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Tips and Tricks for Research Faculty

Tip #1

Find out about resources for funding, grant writing, publications and research compliance on our Research Resources page.

Tip #2

If you’re in a clinical department, consider a secondary appointment in a basic science department. This appointment would allow admission to the graduate faculty which enables you to train and mentor graduate students in the lab.

Tip #3

Establish a relationship with a biostatistician, and work with them during the planning stages of your research. They can provide valuable input with respect to study design and modes of data collection.

Tip #4

Be proactive in signing up for mailing lists or listservs of interest, including the IUPUI Research Reagents listserv for sharing reagents.

Tip #5

Prioritize your equipment needs: use daily, weekly, monthly, annually. For rare use and/or high-cost equipment, consider applying for CTSI core pilot grants to allow access to a core laboratory. Partner with a senior colleague who might be looking to upgrade equipment for fewer upfront costs, warranty contracts and repairs.

Tip #6

Put together an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Work on aims for all aspects of faculty life, including teaching, in addition to research. Discuss the IDP with mentors.

Tip #7

Establish a network of multiple senior mentors, including people who:

  • have successfully negotiated with your chair.
  • have an understanding of your research area but no conflict of interest.
  • can read your specific aims and grant drafts.
  • can help you with teaching and service advice.
  • have funding and are willing to offer you support at the start.
  • serve on an NIH study section (preferably the one you think you will be submitting to find out what type of proposals are being funded).

Tip #8

Keep abreast of faculty development information and events on the Faculty Affairs and Professional Development website.

Tip #9

Get to know IU School of Medicine’s Promotion and Tenure guidelines for your position. Keep hard copy records of emails and letters to support the three missions (research, teaching, service).

Tip #10

Guard your time carefully, dedicate time to conduct research. Also learn when not to say no to service or teaching opportunities that will help you raise your profile on campus, strengthen your dossier or allow you to network.

Tip #11

Think carefully before deciding to hire personnel. Do you have enough work for a technician or postdoc? If so, seek established faculty advice during the hiring process. Include colleagues and mentors when interviewing applicants to your research team.

Tip #12

Apply for internal grants early and often.

Tip #13

Make sure you have adequate publications before submitting an NIH R01 proposal. Proof of productivity can be very important in successfully attracting funding. Publication record most align with the research area of your proposals.

Tip #14

Use the NIH RePORT to learn about research funded in your institution or research area. Use the MatchMaker to find what work similar to yours is funded and what study session to send your grant to.

Tip #15

Get input on your grant drafts from both content experts and those not in your field

Tip #16

Check for plasmids before ordering commercially. Often modified vectors are available for a fraction of cost. They also have mutant signaling proteins and other constructs deposited by investigators saving you time and money in creating them yourself.

Tip #17

Check Zotero for reference management/organization. Zotero is open source and has lots of automatic features that many find superior to Endnote. Other options include Papers (for Mac) and Mendeley.

Do you have further tips to add to this document? Please send any comments to Faculty Affairs and Professional Development (FAPD) at