Generating a fundable idea isn’t as simple as being creative and knowledgeable. This section provides common techniques for generating ideas for a research program that you can develop into future applications for research support.
Develop a Preliminary Idea
- Think about your interests and strengths.
- Network – talk to colleagues; present at conferences; review papers; sit on panels and advisory councils.
- Look externally and consider what topics sponsors are currently funding.
- Identify ideas that may expand upon previously published and funded topics.
Assess Your Idea’s Potential for Success
- Is the subject timely?
- Will your work lead to a well defined set of results?
- Does it demonstrate a high level of creativity?
- Do you enjoy the subject and want to spend the next several years working on it?
- Does it establish your own research niche?
Seek Input and Feedback
- Seek out mentorship from experienced investigators who have been successfully funded.
- Use research databases to find research topic experts and potential research collaborators.
- Contact a program officer or other technical staff at target sponsors to discuss your idea prior to submission.