Program Goals

  • Understand the basic construction of a grant and the grant submission process.
  • Learn how to effectively address and write the main section of a grant application.
  • Understand how to write and assemble an initial competitive grant application.
  • Appreciate ways that mentors, grant administrators, and other collaborators can support your grant funding process.

Clinical and Translational (C/T) Research Academy First Grant Bootcamp

Please note, this program previously was called C/T Research Academy, a two-year training program for clinical and research fellows. Under the new model we are focusing on short-term training in grant-writing for early-stage investigators.

The Harvard Catalyst Clinical and Translational Research Academy First Grant Bootcamp is a 15-week program designed for early-stage investigators who are ready to write their first grant application, which is often an F32, foundation, or professional society grant. Participants will prepare a competitive grant application via  self-paced grant-writing instruction, live webinars, and faculty-led small groups which will be focused on feedback and editing. 

Participants will receive resources and a grant-writing timeline to guide them through the process of writing the main sections of their grant application. Throughout the program, participants will meet every other week with a group of peers led by a faculty member. During these meetings, they will receive personalized grant-writing guidance and feedback. Participants will also learn how to provide effective peer-to-peer grant writing feedback, have access to a toolbox of grant-writing resources, and join live webinars on grant writing and career development topics. Participants will leave this program prepared to submit their first grant application.  

Program Structure

The program will begin with self-paced pre-work that will provide participants with foundational grant-writing knowledge and prepare them for the program. A one-day in-person kickoff event will welcome all participants into the program. The event will provide an overview, detailed expectations, and guidance on giving and receiving grant-writing feedback. For the remainder of the program, participants will work virtually in small groups of three to four peer participants, either remotely or in-person. Small groups will be led by senior faculty members, known as academy mentors, who will serve as a grant-writing advisor. The focus of these small groups will be to help participants convey their research ideas in a clear and coherent way for a broad audience of scientific reviewers. Note: Participants will not necessarily be matched with faculty who specialize in the same scientific area of interest.

Throughout the 15 weeks, each group will meet every other week to focus on an individual grant section. In preparation for each meeting, participants will be given self-paced resources to assist them with their writing and will be required to submit their draft section and review and prepare feedback of a peer’s grant section by designated deadlines. All participants will be offered feedback and guidance at each meeting. Although participants will be required to adhere to submission and review deadlines, all self-paced writing resources will be provided at the start of the program so that participants can write each section at their ideal pace.

Interspersed through the program will also be live webinars on relevant grant-writing topics. The program will end with a closing event in which participants receive one-on-one  feedback on their complete grant from a new peer who will provide a fresh-eyes perspective on clarity and flow.

Program Dates

August – December 2024
(Pre-work will be provided in August 2024, a minimum of two-weeks prior to the program kickoff event)

Mandatory *in-person* session dates at Harvard Medical School:

  • Program Kickoff Event: September 9, 2024
  • Program Closing Event:  December 16, 2024

Webinar Dates: Specific dates will be determined and shared closer to the program start date. There will be three to five virtual webinars offered throughout the program.

Group Meetings: Individual small group meeting times will be determined closer to the start of the program. Meeting times will be scheduled based on the common availability of the group members and academy mentors.

Each small group will meet virtually, with the option of meeting in-person.

Time Commitment

This is an intensive program, and participants must be prepared to commit to participate in all aspects of the program, which will run between mid-August (pre-work) until mid-December 2024. This will average at least 4-5 hours per week during the program. Program participation includes the following:

  • Completing the program pre-work, which will be sent a minimum of two-weeks prior to the Program Kickoff Event
  • Attending the *in-person* Program Kickoff Event: September 9, 2024 from 8:00am-12:00pm at Harvard Medical School
  • Attending 90-minute virtual small-group meetings every other week (6 in total, days and times will be determined on participant and faculty availability closer to the program start)
  • Reviewing and completing online course work
  • Actively writing each section of your grant and adhering to grant draft section submission deadlines (approximately 8-12 hours, every two weeks)
  • Reviewing draft grant sections from peers and providing feedback by designated deadlines (approximately 1-2 hours, every two weeks)
  • Attending 3-5 live webinars throughout the program (dates to be determined)
  • Attending the Program Closing Event: December 16, 2024 8:00am-12:00pm at Harvard Medical School

Audience & Admission Requirements

This program is designed for early-stage clinical and translational (CT) investigators aiming to improve their success in obtaining their first grant. 

The ideal applicant for this program:

  • Is an early-stage C/T (not basic) research investigator, typically in the later stages of fellowship (e.g., beyond the clinical portion of training) or with a recent faculty appointment (within the first three years of appointment). They have sufficient protected time to fulfill the work requirements of this program (in general, at least 50% protected research time is needed to be successful).

Is ready to write a grant application by having:

  • Identified at least one funding mechanism (often an F32, foundation, professional society grant or supplement) to apply for
  • Completed a literature review and determined where their research question may fit 
  • A compelling question that can be addressed within the timeframe and budget of the grant
  • Access to methods and techniques to address the research question
  • Preliminary data to support the research question, as required by the target funding mechanism
  • Identified a committed mentor and have discussed grant submission plans with them
  • Has drafted or is prepared to draft a brief statement detailing why they are competitive for their identified grant funding program(s). Details should include:
    • The problem that the applicant’s research will address
    • An overview of what we already know about the problem
    • The gaps in our knowledge
    • The proposed specific aims
    • An overview of the research plan (e.g., study design, approach, key measures)
    • The project’s impact
  • Is targeting an application submission deadline no earlier than January 2025

In addition, applicants must:

  • Receive an endorsement of committed support from their primary scientific mentor (endorsements will be solicited for the program by email upon submission of your application)
  • Be currently employed at HMS or one of the Harvard-affiliated hospitals.
  • Agree to the time commitment (see above time commitment for details)

Participant selection will be determined based on applicants meeting the above criteria. The program is not designed for applicants who are seeking more advanced career development grants, such as  NIH K or R01 awards.  


Free for Harvard-affiliated schools and institutions.


The application period is now open. Applications are due by 5:00pm EST on Thursday, July 25, 2024.