The Research Society on Alcoholism will be holding its 2009 scientific meeting *June 20-24 in San Diego. I have just received notice that they are holding a workshop on grantsmanship on Jun 20th from 9am-4pm. From the email:
The Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) Education Committee is sponsoring a one-day satellite devoted to strengthening knowledge and skills in the grant preparation process. The morning session is focused on the grant writing process. The presenter will discuss crucial aspects of the process, such as laying out the groundwork of an application and avoiding common pitfalls, with the goal of providing new investigators with a better understanding of producing a successful and competitive grant application. The afternoon session is focused on the NIH peer-review process. Investigators observe an updated NIH video of a mock review of how NIH grant applications are evaluated for scientific and technical merit. The overall aim of the mock review is to reduce misconceptions, provide a better understanding of the grant review process, and provide a foundation for how to interpret reviewers comments to develop more competitive applications.
A panel of experienced CSR and NIAAA study section members that represent neuroscience, psychosocial, and/or biomedical (basic) research areas will comment on the mock review and answer questions. The panel will also discuss the thought processes that serve as a basis for reviewers comments, how this varies by grant mechanism, and forthcoming changes in the NIH peer review process. Participants are encouraged to discuss issues concerning the review process with the panel.
To register, please visit www.rsoa.org.
To reiterate my usual points, I think it is really valuable for postdocs and even junior faculty in their first few years to attend several of these presentations. Yes, even if you are a devoted reader of blogs which focus on grantsmanship issues. The reason being that nobody has the magic pill solution. There are general principles of grantwriting/reviewing across the NIH, sure. There are also sub-cultural factors that make specific advice from those who have been through the process at the study sections and ICs most relevant to your (eventual) proposals highly valuable.
This sort of thing is also an opportunity to get to know certain useful people better and to get them to know you. I don't know how big this will be, what exact presentation format will materialize, etc. Nevertheless, similar ones that I attended earlier in my career (although not early enough by a long shot) afforded the opportunity to interact with a couple of early-mid career types who were currently on review panels and have subsequently gone on to sustain their positions as (now) major players. Program officers were there too, affording yet another opportunity for them to put your face to your name. Also the opportunity for them to mentally file you in the cohort of youngsters with SeriousInterest in becoming one of "their" funded investigators.
So if you have some flexibility in your plans for this meeting, register for this satellite and fly in early.
*And can I just note how stupid it is to hold the RSA and CPDD Annual Meetings the exact same week in different cities? It is bad enough that they are frequently on sequential weeks but this is ridic!