Need more grant funding?

There's a straightforward four-step persuasion process that sells the value of your work to your reviewer .... to get an excited response ... every time.

Morgan Giddings, PhD
From: Morgan Giddings, PhD
Professor, Scientist, and Author of Four Steps To Funding
Boise, ID
March 21, 2012

I tore open the envelope. What I saw made my heart sink. I moped out of the mail room in a fit of embarrassment. Another grant proposal, rejected.

Not only rejected, but unscored (UN) – meaning that the NIH study section hadn’t even bothered to discuss the proposal I’d spent months laboring over.

My career was just about over and done. In the toilet. I was ready to give up in a fit of self-loathing and frustration.

Flash forward to four years later. I get the email that says my R01 scores are in. It’s now 2007, and grant scores have moved from the infamous pink sheets to online reporting. I brace myself and open up the NIH commons website. I’m ready for bad news. As I look at the score, I scream. My lab tech runs in looking gravely concerned and says “what’s wrong?”

My smile, intermixed with incredulity, told him all he needed to know. I’d done it again. I got a score in the top few percentile on the first round of submission for my R01. This meant virtually assured funding for my research program.

This story shows that grants can lead you to the depths of despair when done improperly … or the heights of ecstasy when done right. And, you get to decide which one of those it will be.

It wasn’t an accident that four years after the depths of despair that the situation had totally turned around. That moment in the mail room was my “I’ve had it” moment. It led me on a quest to find out one simple thing: what makes a great grant proposal “tick?”

Relentless pursuit of that question since that time in 2003 has led to a string of successes totaling $23 million funding for my own and collaborator’s research… and millions more for other people I’ve helped since then.

Since then, I’ve watched colleagues struggle with grants. Grant rejections can lead to more than just career troubles – they spill over into family troubles, health issues, sleepless nights, and more.

I got fed up watching that same thing happen to other people, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. More on that in a second.

Scientific research is vital to the health of our country and the world. But many researchers are struggling in despair and overwhelm, in large part due to troubles with grant funding.

There’s nothing more angering than wasting your precious time on grants that get rejected. Often the reviews that come back are not in the least helpful.

Upon reading your reviews you may think to yourself:

  • Did the damn reviewers even read the grant?  Right there on page 6, I explained that thing that they’re picking on me for!
  • Why are they nitpicking on these minor details? It’s a stupid waste of their time and mine.
  • Who are they to tell me I’m not qualified to do the work – didn’t they read the biosketches?
  • Why do they seem totally uninterested in solving this key problem in the field?
  • I’ve had it with my competitors who keep trashing me!

No fun.  Like I said, I’ve been there. During my rejection phase, I had four grants rejected in a row — in under two years.  This was right when I was starting out as an assistant professor at a top medical research school (UNC-CH). I was convinced I was doomed.

I felt totally trapped, with no way out.

But that “I’ve had it” moment led me to work with a smart mentor, who knew his chops when it came to grants.

He taught me the core principles of effective scientific and medical grant writing.

I went from those four rejections to a string of wild successes.

Now, before I tell you more about it, I give you a caution: this is not about “tricking” the reviewer or some such nonsense. Most of your reviewers are people like you, who are too smart for that.  It is simply about two things: framing the project that you’re offering to be more “sellable,” then putting forth your very best effort to impress the reviewer by writing an effective, hard-hitting grant, using a proven formula.

As they said in the movie about the kung fu loving panda, “there is no secret ingredient.”  

I sometimes talk about persuasion when it comes to grants, but I think people often misinterpret that to think I have some kind of verbal hypnosis that I teach that lures the unsuspecting reviewer into a complacent mood willing to just cut the check.

Ha ha. Not in the real world. I don’t want you thinking that there is trickery here.  There is none of that.  At the basis of every good grant proposal is a great project or a great idea.  Without those, you can’t write a great proposal.

But, even if you do have a great idea for a great project, you can screw up the writing part. Many people do – and that’s what I was doing when I was getting consistent rejections. My message was muddled and unclear.

Reviewers couldn’t see through the muddled message to understand the value of the project I was offering. So they rejected my proposals.

I don’t blame them – reviewing is hard work, and reviewers shouldn’t be expected to dig deeply into difficult text to find the “value” of the project you’re proposing. It should be obvious from the start. If you don’t make it obvious from the start, you probably won’t get the grant.

But most people get this “obvious from the start” part wrong. They get key elements turned around and in the wrong order. That results in rejections. Rejections result in lots of wasted time. And in the science field, wasting time is like flushing gold down the toilet.

Before laying out the formula, I want to briefly discuss two personality types and their relation to getting grants:

  • Personality Type #1: This personality says, “I’m too busy writing grants and doing my research for learning stuff like better grant writing.” I can tell you where that leads.  It leads to the same place I was after my four rejections: having spent months (or years) slaving over difficult grant proposals only to get ridiculed, heckled, and shot down by reviewers. And not funded.  After being that kind of person for a few years, and realizing the dead end it was leading me to, I decided to become a different type of person.
  • Personality Type #2 – Without knowing you, I’m betting that you are this type of person, simply because you’ve read this far. This type of person is always seeking out new ways to be more efficient and productive, and often invests in herself/himself to do so. This person continues to compound success upon success by getting better and better at vital skills like grant-getting.

There are some folks out there with many millions in NIH and other medical-related funding, and big labs full of busy researchers.  Guess which type they are?

You bet they are! I hope you are type #2 as well.

So, what are these “mystery principles” of a great proposal?

There are four key things every great grant proposal must convey, in a specific order.  You miss one or more of these, or put them out of order, and you’re toast.

  • WHY, as in “Why should the reader give a crap about this proposal?” You’ve got to give them very good reason.  Many grants fail at this first, crucial step.
  • WHO, as in “Who are these people and do they the credibility to pull this thing off?”  If you haven’t taken specific steps to build credibility and then convey those in your grant, you’ll get a good roasting.
  • WHAT, as in “What is the hypothesis or advance you are proposing?” A lot of people throw a hypothesis into a grant almost as an afterthought, because they’ve heard that the study section requires “hypothesis-driven proposals.”  Then they wonder what happened when the scathing reviews come back to totally tear apart that hypothesis.  There’s a specific way to build the “what” part of your proposal to avoid this.
  • HOW, as in “How are you going to do the work?” While on the surface this appears straightforward, there’s a massive, hidden pitfall here.  Not only does the reader need to know “how” you will do the work, but they need to know why each specific aim is important.  If you don’t convey that effectively, you run the serious risk of them just not seeing the point… which means… no funding (and perhaps some scathing reviews).
At this point, you could be thinking to yourself: ok Dr. Smarty Pants, that sounds well and good, but how do I do this in my grants, so that I write my next grant proposal to prevent rejection and get it funded, avoiding 100’s of hours of my time wasted?
The good news is that I put all the core techniques into a powerful new book that will show you exactly how to get your next grant funded, and keep the grants rolling in.

It is based on the experience I developed turning around from a series of four rejections into a series of funded grants, many of which received scores in the top few percent of all proposals written. The book is called “Four Steps To Funding.” It’s been very well received by researchers and grant writers around the world who are putting the formula into action and getting more funding as a result.

Four Steps To Funding Electronic Cover

This book will teach you the Four Step Formula that every successful grant proposal uses (even if it’s author doesn’t know she’s doing it). It’s the same formula that I outlined above, just in more detail – with real examples from grants that got the funding – that you can use to write a more effective proposal every time.

The feedback has been fantastic.  Here’s an example:

“I started reading the book last night and had to force myself to stop and get some sleep. I got up early and finished it this morning. I think it is excellent!!! I’ve been to several “Grantsmanship” seminars and they were soooooo tedious and full of the same old, obvious “tips”. Your focus on psychology, marketing and getting into the mind of the reviewer in a lucid and entertaining way was fantastic. I’ve been brainstorming this morning on my upcoming grant, while reviewing what I highlighted in your book.”
Tom O'Connel, PhD, Director of the Hamner Center & UNC Metabolomics Facility
The book also includes key topics such as:
  • The #1 approach you must take if you want your reviewers to see your proposal as valuable (and give you the funding).
  • Without C_____ you don’t stand a chance of being funded!
  • The most overlooked part of every grant proposal that is key to convincing your reviewer!
  • Why the writing of your proposal is like a ratchet – you can take the steps in one and only one order, and if you don’t, why it will lead to rejection.
  • The “leaky pipe theory.” The key thing you must understand and know how to handle it.
  • The six vital things to NEVER do in your grant proposal, unless you enjoy rejection.
  • The four types of rejections, and why you have to understand the differences to effectively respond.

People who have my book Four Steps To Funding are on their way to getting those glowing reviews… and their next grant funded. Think about it. How much will it accelerate YOUR medical research to get your next grant funded?

“I am having a blast reading and reflecting on your manuscript! You are cooking with butane! I am just past one-third through and I love it!!!”
Peter Drain, PhD, Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh

I know you’re busy, so I want to point out one key thing.  This isn’t a long-winded, densely written, academic tome on grant writing.  No, at just about 150 pages in paperback format, it is written to be concise, engaging, and to the point.  No fluff or filler.  Just good solid information that you need to know about how to write more effective grant proposals.

“Overall, an excellent piece of work, this should be part of the on-boarding package for any new assistant professor and required reading for every post-doc. You’ve explained this topic in a way that only someone who has had the experience of both success and failure can bring. This is very valuable to the reader.”
Tom McNeill, PhD, Bioinformatics Scientist, Syngenta

By now you probably see the power of this approach, and may be wondering why would I be selling my book so inexpensively?  Here’s the situation: I’ve been selling this on Amazon and it’s been doing great for a self-published book. But I want it to do even better. My goal is to sell 1,000 copies, and then take it to a publisher. I also want feedback on it – the good, the bad, the ugly – so that I can make it even better!

So, I’m going to give you an “offer you can’t refuse” if you grab your copy here and now:
  • You’ll get immediate access to the e-book version as a downloadable PDF.  You’ll be reading in under two minutes.
  • You’ll get a print copy in the mail 7-14 days later so that you can have it at the ready to refer to key examples, illustrations, and tips as you write your next grant.
  • You’ll get a rare recording of the webinar, “Why your proposal must have Massive Transformational Value” – an hour long CD with some of the key concepts that I teach my elite clients.
  • Over the upcoming weeks, I’ll send you a series of four more mind blowing videos that go deeper into what it takes to get your grant proposal funded every time.

Whether you’re on your 1st or your 20th grant proposal, trust me, you need this.

If you get your copy on this page (and only on this page) – I’ll give you the book with all the incentives for $27 (that includes shipping).  At that price I’m not making big bucks.  But making money is not the point.  I’ve seen too many people reach burnout, and some quit research altogether, because of rejected grant proposals.  I want to do my part to turn it around.

In return for this, all I ask is that we can stay in contact so I can find out what you thought about it – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And if you decide you don’t like the book or never want to hear from me again … no problem. Just let me know ( or call 1-888-780-8511), and my folks will refund your $27. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a tiny amount.

Compare $27 to a 5-year R01 at $200k/yr… that’s like 0.003%.

If you like the book, I invite you to share your experiences, like some of the people who’ve already written in and loved it.  Here’s one I received recently:

“Just wanted to thank you. I have been using some of the strategies in your recent book and just wanted to say I got the best score of my life so far (a 3 percentile in NCI/NIH). Thanks for all your tips and for sharing your ideas and approaches to grant writing. English is not my first language so I need all the help I can get.


Marxa L Figueiredo - Louisiana State University

I am convinced that if you read this and apply it, then you will save substantial time and energy – and get more funding for your research. Hundreds of people feel the same way – in all the time I’ve been offering it, I’ve only had one refund request – from a graduate student who was clearly down and out and who needed the money.  But, hey – if you don’t like it and need or want a refund, just let me know and I’ll make it happen! My reputation is more important than the 27 greenbacks that are at stake!

If you want your next grant has been funded, I encourage you to grab your copy as soon as possible. As of this writing, I have only 102 copies left from the last print run. So, you’ll want to hit the “Add to Cart” button below before they’re gone.

This combo promotion has expired, BUT The Book is Available from AMAZON in paperback or Kindle version. To Purchase, CLICK THIS LINK and you’ll be taken to Amazon’s website.

Thanks for your interest.

I look forward to helping you get your next grant funded.  And I’m looking forward to your email like the one I got from Marxa!

And, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us: or call 1-888-780-8511.

Sincerely Yours,

PS – I just got another email, that said: “I just got my first R01 funded on its first submission.  I give your “Four Steps to Grant Funding” and your “How to Write a Killer Specific Aims” a lot of credit!” (I haven’t had time to get permission to publish his name, but he’s at a well-known medical institute).  I look forward to seeing your emails like this!