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NIH Boot Camp 2018-2019

The NIH Boot Camp is a mentoring program funded by the Dean’s Office of the Arnold School of Public Health that is designed to support and increase the success rate of ASPH faculty applying for NIH Research Project Grants (R03, R21, R01).

The NIH Boot Camp is an 9-month program comprised of the following:

  • Large group events and workshops designed to provide mentees the tools and knowledge they need to be successful at developing a high-quality first submission proposal to the NIH
  • Peer group activities of approximately 3 faculty mentees and 1 faculty mentor. Mentees will share ideas and review proposals, and receive constructive feedback from peers and mentors
  • Small group work with Mentors who are faculty members with established track records of external funding and a commitment to mentoring, who will meet with and advise their assigned mentee peer group. Mentors will meet with their assigned mentees, at minimum, once per month to discuss progress on drafting grant sections and provide feedback on individual sections. The primary responsibility of the mentors is to facilitate the process of the mentee meeting deadlines and submitting an NIH application by the required date 


Program Participation Requirements

Participants agree that, if selected to be part of the NIH Boot Camp, they are required to:

  • Attend the half-day workshops, AND…
  • Meet, at minimum, once per month with their assigned Mentor, AND…
  • Achieve the Boot Camp Milestones as indicated in the timeline, AND…
  • Submit their NIH proposal developed during the Boot Camp for the June NIH Grant Cycle immediately following graduation from the Boot Camp

If you have questions about the NIH Boot Camp program, please contact Michael Beets (, 7-3003) or Alan Decho (; 7-3908).

Timeline of Events

Major dates are listed below, or review the full NIH Boot Camp timeline of events [pdf], which includes all major deadlines and milestones.

Activity Date

 Applications DUE

  • August 24, 2018

 Participant notification

  • August 31, 2018

See Timeline for meeting dates/times/locations


Items needed for submission

  • NIH BIO Sketch
  • Signed Letter of Support from a Content Expert indicating a willingness to assist the applicant in the development of the grant. This person need not be on the investigative team (i.e., Co-I), but could be
  • List of members of investigative team - list of the Co-Is and any possible consultants on the grant
  • Indicate 2 or more “critical gaps” in the applicants’ field that the proposed grant application will address (i.e., Scientific Premise of the proposed application)
  • One-page summary (Specific Aims page) for proposed grant topic to work on during Boot Camp
  • Description of Previous NIH Grant Experience (number of previous NIH PI submissions and award history)
  • Publication Record (Include: total number of publications, # first/senior author pubs, list of references or links to one or more of the following PubMed/Web of Science/Google Scholar)


Considerations for Mentee-Mentor Effectiveness

The mentee is the key driver of the mentor-mentee relationship. The more specific the mentee’s questions, the easier it is for the mentor to provide guidance. Guiding principles of the mentee-mentor relationship include an understanding that a mentee-mentor relationship:

  • Takes effort and time on the part of the mentee and the mentor
  • Requires mutual respect
  • Requires professional, responsible, and ethical conduct
  • Is a commitment by both parties for a specified interval, although it can be extended by mutual agreement
  • Can be ended at any time, by either party, in accordance with the goals set forth by the mentee

The mentee should understand the following about him/herself before entering into the mentee/mentor relationship:

  • Understand his/her values, personality, temperament, strengths, weaknesses, and limits
  • Understand his/her research goals and communicate them openly
  • Clarify his/her goals and expectations of the relationship, including a timeline for the mentorship relationship
  • Come prepared to meetings with his/her mentor (“manage up”)
  • Be willing to learn and open to criticism
  • Take the initiative
  • Follow through on commitments