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20th Annual Research Capacity Building Workshop

Mar 28, 2024, 09:28 AM by Jessica Bloomer
The 20th Research Capacity Building Workshop was held on March 11-12, 2024 with 10 attendees from 4 different universities participating.

Written by: Jessica Bloomer
Every year the University of Cincinnati, NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center (ERC) hosts a Research Capacity Building Workshop. This year’s workshop was on March 11th-12th, 2024 during UC’s spring break. The workshop is an important piece of the ERC’s Pilot Research Project Program because it helps prepare individuals to write a research proposal by presenting information on sources of funding, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) processes, preparing the application including the budget, and aligning research priorities with federal grant administrators. 

There were ten attendees consisting of PhD students, postdocs, and junior faculty from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Murray State University, University of Cincinnati, and University of Kentucky. Some of the participants’ research interests included industrial hygiene, hazardous materials, ergonomics, fire safety, patient handling, wearable sensor technology, and environmental justice.

people sitting in a classroom
Attendees watching presentations during the workshop

On day one, Deidre Torrey and Heather Johnston, consultants from the Urban Venture Group, led six sessions on the purpose of government grants and contracts, agency perspectives and priorities, how to search for funding opportunities, how to assess and pursue a funding opportunity, obligations when receiving an award, grantsmanship strategies, tips, and tactics.

Day two was lead by Elizabeth Kopras, a senior research associate in the UC College of Medicine who presented on writing a research proposal, IRB, and showed examples of proposals. The other day two sessions included;

- Peer review and proposal scoring process: Amit Bhattacharya, PhD, CPE, Professor, Environmental & Public Health Sciences, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
- Grant writing for early career scientists: Arun Jose, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, University of Cincinnati; Director of Pulmonary Hypertension, Cincinnati VA Medical Center
- Leveraging team science and grant writing: Megan Johnstone, PhD, Clinical Research Director, Leukemia and Drug Development Lab, Division of Hematology/Oncology

In the afternoon, the participants were grouped together into interdisciplinary teams and worked to prepare a practice proposal with a hypothesis, specific aims, approach, and to incorporate all group members’ research backgrounds. This activity was meant to demonstrate how interdisciplinary research teams are developed as well as to practice writing questions and aims. The proposal topics developed by the groups were; 

- Decreasing Heat Stress of Firefighters Using New Coats with Cooling Units
- Quantifying Total Worker Health Among Construction Workers Utilizing Sensor Technology
- Safe in Panels: Developing the Best Practices of Mitigating Occupational Health Risk

The groups then presented their proposals and then scored each other’s presentations based on the NIH scoring criteria. The instructors also evaluated the practice proposals and provided feedback as well as advice from their proposal writing experiences. The winner of the most outstanding group proposal was; Safe in Panels: Developing the Best Practices of Mitigating Occupational Health Risk.

Thank you to the presenters and panelists for making this a valuable workshop for our attendees.

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