Dr. Carmen Sato-Bigbee Hosts “F Grant F.A.Q.”

11x16 Brandbar HeaderThe C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) proudly hosted Carmen Sato-Bigbee, Ph.D., associate professor for the VCU Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and NIH NRSA Fellowship reviewer, who recently led an informal discussion on submitting Individual Research Fellowships (F) grant applications. 

The event, titled “F Grant F.A.Q.,” took place Tuesday, March 8 in the Richmond Academy of Medicine’s main conference room. With over nine years experience as an F grant reviewer, Sato-Bigbee spoke to a room full of mixed-level students on the importance of identifying relevant sponsors, collaborators and consultants, and indicating clear career goals.

“Dr. Sato-Bigbee brings the reviewer perspective in order to demystify the F30/F31 grant application for the student,” said Teraya Donaldson, Ph.D., assistant director of education programs for the CCTR’s Education Core, who organized the event. “Tips from this perspective are extremely valuable in helping the student craft a stronger proposal.”

Sato-Bigbee not only gave the students the opportunity to hear from a grant reviewer’s perspective, but she also provided participants with copies of the very same forms used by reviewers during proposal evaluations.

“Each reviewer will read through one to two grant proposals a day, so it’s important to stand out and make it easier for them to select you,” said Sato-Bigbee to her student audience. “One way to do this is by telling the reviewer what to write. You already know what the score sheets ask, so make sure your answers tell the reviewer exactly what they need to know to give you good marks.”

The event was open to all students interested in submitting an F grant or currently in the writing process for one. Due to the informal nature of the discussion, students were encourage to bring in their own questions and receive answers tailored to their specific proposal or research area.


First image up top: Carmen Sato-Bigbee (far left), Ph.D., associate professor for the VCU Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Researchers Participate in Speed Networking Event

11x16 Brandbar HeaderOn Thursday, Jan. 14, the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) at VCU and Tompkins-McCaw Library co-hosted a research speed networking lunch event.

This program was just one of the more than 40 activities that made up “Ready, Set, Grant!,” a four-day event aimed at helping researchers learn competitive grant writing skills.

More than twenty individuals from across a variety of VCU disciplines attended the event. Representation included the CCTR, the School of Pharmacy, School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, VCU Life Sciences, the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, among many others.

Participants were assigned a designated color (red, green or blue) and asked to sit at any of the corresponding colored seats. They were then given three minutes to talk about their research and background before an alarm sounded, signaling either the green or red-designated researchers to move to the next table. Participants were provided lunch and a list of fellow attendees to keep notes on as they rotated.

“After participating in the speed-networking event, I was amazed at the breadth of research that is being conducted across VCU,” said Adam Sima, assistant professor for the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Biostatistics, and CCTR faculty. “It was fantastic to hear of such diverse research areas and what each researcher was seeking in terms of collaborators. Judging from my own conversations as well as the engaged conversations that raged around me, I have no doubt that most of the researchers found a fellow researcher with shared interests or compatible expertise.”