Guidebook for New Principal Investigators

Advice on Applying for a Grant, Writing Papers, Setting up a Research Team and Managing Your Time

Roderick McInnes, Brenda Andrews, Richard Rachubinski

About This Guidebook

This guidebook is intended for all researchers (new and experienced) who write grant applications in any area of health research, including basic biomedical research, clinical research, the social sciences and the humanities.

This guidebook provides tips about:

  • applying for a grant as a Principal Investigator (PI)
  • writing papers
  • building and managing your research team and laboratory
  • managing your time

Obviously, these tips are only suggestions, not universal rules. However, these tips are from successful senior scientists who are extremely-and perhaps even overly!-familiar with applying for grants, managing research teams, and running research laboratories:

Dr. Roderick McInnes
Program of Developmental Biology Research Institute
The Hospital for Sick Children Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular and Medical Genetics University of Toronto
Scientific Director
Institute of Genetics, CIHR

Dr. Brenda Andrews
Banting & Best Department of Medical Research
Department of Medical Genetics & Microbiology
University of Toronto
Director, Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular & Biomolecular Research

Dr. Richard Rachubinski
Department of Cell Biology University of Alberta

The advice in this Guidebook was initially compiled for the first Institute of Genetics Principal Investigators meeting, in November 2002. The high level of interest in this subject, from the new Pis attending this meeting, led to the development of this Guidebook.

Dedication and Acknowledgements

To Lou Siminovitch, a great mentor.

The authors are tremendously grateful to Jennifer Jennings for her important contributions to the creation of this Guidebook. First, we thank her for motivating the authors to undertake the painful task of transforming a series of lectures into this Guidebook. And second, we thank her for her enthusiastic forbearance of a seemingly endless number of revisions, for her many long hours of editing and formatting, and for her numerous thoughtful suggestions.

The authors wish to thank Rémi Quirion (McGill University), and Françoise Baylis (Dalhousie University), Daryl Pullman (Memorial University of Newfoundland) and Margaret Lock (McGill University) for helpful commentary on this Guidebook, particularly in making it relevant to investigators in the social sciences and humanities.

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