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PEERS Curriculum

Program Outline Fall 2017

  • October 10: Session 1 Informational Session
  • October 11: PEERS application deadline
  • October 12: PEERS preliminary notification
  • October 13: PEERS mentor confirmation deadline
  • October 17: Draft 1 due
  • October 24: Session 2 Group critique 1
  • October 31: Draft 2 due
  • November 7: Mentor critiques due
  • Interim (TBD): Mentor-peer meeting
  • November 28: Draft 3 due
  • December 5: Session 3 Group critique 2

Session Details

Session 1: “Nail Those Aims!” NIH Specific Aims Best Writing Practices (Baruch Auditorium QG103)

Allotted Time: 1 hour

This informational session will be open to the MUSC research community, and will review writing principles associated with an NIH Specific Aims page. A facilitator from the Office of Research Development will discuss typical patterns and writing styles related to a Specific Aims page, intent behind common K- (K01, K08) and R- (R03, R21, and R01) mechanisms pursued by early career investigators, and tips for Program Officer first contact. A panel of senior faculty with considerable grant review experience will be available for questions and feedback at the end of the session. Participation in the informational session is encouraged, but not required for participation in PEERS.

Registration for participation.

Session 2: Group Critique 1 (BSB 101C)

Allotted Time: 2 hours

The first peer-to-peer critique will focus on an analysis of the conceptual clarity and written structure of each participant’s working Specific Aims page. First drafts will be due 1 week prior to the session and distributed to the other group members. During that week, each group member will review the others’ sections. Participants should arrive to session prepared to give thoughtful and constructive feedback. Each participant will have 20 minutes devoted to their document: the first 10 minutes will be an author-led presentation of aims and grant concept; the final 10 minutes will be a facilitated discussion of suggestions for writing improvement. Workshop mentors will also be assigned.

Interim: Mentor Critique

Allotted Time: TBD

Each group member will have one week to revise their aims and submit their second draft for mentor critique. Workshop mentors will then have an additional week to review and provide comments back to the author electronically. Following receipt of mentor comments, group members will also have an opportunity to meet with their mentors to discuss their feedback in more detail. Due to busy schedules, it will be the responsibility of each participant to contact their assigned faculty member to set-up a time that is optimal for both parties. Please note that while this meeting is not required, this mentor will have committed to a 60 minute meeting (remote or in-person) as part of their agreement to participate in the workshop. This represents an excellent opportunity for applicants to receive expert critiques and grow their network. Third drafts will be due one week prior to the third session for final group critique.

Session 3: Group Critique 2 (BSB 101C)

Allotted Time: 2 hours

The second peer-to-peer critique will focus on a facilitated analysis of first versus final drafts developed during the workshop. Each group member will again have 10 to 15 minutes to lead a discussion on their aims and the evolution of their proposal during the workshop. The remaining 5 to 10 minutes will be for final group comments. Participants are free to discuss mentor comments on their aims if they wish. Participants will be asked at the end of the session to fill out a survey evaluating workshop effectiveness.


The ORD respectfully requests that workshop participants be willing to share their final scores, award status, and summary statements with the office. These will be kept confidential on our secure servers and not shared with any other faculty or staff members without express written permission from the PI. This information will enable our office to better tailor ongoing future support for past workshop participants.