R-Series Boot Camp: Faculty Sponsor Information

The path to research funding is more complicated, crowded, and competitive than ever before, and the journey can be discouraging (and lonely) without guidance. This program recognizes the importance of good mentoring, and represents an effort to establish a structured annual program that will enable mentoring and research development.


Applications will open in the Fall of 2019.

Coach’s Responsibilities

One or two coaches will be assigned to a group of approximately 4-8 mentees. Coaches will guide the group through NIH policies and practices and the development of an R-Series grant application.

In much the same way that a head coach is not an expert on all the positions, an R-Series Boot Camp coach is not necessarily an expert on the scientific expertise needed for each mentee’s grant proposal. Rather, the coach is a process expert. We will contract an Internal Subject Matter Expert to each mentee to consult on the scientific content of the proposals.

Small group activities include helping to determine a realistic deadline for each mentee, advising them on developing sections of a proposal, and reviewing proposals in the group. Coaches will help the group find answers to other issues that may surface, such as how to contact NIH Program Officers or how to select a study section. The Office of Research is a resource for coaches, and can arrange for additional expertise when requested by the group.

Each team is self-governing. Coaches will have a hosting budget to support meetings and, together with the group members, determine when the group will meet, e.g., breakfast meetings, pizza after work, etc.

Benefits of Becoming a Coach

  • Share knowledge you have gained
  • Guide and encourage new researchers
  • Learn about new technologies and discoveries
  • Work in an interdisciplinary/translational group
  • Contribute to the research mission of InCHIP
  • Have FUN!


  • What is expected of coaches, including time commitment?
  • Required:

    1. Attend pre-program Coaches’ Orientation (1.5 hrs)
    2. Coordinating, cooperating with a co-coach
    3. Attend Opening Ceremony and lead table discussions/introductions of assigned peer groups (2 hrs)
    4. Attend small peer group meetings once per month (in coordination with co-coach) and lead group through activities and discussions. We will ask coaches to submit dates of meetings so we can include them on mentees’ activities reports. (20 hrs)
    5. Review research roadmap, specific aims, and final proposals (10-20 hrs)
    6. Attend one mid-program progress meeting with other coaches (1.5 hrs)
    7. Participate in Mock Review & Closing Ceremony event (2 hrs)
    8. Contact Office of Research staff to identify unmet needs of the group
    9. Communicate with mentees’ Chairs regarding progress as desired/requested

    Total estimated time commitment is approximately 40-50 hours (excluding optional components).

  • Why work in small groups?
  • Small group peer mentoring fosters camaraderie, support, and cooperation. Several articles have described the success of peer mentoring in medical schools (e.g., Johnson KS, Hastings SN, Purser JL, Whitson, HE. 2011. The Junior Faculty Laboratory: An innovative model of peer mentoring; Academic Medicine, Vol. 86, No. 12).

    An additional benefit is stimulation of interdisciplinary and translational research. We will assign 4-8 faculty members who share some scientific commonality with the coaches (e.g., clinical research, chronic health conditions), but who come from different departments and represent different scientific perspectives, disciplines, or methodologies.

    While coaches are only committed to attending one small group meeting per month, the members of the small group may decide to meet more often on their own.

  • What are some resources available to you as a coach?
  • We ask that you attend a 1.5-hour Coaches’ Orientation, where you will receive a more comprehensive overview of the program and some resources that will help you as coaches. Mentees will be attending the “Write Winning Grant Proposals” workshop presented by Grant Writers’ Seminars, and coaches are welcome to attend. All Boot Camp participants will receive a copy of the workbook, The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook (NIH version; a $75 value).

    Chairs are interested in the progress of their mentees, and coaches are encouraged to contact them with progress reports or concerns.

    In addition, coaches may contact the Office of Research to request assistance with locating resources to meet needs identified by the group throughout their R-Series Boot Camp interactions, e.g., names of biostatisticians, speakers from IRBMED or IACUC, etc.

  • Who is eligible to apply as a coach?
  • Eligibility for coaches includes:

    ○ History of funding as a Principal Investigator (PI) on NIH R01 grant applications
    ○ Rank of associate or full professor
    ○ Demonstrated interest in mentoring
    ○ Willingness to comply with the R01 Boot Camp schedule and meet the time commitment

    Preference will be given to those faculty members who have served as reviewers on NIH study sections.

  • How does the coach selection process work?
  • Applications will be reviewed by the Office of Research with input from Department Chairs and Associate Chairs for Research.

    Selection will be made based on:

    1. Strength of experience both as an investigator and a mentor, and
    2. Match with scientific composition of mentee applicants
    3. Preference will be given to coaches who have experience serving on an NIH study section; however, this is not a requirement.

    The R01 Boot Camp is looking for a diverse cadre of mentors who are willing, above all, to help new investigators prepare good applications – from identifying study sections, contacting Program Officers, and determining the best deadline cycle, to finally submitting a reviewed, competitive proposal.


If you have any questions about the R-Series Boot Camp program, contact Grace Morris at grace.morris@uconn.edu.