4.28.17 I received a NIH K99/R00 grant
Writing a K99/R00 can be a daunting task for Postdocs and the information that is available online is quite insufficient. While there is no one recipe for success, I am summarizing the major points that can help Postdocs write a K99/R00 grant:
1. Start early: Postdocs with more than 4 years of Postdoc training are not eligible to apply for the K99/R00. It is best to start thinking about a K99/R00 around year 2.5 of a Postdoc. It takes many months to write one grant and about 6 months to hear the result of a grant. One resubmission is allowed per grant. Typically, grant applications can be submitted 3 times a year with deadlines in February, June and October.
2. Contact your Program Director: Identify an Institute at NIH. The Postdoc mentor is often the best person to provide advice on this. Contact the Program Director and ask questions that you have about the application. The general idea is to help the applicant move towards and independent research career. Having performed enough research in your Postdoc that differentiates yourself from your Postdoc mentor is very useful.
3. Use the expertise of your University/Department's Postdoc office: Postdoc offices often provide guidance on K99/R00 applications as they deal with these grants on a regular basis. The entire grant application can end up being about 70 pages. Contacting them early and learning about the application procedures at the University/Department can be very useful.
4. Form an Advisory Committee: Science is a collaborative team effort. Akin to forming a thesis committee, contact about 3-4 scientists that can act as your advisors and can provide complimentary skills to your K99/R00 application.
5. Invite Feedback from Peers: Sending grant application to peers for feedback and using that to draft better versions often leads to the identification of loopholes. Make best use of all the intellectual resources that you have.
6. Apply and be prepared to re-apply: A lot of K99/R00 grants do not get scored however there is always feedback from the reviewers. Also, your grant might get a score that is not within the payline. After receiving a score or comments, talk with your program director and get more feedback. Use that to write a better 2nd version and re-apply. Many K99/R00 grants end up getting funded after the resubmission.
Alongside, make sure to enjoy your research and the process of turning your ideas into reality. Performing research at a high level is a privilege that very few people have. Postdocs are amongst the very few people that have that privilege. Make best use of your time, stay honest with yourself, and enjoy the process without worrying too much about the outcome!
9.6.16 Our Article where we attached gold nanoparticles to SprB and tracked its motion in 3D space is Featured on the cover of Biophysical Journal ! The Cover Photo is attached at the end of this page.
3.30.2015. Our article describing the presence of a rotary motor in a gliding bacterium is featured by the Harvard Gazette http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/03/mystery-motor/