Letters of Support.
So for the R03 I’m writing, I’ll get letters of support from all the key personnel and my department head, etc.. But I wonder about other letters. When I wrote my first R03eq grant at my former employer, I got a local famous person in a closely-related field to write me a letter that basically said, “Hi! I’m famous and I think Dr24hours is super awesome. We expect this to be a success, and when it is, we’d love to collaborate directly on the follow-up R01eq!” That grant was funded.
Now I’m writing another R03 to another agency. In this case, I’m again developing a pilot project to hopefully eventually lead to an R01 or R18. Because this project straddles research and quality improvement, and because it will directly impact several areas of MECMC, I’m thinking of asking the medical directors of those areas to write, essentially, amicus briefs. Once again, not really agreeing to participate, but saying, “Hi! We’re famous and we know about this research and its potential to impact our areas. We think those impacts will be great, and we’ve worked with Dr24hours before and he’s a total rockstar. We’d love to advise him informally throughout the process.”
Do these kinds of letters help? Do they mean anything? Do letters help at all, or are they just digital checkboxes for reviewers to say, “Yup. The dude got letters from people.”? What should a good letter of support say, if it’s from someone other than key personnel?