Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp

R01 Boot Camp logo

The 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.   

Mentees will benefit from early input on research aims to ensure they are addressing significant, innovative, and fundable questions. They will identify needed resources and potential collaborators, and make pre-proposal contact with NIH program officers. They will learn “tricks of the trade” from experienced U-M faculty that can help throughout their careers.

The pilot R01 Boot Camp program was launched in 2013. To date, 8 cohorts of nearly 300 mentees have participated in R01 Boot Camp; graduates from the program include representation from all 29 departments in the medical school (including basic, translational, and clinical research), as well as 7 additional schools at UM including LS&A, Kinesiology, Engineering and Public Health.

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. Due to the program’s popularity and success, it continues to be an available and valuable resource to early career faculty.


Applications for the 2022-23 cohort of R01 Boot Camp are now closed. Applications for the 2023-2024 program will open in Spring 2023.


The Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp is a multi-tiered mentoring program funded by the Medical School Office of Research 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 nine-month program comprised of the following:

  • Mentees receive specialized training, guidance, and camaraderie as a participant in this 9 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 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 Grant Services & Analysis 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 significantly 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 their competitive status in their scientific niche.

The program includes 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 Program, participation will be 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 2022-23 cohort of R01 Boot Camp are now closed. Applications for the 2023-2024 program will open in Spring 2023.

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

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

Boot Camp mentees are expected to submit and R01-equivalent proposal within 12 months of program completion. Submission is a requirement of the program and will be verified by the Office of Research.

Additionally, Chairs are asked to acknowledge the timing requirement and commit to financial support of the program if the submission is not sent.

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. 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 9 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)
  • Large Group workshop (2 hours)
  • Large Group Training Opportunity (2 hours)
  • 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 responsibilities 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
  • Endorse mentee(s) from department
  • Provide recommendations/introductions to internal and external subject matter experts
  • Provide protected time for participation in Boot Camp activities
  • Provide protected time for crafting of the R01 proposal
  • Host Chalk Talks
  • Communicate with the coaches regarding the progress and needed support for mentees from their department
  • Support coach participation in program with release time, if needed
  • Provide financial support of the R01 Boot Camp program, as required
  • 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. The IHPI team has a health services research focus, and applicants who have related research aims may indicate their interest in joining the IPHI team.

What is the cost of the program?

For those with a primary appointment in the Medical School, the R01 Boot Camp is provided without charge – as long as the requirement for R01 (or equivalent) submission is met.  In the event that it is not, Chairs are asked to provide $1500 toward supporting the Boot Camp program. 

For any participant from another school or college, Chairs are asked to support a $3500 enrollment fee.

The supporting Chair letter is asked to acknowledge these financial requirements.


If you have questions about the R01 Boot Camp program, please contact us at or (734) 763-4272.

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