I assist researchers construct improbable funding proposals — right here’s how


Gloria Garcia Negredo pictured at the Centre for Genomic Regulation’s headquarters in Barcelona.

Glòria García-Negredo assists grant-writing researchers at a biomedical establishment in Barcelona.Credit score: Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)

After a grasp’s diploma in neuroscience and a PhD in biomedicine on the College of Barcelona in Spain, Glòria García-Negredo launched into a profession in analysis challenge administration. She is now a grants specialist on the Heart for Genomic Regulation (CRG), a world biomedical analysis institute primarily based in Barcelona. From the sun-soaked terrace of the Barcelona Biomedical Analysis Park, which homes the CRG and 6 different public analysis centres, García-Negredo talks to Nature about her work serving to CRG researchers to use for European Union and worldwide funding.

The place does your work on the CRG match into the analysis course of?

I’m a grant specialist within the pre-award space right here on the CRG, with a deal with European and worldwide grants. This implies I attempt to make the method of submitting a proposal to the European Fee or funding company as easy as potential. That includes understanding the goals of the principal investigator, in addition to the necessities and insurance policies of the funding company.

Extra particularly, I assist scientists to organize grant documentation, ensuring that it’s acceptable for the totally different key areas of the CRG — together with authorized, tech switch, coaching and communications. I make it possible for the proposed challenge is logistically and financially possible, and that it fits the theme of the decision for grant proposals. I began working on the CRG on the finish of 2021. In the middle of 2022 and 2023, I managed a complete of 105 European and worldwide proposals, price round €63 million (US$68 million).

A part of my job is making connections inside the establishment in addition to exterior of it. On the CRG, we’ve specialists on ethics, in addition to working teams on gender, impression and sustainability. To raised reply the requires proposals from funders, a part of my job is to carry all of that experience collectively to develop an utility.

Occasionally, lab leaders have a transparent goal in thoughts for his or her analysis, and so they come to us to see if we’ve noticed any funding alternatives that may match. Generally, it’s the opposite — they focus on a selected space of science and they’re searching for methods to use their experience to safe funding. They may match very properly in a consortium or collaboration as an alternative of main with their very own analysis.

In that case, I’d join them with an establishment in our community that’s placing collectively a proposal, see if this lab may match as a companion within the challenge after which facilitate the logistics of the collaboration. I begin the dialog, then act as type of a filter for what my establishment can implement and what’s possible.

What led you to challenge administration?

Once I was engaged on my PhD, there was only one supervisor for round ten lab members, and a mixture of PhD and grasp’s college students. It was actually crowded. That particular person was doing their greatest, however I felt I needed to battle to get time with my supervisor, and so did the remainder of the scholars. I spotted that this principal investigator (PI), on high of supervising the entire workforce and attempting to do analysis, needed to make investments numerous time in writing proposals for funding. There was a transparent lack of help construction for PIs, who have been working very exhausting. It was a systemic challenge.

One other issue was that I didn’t really feel aligned with how analysis was being evaluated on the time. I knew that I beloved science and I needed to keep in touch with analysis, however as an alternative of being a part of that rat race, I needed to attempt to change it, on the stage that I may. My swap from wet-lab analysis to analysis administration, the place I may present the help that I observed PIs lacked and get acquainted with the coverage aspect of analysis, was a means of attempting to make these modifications occur.

After making that call and ending my PhD, I labored in a number of research-consultancy jobs that gave me perspective on the analysis ecosystem past the laboratory. My work has been totally different in every of those positions. Each time I began a brand new one, I felt like I used to be base-jumping into a unique subject. However all these experiences have contributed to who I’m now and the experience I’ve immediately.

What’s the primary factor a PI can do to make your work simpler or your collaboration simpler?

For me, communication is the important thing. When a researcher is proactive in speaking and lively in listening, after we can belief one another, we will make nice issues occur. Working with somebody who cares about communication and nurtures these channels of suggestions between the lab and the strategy-and-funding workforce makes my job a lot simpler.

I not too long ago had an awesome expertise working with one PI. He was very clear on what was vital for him and what he needed to attain, and I used to be capable of translate that right into a plan of motion that labored for all the opposite events concerned. He trusted me to handle this course of and lead the dialog with the European Fee whereas he led the dialog with the opposite analysis teams within the consortium. It labored very properly.

What recommendation would you give to scientists inquisitive about challenge administration as a profession?

Don’t undervalue your self or your experience. It’s simple to really feel like you’re unqualified to touch upon a proposal {that a} PI brings to you, since you’re not a subject-matter professional. It might probably really feel, to each of you, such as you’re intruding on their space of experience.

However it’s a must to be assertive and make it clear that your job is to assist them place their science in a bigger funding technique or name, to present them one of the best likelihood of getting the cash they should pursue their analysis query. That’s your experience.

This interview has been edited for size and readability.

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