Improving Children's Health Through Health Services Research

Grantsmanship and Mock Study Review

Linda Blankenbaker, M.D., Carolyn Clancy, M.D.,
Jose Julio Escarce, M.D., Ph.D., Anne Gadomski, M.D., M.P.H.


Improving Children's Health Through Health Services Research was a special 1-day meeting held June 26, 1999, in Chicago. The state of the science in children's health services research was explored, including public and private funding opportunities, networks for conducting research, and uses of research in policy and practice. The meeting was co-sponsored by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), with the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Association for Health Services Research (AHSR), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Data Harbor, Inc.


In general, the Federal grant process takes approximately 9 months from receipt of the grant application/proposal to the award notice. New researchers need to be aware of the fact that the actual grant process timeline is substantially longer, as developing a competitive grant application will usually take a number of months. In addition, many applications will receive a score that is good, but not in the range of scores for funding. In this case, the applicant will be encouraged to revise the application in response to the reviewers' critiques and then resubmit the application. This will add 4 to 8 months to the process.

At the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), letters of intent are requested for informational purposes only. The Agency uses these letters to determine who should be asked to review grants and to anticipate the grant review workload. This differs from the letters of intent used by some private foundations and government agencies that may use letters of intent as the first phase of the grant review process.

The phases of the grant process include:

Each grant proposal/application has information and detailed instructions for completing the grant application. Grant seekers are encouraged to carefully review and adhere to the procedures in preparing their grant application.

Successful grant applications have a number of characteristics:

In addition to funding investigator-initiated grants, the Agency also supports targeted research initiatives. These are published as Requests for Applications (RFAs). RFAs have earmarked funds and explicit timelines separate from the rolling submission dates for investigator-initiated grants. These opportunities are publicized in the NIH Guide and on AHRQ's Web site under Funding Opportunities.

Some examples of the general areas of interest to AHRQ include:

Methods and Measures:

Organizational Change and Quality Measurement:

Using and Applying Quality Information:

Research that examines how information affects decision making of:

General review criteria used by the agencies and reviewers include:

Approvals of awards are based on the substantive and scientific merit of proposals, their fit with the program, and the availability of funds. Some of the common problems in applications include:


Internet Citation:

Grantsmanship and Mock Study Review. Presentation Summary, Improving Children's Health Through Health Services Research, Chicago, June 26, 1999. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/chsrgrnt.htm


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