Hammers said one of his main takeaways from participating in the program was learning how to articulate his ideas and the science behind them to proposal reviewers and then learning how to pitch those ideas to broader audiences so they understand why it’s important to fund his project.
“Even though I could clearly talk about the science, I got a better idea of how to … use the right phrasing that puts a good polish on it,” he said. “It was great to learn those skills, because it’s usually something you have to gain through direct experience rather than mentoring and coaching.”
Maryam Rahman, M.D., M.S., an associate professor in the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery, participated on Hammers’ team and said her favorite part of the R01 boot camp was working with colleagues beyond her usual network of clinicians and neurosurgeons to collaborate and share insights.
“We all have our own circles of people who we lean on to help us in grant writing, and I felt like the boot camp gave me the opportunity to reach out of my usual circle of mentors and confidants to get a different perspective on campus to help with the development of my grant,” said Rahman, whose lab focuses on identifying novel immunotherapy approaches to address brain cancer. “I think this is what makes UF great, because people are helping not out of obligation but to truly be mentors. What a beautiful thing it is to sit in a room with people who are invested not only in their own success, but who are also want to pull you up with them.”
Rahman resubmitted her R01 proposal this month and will learn about its status from reviewers this fall.
“The success of all our participants is a tremendous validation of the vision and work that have been put into the program,” said Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the departments of neurosurgery and pediatrics, who serves as co-director of the boot camp, along with Azra Bihorac, M.D., M.S., and Dan Wesson, Ph.D. “It’s also a reminder that the best is yet to come.”