Faculty Coaches (Mentors)

R01 Boot Camp logoThe path to research funding is more complicated, crowded, and competitive than ever before, and the journey can be discouraging (and lonely) without guidance. This program, supported by the Dean and senior leadership at the Medical School, recognizes the importance of good mentoring, and represents an effort to establish a structured annual program that will enable mentoring and research development.


The application period for Coaches for the 2021-22 R01 Boot Camp is now closed.

The 2021-22 R01 Boot Camp Program will kick off on Monday, September 13, 2021 and run through May 2022.


One or two coaches will be assigned to a group of approximately 4-8 mentees. Coaches will guide the group through NIH policies and practices and the development of an R01 grant application.

In much the same way that a head coach is not an expert on all the positions, an R01 Boot Camp coach is not necessarily an expert on the scientific expertise needed for each mentee’s grant proposal. Rather, the coach is a process expert. We will contract an Internal Subject Matter Expert to each mentee to consult on the scientific content of the proposals.

Small group activities include helping to determine a realistic deadline for each mentee, advising them on developing sections of a proposal, and reviewing proposals in the group. Coaches will help the group find answers to other issues that may surface, such as how to contact NIH Program Officers or how to select a study section. The Office of Research is a resource for coaches, and can arrange for additional expertise when requested by the group.

Each team is self-governing; coaches and group members determine when and where the group will meet. We will provide a dedicated team folder in the R01 Boot Camp M+Box for team members to upload and share proposal sections for review. Individual team folders are only accessible to designated team members.



  • Share knowledge you have gained
  • Guide and encourage new researchers
  • Learn about new technologies and discoveries
  • Work in an interdisciplinary/translational group
  • Contribute to the research mission of UMMS
  • Have FUN!
  • Receive $5,000 supplement



What is expected of coaches, including the time commitment?


  • Attend pre-program Coaches' Orientation (1.5 hrs)
  • Coordinating, cooperating with a co-coach
  • Attend Opening Ceremony and lead table discussions/introductions of assigned peer groups (2 hrs)
  • Attend small peer group meetings once per month (in coordination with co-coach) and lead group through activities and discussions. We will ask coaches to submit dates of meetings so we can include them on mentees' activities reports. (20 hrs)
  • Review research roadmap, specific aims, and final proposals (10-20 hrs)
  • Attend one mid-program progress meeting with other coaches (1.5 hrs)
  • Participate in Mock Review & Closing Ceremony event (2 hrs)
  • Contact Office of Research staff to identify unmet needs of the group
  • Communicate with mentees' Chairs regarding progress as desired/requested

Optional: but highly encouraged:

  • Attend widely acclaimed one-day workshop, "Write Winning Grant Proposals," presented by Grant Writers' Seminars
  • Attend mentees’ departmental Chalk Talks
  • Large Group Workshop
  • Large Group Event

Total estimated time commitment is approximately 50-60 hours (excluding optional components).

Why work in small groups?

Small group peer mentoring fosters camaraderie, support, and cooperation. Several articles have described the success of peer mentoring in medical schools (e.g., Johnson KS, Hastings SN, Purser JL, Whitson, HE. 2011. The Junior Faculty Laboratory: An innovative model of peer mentoring; Academic Medicine, Vol. 86, No. 12).

An additional benefit is stimulation of interdisciplinary and translational research. We will assign 4-8 faculty members who share some scientific commonality with the coaches (e.g., clinical research, chronic health conditions), but who come from different departments and represent different scientific perspectives, disciplines, or methodologies.

While coaches are only committed to attending one small group meeting per month, the members of the small group may decide to meet more often on their own.

What are the rewards/compensation for serving as a coach?

While the biggest compensation will be the satisfaction of contributing to the success of new investigators, the R01 Boot Camp will provide coaches with a token of our appreciation. Each coach will be compensated $5,000 that will supplement salary.

What have other R01 Boot Camp coaches said about the experience?

"I am finding that interacting with the junior faculty and discussing good grant writing strategies and practices is very rewarding! I also think this mechanism gives us an additional way to meet people and discuss possible collaborations, etc. I am very proud of the Medical School for providing this service to our talented junior faculty - and they seem to really appreciate the help also!"  -- Les Satin, Ph.D., Pharmacology

"Learning from each other is fun, and working as a team leads to success."  -- Y. Eugene Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Cardiac Surgery

"The R01 Boot Camp is the strongest attempt I have seen of teaching the art of grant writing to the next generation of independently-funded investigators. It sets a new standard for how academic institutions support and accelerate the independent careers of their young investigators."  -- David Aronoff, M.D., Internal Medicine

What are some resources available to you as a coach?

We ask that you attend a 1.5-hour Coaches' Orientation, where you will receive a more comprehensive overview of the program and some resources that will help you as coaches. Mentees will be attending the "Write Winning Grant Proposals" workshop presented by Grant Writers' Seminars, and coaches are welcome to attend. All Boot Camp participants will receive a copy of the workbook, The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook (NIH version).

Chairs are interested in the progress of their mentees, and coaches are encouraged to contact them with progress reports or concerns.

In addition, coaches may contact the Office of Research to request assistance with locating resources to meet needs identified by the group throughout their R01 Boot Camp interactions, e.g., names of biostatisticians, speakers from IRBMED or IACUC, etc.

Who is eligible to apply as a coach?

Eligibility for coaches includes:

  • History of funding as a Principal Investigator (PI) on NIH R01 grant applications
  • Rank of associate or full professor
  • Demonstrated interest in mentoring
  • Willingness to comply with the R01 Boot Camp schedule and meet the time commitment

Preference will be given to those faculty members who have served as reviewers on NIH study sections.

How do I apply?

The application period for Coaches for the 2021-22 R01 Boot Camp is now closed.

If you have questions about the R01 Boot Camp program, please contact us at R01BootCamp@umich.edu.

How does the coach selection process work?

Applications will be reviewed by the Office of Research with input from Department Chairs and Associate Chairs for Research.

Selection will be made based on:

  • Strength of experience both as an investigator and a mentor, and
  • Match with scientific composition of mentee applicants

Preference will be given to coaches who have experience serving on an NIH study section; however, this is not a requirement.

The R01 Boot Camp is looking for a diverse cadre of mentors who are willing, above all, to help new investigators prepare good applications – from identifying study sections, contacting Program Officers, and determining the best deadline cycle, to finally submitting a reviewed, competitive proposal.

How are small groups formed?

Experienced R01 Boot Camp coaches will work with the Office of Research to form small groups. Co-coaches are likewise selected to meet group research characteristics. Some factors include type of research (e.g., clinical, basic, outcomes), subject area, and common methodologies.

Can I discuss progress of an individual mentee with the Chair?

The Chairs have indicated that they are willing to be contacted regarding the progress of their faculty members. In the middle and at the end of the academy session, the Office of Research will develop an activity report for each mentee and send a copy to both Chair and co-coaches.

Who determines the content of the small group meetings?

The coaches are responsible for content. It is expected that much of the time will be devoted to individual proposal sections as they are developed by the mentees. Coaches should oversee the discussion to assure that discussion is respectful and constructive.

There are also topics that coaches are expected to cover throughout the course of R01 Boot Camp:

  • Contacting the Program Officer
  • Selecting a study section
  • Dealing with reviews, e.g. contacting Scientific Review Officer

What topics should I cover in the small group discussions?

One of the primary purposes of the small group is to review sections of the mentees’ proposals as they are developed. Have the mentee circulate their sections in advance and plan ahead for these reviews. 

Additional topics that should be covered as scheduled by the coaches: 

  • Contacting the NIH Program Officer (PO) – how to select, contact, prepare
  • Selecting Study Sections (e.g., match with expertise)
  • Biases of Study Sections (e.g., methodology preference)
  • Identifying primary reviewers and researching their subject expertise and biases (e.g., look at publications)
  • Selecting collaborators
  • Time management and maintaining a writing schedule
  • Communicating with the Scientific Review Officer or PO after the review
  • Tips to write and present information/data succinctly and clearly


If you have questions about the R01 Boot Camp program, please contact us at R01BootCamp@umich.edu or (734) 763-4272.

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