1. Who reviews SAEMF grant applications?
The SAEMF Grants Committee receives the application from the central office. Each application is assigned to a primary reviewer, as well as to several secondary reviewers. In general, reviewers choose to review grants where the subject area is familiar from their own research or expertise. When appropriate expertise is not available within the Grants Committee, outside experts are asked to provide ad hoc reviews.
2. How does the Committee decide which applications to fund?
The Grants Committee makes two determinations: (1) whether an application has met a minimum standard such that is should be funded at all, and (2) the rank-order of fundable applications. Each member of a subcommittee looks at all grants in the assigned category, and submits his or her rank-order list, as well as written comments about the applications. These initial votes are shared with the rest of the subcommittee in advance of an in-person meeting or conference call. During the meeting, all applications are reviewed and a final consensus rank-order list is created. This consensus comprises the final recommendation that is submitted to the Board.
3. My friend / colleague / former mentor / arch-enemy is on the Grants Committee. Will he / she review my application?
Our specialty is too small to guarantee that all applicants and institutions will be unknown to the reviewers. However, any reviewer who has an apparent conflict of interest is not allowed to review the relevant application, and is also not allowed to vote or participate in the consensus decision of the subcommittee. A conflict of interest includes when the applicant is from the same institution as the reviewer or when the reviewer is a collaborator. Reviewers have also recused themselves from a category because of past mentor-mentee relationships or because of other conflicting personal opinions. For more information on this topic, please see our Conflict of interest policy.
WHAT WE FUND
4. What is the emphasis of the SAEMF Grants Program?
SAEMF has several grant categories that emphasize research and education training and career development. This focus is thought to best serve the membership by fostering a cadre of members who are in a better position to compete for other funding for their projects. Although specific research projects are an important part of many applications, attention is also paid to the potential of each grant applicant’s training plan to provide the training that meets the goals of the specific grant category.
5. How many grants does SAEMF fund?
The number of grants provided by SAEM varies depending upon the amount of funding available from the SAEM Foundation. In the past few years, close to $700,000 of funding has been provided annually -- learn more about our research and education grants.
6. Will SAEMF accept late applications?
No. SAEMF will not accept any applications submitted after 5pm Central on the date of the deadline.
7. The SAEMF instructions do not match the NIH instructions for filling out a particular form.
Following the NIH instructions will always be acceptable. The rationale for using the NIH forms is to increase membership familiarity with this format and to prevent the need for reformatting biosketches or other pages into a version that is only useful for SAEMF. Note that the narrative portion of each grant application (the part that is on continuation pages) may require specific information related to the SAEM grant.
8. Because I am applying for a training grant, is the research plan that important?
A research plan is a critical part of research training. An application that has a poorly formulated research plan conveys to the reviewers that there has not been adequate mentorship during the development of the application, or that the proposed training will not be worthwhile. Furthermore, the reviewers will consider whether completion of the proposed training will place the applicant in a good position to compete for NIH or other funding. Each year, the applications that are received by SAEM include several with very detailed and well-developed research plans. An application that emphasizes only didactic training (a master’s degree program, for example), will not be competitive with these other applications.
9. How important is the training plan for a research grant?
The emphasis of SAEMF’s grants program is on development of the applicant rather than on completion of specific, single projects. Therefore, it is expected that the applicants will comment on how the grant would improve their training and progress toward being independent investigators. In most circumstances, this progress would require some formal didactic training (courses for a master’s degree, a doctoral program, or a certificate in clinical research design are examples). Structured training plans (a formal degree) are more credible than a plan to audit selected classes. In some cases, an applicant might address why a formal degree program is not appropriate (e.g., they already have a PhD). Specific examples of other formal experiences will also add to the credibility of the training plan: journal clubs; scheduled lab presentations; training in a particular laboratory; developing specific statistical or other research techniques; etc.
10. After submitting my application, I noticed that my pages / margins / fonts are not exactly correct. Will this cause my grant to be rejected?
Probably not. In particular, if the format is consistent with NIH guidelines or is otherwise uniform, it will likely be OK. Attempts to circumvent the page limits are obvious. Difficulty complying with the formats may also generate a less-than-favorable impression for the reviewers.
11. When and how will I be notified if my application was accepted or rejected?
Once a decision is made, SAEMF will send a formal letter to the address listed on your application stating whether or not your application was accepted. You may also receive an email notification with the determination letter attached. Notifications are typically sent within one week of the decision date.