Writing any type of grant application can be challenging. However, writing a competitive grant application for intervention research presents its own unique set of issues. Here we discuss ten challenges specific to intervention research: naming and framing the phase of intervention development; specifying aims; the importance of pilot data; Research methods; describing the intervention; page limitations and need for intervention details; proof that the proposed methods are feasible such as recruitment plans; human subject considerations; appendices; and budgeting.

Naming and Framing the Phase of Intervention Development

In writing a grant proposal, it is important to specify the stage of development of the intervention and therefore the purpose of the request for funding (e.g., to develop an intervention, test its safety and feasibility or efficacy, effectiveness). As agencies conceptualize the intervention pipeline somewhat differently, understanding the terminology specific to the funder and providing a well-articulated statement as to the phase are important. Similarly, reviewers may disagree as to what constitutes an efficacy trial versus an effectiveness trial and they may be unfamiliar with emerging hybrid designs that combine developmental phases (Curran, Bauer, Mittman, Pyne, & Stetler, 2012; Riley, Glasgow, Etheredge, & Abernethy, 2013). Thus, describing, naming, and framing the phase of development and testing that is being proposed as well as citing a source to support one’s statements can enable reviewers to respond appropriately. Furthermore, as some agencies have an interest in funding one phase versus another, speaking to a program officer about these matters is essential.

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