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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112408

Using a Virtual Community (the Health Equity Learning Collaboratory) to Support Early-Stage Investigators Pursuing Grant Funding

1
Clinical Research Center, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA
2
Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, DC 20036, USA
3
Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA
4
University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR 00936-5067, USA
5
Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA
6
Department of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA
7
Department of Physiology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA
8
Department of Pathology & Anatomy, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA
9
University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 18 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [592 KB, uploaded 30 October 2018]

Abstract

Junior investigators often have limited access to networks of scientific experts and resources that facilitate competitive grant submissions. Since environments in which scientists are trained are critically important for long-term success, we built and tested a virtual environment for early-stage investigators (ESIs) working on grant proposals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the virtual community’s influence on grant submission patterns among participants from underrepresented groups. As part of a grant writing coaching model, junior investigators were recruited into a professional development program designed to develop competitive grantsmanship skills. Designed by the Research Resources and Outreach Core (RROC) of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), the Health Equity Learning Collaboratory (EQ-Collaboratory) provided a virtual community for social support, accountability, constructive feedback, and access to peer networks to help investigators overcome barriers to grant submission. This study assessed differences in outcomes for participants who completed the training within the EQ-Collaboratory compared to those who did not. The analyzed data revealed a statistically significant difference in the average time to submission for participants enrolled in the EQ-Collaboratory. EQ-Collaboratory ESIs submitted proposals 148.6 days earlier, (p < 0.0001). The results suggest that a supportive virtual environment can help investigators more quickly overcome barriers to grant submission. View Full-Text
Keywords: grant writing; underrepresented groups; collaboratory; submission habits grant writing; underrepresented groups; collaboratory; submission habits
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Hall, M.; Engler, J.; Hemming, J.; Alema-Mensah, E.; Baez, A.; Lawson, K.; Quarshie, A.; Stiles, J.; Pemu, P.; Thompson, W.; Paulsen, D.; Smith, A.; Ofili, E. Using a Virtual Community (the Health Equity Learning Collaboratory) to Support Early-Stage Investigators Pursuing Grant Funding. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2408.

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