a couple of paragraphs of background, a paragraph describing my pilot results, and how those results agree with other results in the field, and a justification of the seriousness of the problem (that needs to be better). The aims page also had three specific aims. But as with my pilot, they’re not hypothesis based yet. They’re descriptive. I’ll need to re-organize them to fit the narrow-minded, unimaginative model of exclusively hypothesis driven medical research if I expect to get this funded.

Ok. Slash bitter. My next goal is to head towards gathering some collaborators. There are some people in my medical system who’ve done diabetes and eye care research before. I’m reaching out to them, a couple of ophthalmologists, an epidemiologist, and an implementation researcher. These types of people will be needed to help me do a couple of things: collect expertise in the fields that I don’t know enough about. I may recruit an endocrinologist as well to consult on the basic advancement of diabetes.

This process of assembling talent is critical to making the grant work. The agency I’m applying to will essentially not consider any grant that doesn’t have a large group, based in various institutions, with a wide variety of expertise. That’s good for a lot of reasons: it assures that the ideas will be well-tested and have diversity of thought behind them, it prevents insularity. But it’s also kind of silly for a few reasons: it prevents high impact but risky research driven by individual investigators with novel ideas.

So I’ve reached out to four individuals, and heard back from two who are interested in at least looking at my aims and talking about the grant. One big name diabetes researcher turned me down. But that’s ok. I’m looking forward to this process. I think that I have a strong possibility of getting this idea turned into a highly fundable grant. I’m already exhausted just thinking about it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 23 August 2012 11:56

    You can do this.

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