Early career biomedical grantsmanship self-efficacy: validation of an abbreviated self-assessment tool

Eileen M. Harwood, Amy R. Jones, Darin Erickson, Dedra Buchwald, Japera Johnson-Hemming, Harlan P. Jones, Spero Manson, Richard McGee, Ann Smith, Clifford J. Steer, Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, Anne M. Weber-Main, Kolawole S. Okuyemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A hallmark of success for early career biomedical researchers is the acquisition of research funding. There are marked disparities among principal investigators who submit grants and the likelihood of receiving national funding. The National Research Mentoring Network was funded by the National Institutes of Health to diversify the biomedical research workforce and included grantsmanship training for early career researchers. Self-efficacy in developing research grant applications is significantly improved over time with training and experience. We created a 19-item self-efficacy assessment inventory. Our aims were to confirm the internal consistency of a three-factor solution for grantsmanship confidence and to test the likelihood that self-efficacy influences grant proposal submission timing. We gathered data from 190 diverse biomedical trainees who completed NRMN grantsmanship training between August 2015 and June 2017. Findings revealed high internal consistency for items in each of three factors. There was a statistically significant association between self-efficacy mean scores and grant submission timing predicting that, for every one-point increase in the mean score, the odds of submitting a grant 6 months post-training increased by 69%. An abbreviated inventory of grantsmanship skills self-efficacy is a promising tool for monitoring changes over time in early career researchers and for promoting tailored grantsmanship interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The National Research Mentoring Network is supported by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund and Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity under Award number U54GM119023 administered by the National Institute of General Medical Science. Additionally, the project described was supported by Award number UL1TR000114 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for access to REDCap electronic data capture tools hosted at the University of Minnesota for data collected and managed. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Research Resources or the National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
aCriteria for case inclusion in this study were a full set of pre-and post-test assessment data and a grant submission status update (submitted, still writing, or abandoned) from a 6-month follow-up survey. bModel abbreviations: GUMSHOE, Grant Writing Uncovered: Maximizing Strategies, Help, Opportunities, Experiences; STAR, Steps Toward Academic Research Fellowship Program; P3, Proposal Preparation Program; NU, Northwestern University Grant Writers Coaching Group; NE, northeastern hub; SE, southeastern hub. cExperience in grant proposal development. dThe low proportion of eligible trainees for this study for this southeastern hub variation of the NU model is explained by the fact that the self-efficacy assessment tool was not fully administered across the first cohort members prior to the program kick-off event.

Funding Information:
Steps Toward Academic Research Fellowship Program. The Steps Toward Academic Research Fellowship Program (STAR) model, based at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, focuses on basic scientific grant proposal development and writing skills, the grant funding process, mock grant review, and other professional development topics. The program consists of 35 in-person and virtual training sessions delivered over 12 consecutive months. Individuals selected for STAR cohorts typically have little to no grant preparation experience. The only STAR cohort eligible for this study produced usable data for 11 trainees.


  • research grantsmanship
  • research workforce diversity
  • self-efficacy assessments
  • the U.S. National Research Mentoring Network

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