Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp

R01 Boot Camp logoThe Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp is a multifaceted program designed to help faculty members receive their first R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Senior faculty with strong track records of NIH funding guide groups of mentees through the proposal development process, while the team structure encourages peer support and feedback.   

The pilot R01 Boot Camp program launched in 2013 with 40 mentees from 26 different departments (including basic, translational, and clinical research), and 11 coaches from eight departments across Michigan Medicine.  

The program was developed as part of a $100 million investment in a long-term Strategic Research Initiative launched by the Dean of the Medical School in June 2012 to align Michigan Medicine around a common research vision. 


Applications for the 2019 Cohort of R01 Boot Camp are now closed.
The next opportunity to apply will be in the fall of 2019.


Download the complete R01 Boot Camp 2019 Program Timeline.

The Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp is a multi-tiered mentoring program funded by former Medical School Dean, James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., to support and increase the success rate of Medical School faculty applying for their first NIH Research Project Grants (R01).

The R01 Boot Camp is a ten-month program comprised of the following:

  • Mentees receive specialized training, guidance, and camaraderie as a participant in this 10 month program. Participation is limited to faculty members who have not yet been Principal Investigators on R01 grants.
  • Faculty coaches with established track records of external funding and a commitment to mentoring, who meet with and advise their assigned mentee peer group. Coaches will communicate with the mentees' Department Chairs and the Medical School Office of Research.
  • Activities and resources designed to provide mentees with the tools and knowledge they need to write a successful R01 application (e.g., proposal writing seminar, mock review).
  • Self-directed interdisciplinary peer group activities of approximately 4-8 faculty members (mentees) and 1-2 coaches (senior faculty members). Mentees share and review proposal sections, provide constructive feedback to one another, and address problems and needs of mutual interest.
  • Internal Subject Matter Experts who provide counsel on mentees’ research plans, help them prepare and present a Chalk Talk, and review proposal drafts.
  • External Subject Matter Experts who review mentees’ final proposals.

The Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp was based on recommendations from both the Associate Chairs for Research, and from a faculty committee that was charged by Dean Woolliscroft to develop mechanisms to support our faculty in maintaining continuity in funding during this financially austere time.

The R01 Boot Camp was developed by the Medical School Office of Research in consultation with faculty, the Department of Medical Education, the Office of Faculty Affairs, and the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research. R01 Boot Camp is managed by the Research Development Support unit in the Medical School Office of Research.



Why a Mentored Research Academy?

In FY 2013, the national success rate at NIH for new R01-type proposals submitted by new investigators was 13%. At the U-M Medical School, professors and associate professors have higher success rates for R01 submissions than assistant professors; in U-M's FY 2013, assistant professors succeeded at slightly higher than the average NIH rate (17%), but associate and full professors had success rates at least 40% higher.

The message is clear – the process is competitive – and aspiring R01 Principal Investigators need to get input and reviews regarding their proposals in advance of submitting them to NIH. Their first review should not be by an NIH study section. The R01 Boot Camp has been designed to meet this need, and to help the mentee evaluate his/her competitive status in his/her scientific niche.

Well before mentees begin to write their proposals, they will benefit from early and frequent feedback on their research plans to ensure they are addressing significant, innovative, and fundable questions. Mentees will identify needed resources and potential collaborators, learn “tricks of the trade” from experienced U-M faculty, and make pre-proposal contact with relevant NIH program staff. They will present a department-hosted Chalk Talk to get broad-based input from their colleagues. And most importantly, they will receive multiple levels of feedback on their proposals as they are being written and before they are submitted.

For the R01 Boot Camp 2019 cohort, participation is limited to faculty members who have not yet been Principal Investigators on R01 grants.

Please see the Mentees page for more information.

What do I do if I am interested in participating?

Applications for the 2019 Cohort of R01 Boot Camp will become available in the fall of 2018. Applications will be submitted each year through Competition Space.

If you have questions about the R01 Boot Camp program please contact us at

If you are interested in participating as either a mentee or coach in a future R01 Boot Camp cohort, we encourage you to review the eligibility requirements for both Mentees and Coaches. Please continue to check the R01 Boot Camp website for program announcements and updates.

When does the mentee have to submit his or her R01?

The deadline for R01 proposal submission will be between October 5, 2018 and February 5, 2019 as determined by the mentee, coach, and subject matter experts, in partnership with the Medical School Office of Research. 

Earlier deadlines will vary from mentee to mentee depending on the status of the research program, preliminary data, and the proposal draft. Submission is a requirement of the program and will be verified by the Office of Research. 

Can the mentee work on an application other than a R01?

The goal of R01 Boot Camp is to develop an R01 application, but we also will consider “equivalent” applications, e.g., Department of Defense or American Heart Association over $500K. We understand that in the meantime mentees may apply for smaller grants, such as an internal pilot or foundation grant to gather preliminary data, but these smaller grants do not meet the R01 Boot Camp requirement for proposal submission.

The mentee is expected to submit an R01 by the identified deadline (February 2019). Development of smaller proposals, e.g., R21, R03, will not qualify as a Boot Camp activity. Development of NIH K awards are not covered in the R01 Boot Camp; we encourage faculty members seeking K awards to attend the MICHR Workshop to Help Junior Faculty and Fellows Prepare K Grants.

How long is R01 Boot Camp?

The duration of the official academy is 10 months, with most of the meetings and activities scheduled by the mentee and his/her peer group, e.g., once a month.

How many large group activities are scheduled?

There are several cohort activities scheduled:

  • Opening Ceremony (2 hours)
  • Grant writing seminar (1 day)
  • Budgets & Biostats workshop (2 hours)
  • Time Management workshop (1.5 hours) (optional)
  • Mock Review & Closing Ceremony (2 hours)

Visit the Activities & Resources page for more information. 

What are the responsibilities of the mentees and the coaches?

For more information on the responsibilites of mentees and coaches, please see separate pages addressing the roles of both Mentees and Coaches.

What are the responsibilities of the departments and Chairs?

  • Solicit applications from mentees and coaches
  • Approve mentee(s) from department
  • Provide recommendations/entrée to internal and external subject matter experts
  • Host Chalk Talks
  • Communicate with the coaches regarding the progress and needed support for mentees from their department
  • Support mentees' and coaches' participation in program with release time, if needed
  • Recognize mentees' and coaches' participation in program (as appropriate)
  • Have mentee report when proposal is submitted

If I am interested in being an Internal Subject Matter Expert (ISME), what do I do?

Internal Subject Matter Experts (ISMEs) will be selected by the mentee in consultation with coaches, Department Chairs, and Associate Chairs for Research. Please see the Internal Subject Matter Experts page for more information.

What are the responsibilities of the External Subject Matter Expert (ESME)?

Approximately six weeks before the grant is submitted, the R01 Boot Camp will pay for one external review ($500) by an experienced investigator outside of the Medical School or the U-M. This person will be chosen by the mentee in consultation with the ISME. He/she will be given a NIH-style reviewers' form to complete.

Please see the External Subject Matter Experts page for more information.

Can I apply for the Institute for Health Policy & Innovation (IHPI) small group?

The U-M Institute for Health Policy & Innovation (IHPI) is sponsoring one team within the R01 Boot Camp program. There is a separate IHPI application on Competition Space.

UMMS faculty members who are also members of IHPI may apply to both the IHPI and traditional R01 Boot Camp competitions. 


If you have questions about the R01 Boot Camp program, please contact us at

Or contact MaryJo Banasik J.D., Ph.D., Research Development Specialist, at or 734-936-7293.

2800 Plymouth Road, Building 520, 3rd Floor, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800