Vice Chancellor Leads Workshop on Defense Department Grant Process

By Ben Boulden

Open to all research faculty, the U.S. Department of Defense grant writing crash course June 7 was scheduled in a room for 20 but moved to a larger venue when more than 50 showed up.

Ho told the crowd that everyone attending would get another chance to submit proposals for pilot funding, generating positive energy as the meeting began.

“Department of Defense funding mechanisms are a fruitful source of extramural funding,” Ho said.

Ho presented her experiences and accumulated knowledge gained in submitting successful Department of Defense grants and answered questions from the group. Additionally, current grantees and faculty members Mark Smeltzer, Ph.D., and Arny Ferrando, Ph.D., shared their experiences with Department of Defense funding.

Smeltzer is co-director of the UAMS Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Host Inflammatory Responses and a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

The department has awarded grants to Smeltzer for the study of methods for preventing wound infection and to Ferrando to study the best possible nutrition for military personnel engaged in combat and combat training.

Smeltzer pointed out some mechanisms require detailed quarterly reporting rather than the standard annual report.  Joseph Su, Ph.D., who was a reviewer, said the impact statement needs to be written for non-scientists to understand. Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., who recently submitted her first pre-proposal, encouraged new investigators to apply.

Su is a professor in the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, and Rodriguez is director of neurosurgical oncology at UAMS and an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Neurosurgery

Attendees’ response was overwhelmingly positive. In a feedback survey, 93% of the survey responders found the “Crash Course” helpful to their grantsmanship and 82% indicated they will likely submit grant applications to one of the Department of Defense’s funding mechanisms in the coming months.

Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., right, hosted the workshop.

Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., right, hosted the workshop.

“It was a very motivational event. Vice Chancellor Ho gave constructive and concrete advice and was very inspiring,” one survey respondent wrote.

Another attendee wrote that hearing from Ho, Smeltzer and Ferrando about the process was helpful.

“This session was highly informative especially since there were also others present who have gone through the process and those who were successful,” the respondent wrote.

An internationally renowned scientist, Ho joined UAMS in April as vice chancellor for research and a professor in the College of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Since 2005, she was the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Professor and chairwoman of the Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She recruited over two dozen faculty members to the University of Cincinnati.