Funding Application Tips

The Shared Instrumentation Grant (S10) provided by the NIH is a common funding mechanism for instrumentation costing between $100,000 and $600,000 and must be shared by a minimum of 3 NIH-Supported scientists. Key points to consider when writing a Shared Instrumentation Grant (S10), under the five main sections rated by NIH reviewers:

  • Justification of Need – Is the need for the instrument clearly and adequately justified? Is the equipment essential and appropriate?
  • Research Projects – Will research with the requested instrument advance the knowledge and understanding of the proposed projects? How will the research project of each major user be enhanced?
  • Technical Expertise – Does the institution have the technical expertise to make effective use of the requested equipment? How well qualified are the participating investigators or other assigned personnel to operate and maintain the instrument, conduct the projects, and evaluate the research results? How will new users be trained? How will biosafety procedures be implemented?
  • Administration – Is the plan for the management and maintenance of the requested instrument appropriate? Is the membership of the advisory committee broadly based to oversee the use of the instrument for a wide range of biomedical investigators? How will research time be allocated among the projects? Are the sharing arrangements equitable? If needed, are the policies to manage human subject, animal or biohazardous materials projects adequate? Is the financial plan for long term operation and maintenance of the instrument reasonable?
  • Institutional Commitment – Is the institutional commitment for continued support of the utilization and maintenance commensurate with the level of sophistication of the requested instrument? Are there satisfactory letters of commitment from institutional officials?

Overall Impact/Benefit

Reviewers will briefly summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the application; assess the potential benefit of the instrument requested for the overall research community and its potential impact on NIH-funded research; and provide comments on the overall need of the users which led to their final recommendation and level of enthusiasm.

Other tips for writing general research grants: