TIGGR attendees in workshop session

FAQs and Who Should Apply

What is the cost?
The cost for participating in TIGRR is $2,500. This includes all of your expenses except travel to and from Charleston, SC, for the workshop week. For further details, see the application webpage.

What is TIGRR’s success rate? Why is this the right opportunity for me?
While it is hard to calculate a specific rate, there is no doubt that TIGRR has been a very successful experience for mentees over the many years that it has been running. Based on follow-up surveys we think the likelihood of receiving funding is increased by 50-100%. Of course, we have excellent mentees starting the program. The mentors for TIGRR provide quality advice and guidance throughout the experience, and many funding representatives also participate in the workshop providing very valuable guidance to the mentees on site. Mentees often leave the workshop week considering funding opportunities that they had not been aware of before. You can view some testimonials from previous mentees below.

Who should apply?
The Selection Committee will accept and review applications from junior and mid-career faculty or senior mentees (post-docs) who have not yet been a PI on an NIH R01 or equivalent grant, but are eligible for NIH funding (either a research or career development award). The selection committee actively encourages applications from previous attendees of the ERRIS/TIGRR workshop, especially if they are close to submitting a grant or have submitted a grant and need mentoring in fine-tuning the revised application. The Committee will base its decisions in large part on the scientific quality and potential of the applicant’s proposed research, the letters from the applicant’s sponsor (Program Supervisor or Department Head) and the potential for configuring a quality home institution mentorship team (or arrangements and coordination of mentorship outside of their home institution). The letters will be scrutinized for the information they supply about the candidate, the assurances they provide about the candidate’s potential for success in research, and the sponsors’ (both mentor and institution) support for the candidate’s research career. Thus, a letter from a mentor from the applicant's home institution is important and should address the applicant's interactions with the mentor.
The following are specific selection criteria:

• Junior or mid-career faculty or senior mentees in any rehabilitation discipline at US institutions that are eligible to receive federal funding. In unusual circumstances, a senior individual who is embarking on a research career change will be considered. On occasion, we will consider exceptional and relevant foreign applicants with unique expertise that would allow them to apply for NIH funding consistent with NIH guidelines.
• Nomination by a Department Chair, Division Head, or Program Director who can assure that the candidate will be able to prepare for the Workshop, participate fully during the Workshop, and, if successful, complete the research or research training as specified in the research proposal.
• Letter of Support from your Research Faculty Mentor at your home institution. It should include information regarding your potential as an academic and as a researcher, adequacy of training and research experience to be competitive for an NIH or equivalent grant, and your mentor’s qualifications and plan of supporting you in writing and submitting your proposal.
• Development of a research concept sheet according to specified guidelines to include background, literature review, specific aims, hypotheses, and methodology outline. Accepted participants must agree to complete this preparatory work prior to the Workshop. Our experience with TIGRR is that candidates are very motivated to do this.
• Special consideration will be given to proposals that add a focus on mechanisms or translation, demonstrate affiliations between successful NIH-funded research programs and traditional rehabilitation disciplines, show collaboration among basic and clinical researchers, attract new talented investigators into the field, encourage successful researchers to add a rehabilitation focus, apply new investigative technologies to rehabilitation, and/or show collaboration across disciplines.
• The Committee will seek a group of mentees who have excellent training, have made outstanding progress in their field, have demonstrated high motivation and the potential for success in rehabilitation research, and come from a diverse group of institutions and disciplines.
• We encourage applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.

How are mentors assigned, and what exactly do they do?

After mentees have been accepted, they are each matched with a primary mentor and secondary mentor that fit as closely as possible the area of expertise needed for the research proposal that the mentee will be working on during TIGRR. It is not always possible to have a perfect fit. The most important fit is that they understand how to put a compelling grant together in your area. The primary mentor will provide the mentee with feedback on their proposal before the workshop in January. Both the primary and secondary mentors will be familiar with the mentee’s proposal before the workshop, and both will be available for one-on-one consultations with the mentee during the workshop. Note that mentees can meet with any of the cadre of mentors during the workshop. At the end of the workshop, the primary mentor will discuss a plan of action with the mentee for what work they will need to do with their proposal.

What is a TIGRR panel review?
Mentees who have their grant ready to submit during the 8 months after the workshop can have the opportunity to have it reviewed by a panel of mentees and mentors.

What is a TIGRR Pod group?
The Pod groups are 4-6 mentees with their primary mentors. They form sort of a homeroom for the workshop. The first night of the workshop, they listen to brief presentations of each proposal and provide important initial feedback. They meet occasionally during the workshop and at the end repeat the process of brief presentation and feedback to close out the workshop.

Can I apply to TIGRR using a grant proposal that I know I will submit to an agency for funding before the TIGRR workshop?
Yes, you may apply using a grant proposal that will be submitted for funding before the TIGRR workshop in January. However, if you are invited as a TIGRR mentee, then in October you must decide on either [a] providing a different proposal that you want to pursue by the October deadline provided or [b] be willing to continue to work on the submitted proposal to address reviewer feedback you received.

I have received a large grant before. Am I still a good candidate for TIGRR?
We do have some people who have smaller NIH grants or VA grants attend to get feedback on an R01 application, for example.

Can research partners apply together?
Yes, they can. Research partners can both apply with the same research proposal. However, they will need to submit separate applications along with separate support letters from department chairs and research faculty mentors. For a research team, it is possible for one to be accepted to TIGRR and not the other. Or, both can be accepted. It will depend on how competitive the applicant pool is for that year.

What is involved in getting accepted?
See the application webpage for step-by-step details about what is required in the application as well as for the application deadline. After the application deadline closes, applications are reviewed by multiple reviewers and scored based on a rubric. Then, the TIGRR executive committee reviews the scores and completed rubrics in order to make final decisions. In general, applicants with the highest scores are accepted. Since there are only so many qualified mentors available to support TIGRR, and with budget constraints from the NIH grant, TIGRR is only able to accept 38 mentees at most each year. This ensures that the quality of the program stays strong.

What are applicant reviewers looking for?
The Review Committee will base its decisions in large part on the scientific quality and potential of the applicants proposed research, the letters from the applicant’s sponsor (Program Supervisor or Department Head) and the potential for configuring a quality home institution mentorship team (or arrangements and coordination of mentorship outside of their home institution). The letters will be scrutinized for the information they supply about the candidate, the assurances they provide about the candidate’s potential for success in research, and the sponsor’s (both mentor and institution) support for the candidate’s research career. Thus, a letter from a mentor from the applicant’s home institution is important and should address the applicant’s interactions with the mentor. Under some circumstances the mentor may be at another institution as long as it is clear they have a good working relationship.

I have questions before I submit my application. Is there someone I can talk to?
Yes. Email Michelle McLeodmcleodmi@musc.edu, with your questions, and she will either be able to answer them herself, or she will put you in touch with one of the Co-PI’s for TIGRR, Dr. Rick Segal or Dr. Edee Field-Fote.

What if I get accepted but cannot commit to attend the entire workshop week? Can I still come for part of it?
Because TIGRR’s workshop is an intensive experience, it is important for mentees to be engaged for the entire workshop week. It is not permissible to only attend a portion.

Is it possible to participate in the TIGRR workshop remotely?
No. While we did run the full 2022 workshop remotely as a result of the Covid pandemic, if the workshop is in person it will not suit to have a mentee or multiple mentees participate remotely. It would be very difficult to give mentees equal opportunity for growth in a hybrid set-up. So much of the TIGRR workshop is about one-on-one meetings or group meetings with mentors, funding representatives and mentor/mentee groups. Even with today’s video-conferencing technology, it would be difficult to accomplish the same level of quality guidance for mentees if they were having to do every aspect of the workshop remotely while other participants are in-person. In particular, the networking aspects of the workshop would be lacking for those mentees not physically present with the rest of the participants. 

Mentee Testimonials:

“The TIGRR workshop was crucial for my career. It directly had an impact on my grant writing and allowed me to polish my most recent proposal. It was also very valuable to see the grant writing process from multiple perspectives and to interact with representatives from various funding agencies. Overall attending TIGRR was a great time investment!”

“This was an excellent experience to help me prepare for writing an R01. I received a variety of input on my application. My direct mentors and other TIGRR mentors continue to mentor me on all aspects of my application. I have been able to secure an AHA grant-in-Aid award and have been placed on a wait list for a DoD application.”

“I tell all young faculty that I meet that they need to go. Honestly, it was probably one of the most productive weeks of my career, when I think about the overarching value of the program. The week was intense, and consisted of a lot of writing, and meeting--but I got a ton out of it.”

“The workshop was enormously helpful to me. I came away from the workshop with a much clearer idea of how to move forward with the proposal that I was working on at the time. I also felt much more optimistic about planning a research and funding trajectory. The opportunity to speak to people across the rehabilitation research spectrum, from senior PIs and POs to new investigator peers was very helpful.”

“It is not an exaggeration to state that attending TIGRR was a turning point of my academic career. In the workshop, I learned how my peers develop their cohesive line of research. It also provided me an opportunity to examine my environment. The experience was not all pleasant and was embarrassing for me to be honest. But that gut check was exactly what I needed when I needed it. The follow-up after TIGRR was what really made a difference for me. I was able to stay connected with my mentor, and the K01 proposal we developed was funded in 2018 after 3 years of effort.”

“The mentors at TIGRR could not have been more helpful, and continue to be extremely helpful. This experience was very important for helping me to understand the culture of grant review and grant writing. It has helped inform my approach to grant writing so I feel more confident in the process, rather than feeling as though I'm at the mercy of some mystical luck machine.”

“It was a wonderful experience coming from a physician researcher. It was great to interact with non-physician researchers and get their input on the research ideas presented.”

“My experience at TIGRR was quite valuable as my discussions with senior faculty at the workshop led me to redevelop my aims into an R01 proposal that was recently funded.”

“TIGRR was an excellent use of funds and time that has given me a tremendous amount of grantsmanship knowledge and skills. Every administrator that I have told about TIGRR (chair, dean, external program reviewer) has been impressed with the content and experience I gained at TIGRR, particularly the one-on-one meetings with Program Officers/Managers and senior researchers. I recommend TIGRR to any junior faculty peers.”

“Following my participation in TIGRR, I was awarded a KL2 from the University of Miami CTSI. I am confident that I would not have been awarded this grant had I not had the opportunity to attend TIGRR.”

“I was successful with a grant application to the NSF’s National Robotics Initiative this year, with a collaborative application aiming at a new style of robotics for lower-limb rehabilitation…This was very much facilitated by the training at TIGRR (application was written in January and February), so I want to say ‘Thanks’.”