The R01 Club

Winning your first NIH R01 is a watershed moment in a scholar’s life, and a major marker of having arrived as an NIH funded researcher. NIH views R01s as their investment in you, and they want their investments to succeed. But how do you make sure your first R01 is a success? And how do you leverage your first R01 to generate continued funding? The R01 Club was created to address exactly these issues.


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Designed to support Principal Investigators (PIs) transitioning from early-stage to mid-career investigator, the R01 Club is an OVPR-facilitated, NIH-focused research community that is part support group, part information clearinghouse, part training institute, and part networking site.

The R01 Club is open to faculty or staff PIs from any department or unit on campus who are currently serving as PI on their first funded NIH R01. PIs who have submitted, but not been awarded their first R01, or who are working toward submission of their first R01, are also welcome.

The success of your first major NIH award is vital to your future as an NIH-funded scholar because it influences your ability to acquire continued NIH funding, which in turn has profound implications for the longevity of your academic career. NIH reports that most investigators who drop out of academe do so after the end of their first R01 award.

Yet, new PIs face many challenges as they launch their first major research project, including managing laboratory start-up, recruiting staff, and shepherding other ongoing projects, while also teaching, and participating in departmental or professional activities. Seeking a renewal of a first R01, or a second award to keep labs operating, adds additional pressures to these PIs –who already have to compete against well-funded, long-tenured investigators.

These pressures, coupled with evidence that R01 awards among mid-career investigatorsare declining, led NIH to create the Next Generation Researchers Initiative in 2017. Among others, NIH highlighted the longstanding need for continuing support of early-career researchers after they receive their initial major independent award.

Here at UT, in a series of interviews with OVPR Research Development staff, UT PIs also identified mid-career NIH investigator support and mentoring as an unmet need spanning multiple colleges and schools. The R01 Club was created to meet this need.

R01 Club activities are designed to foster a sense of community and shared purpose, promote effective strategies for success at all stages of the research project lifecycle, offer tools and resources to enhance your productivity, and provide insider information and best practice recommendations from UT investigators with long-time success acquiring NIH funding and extensive experience across multiple facets of NIH (e.g., membership on NIH study section, NIH council, etc.).

The R01 Club will offer advice, workshops, panel discussions, and training to help you successfully manage your R01 and advance your NIH research career. A major goal of the R01 Club is to help you expand your existing network to include both NIH program staff, and a community of new and seasoned NIH investigators at UT whom you can turn to for mentorship, support, advice, or collaboration.

We also plan to launch a mentorship program, matching mentees and mentors based on interest, expertise, and experience, and a comprehensive resource library of tools, templates, documentation, and guidelines which can be customized according to your needs. Stay Tuned!

Join us for engaging talks, enlightening workshops, practical advice, insider perspectives, community, companionship, networking, and support.

Welcome to the Club!


Contact Liza Scarborough, Director of Investigator Skill-Building, Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors.

The R01 Club is open to faculty or staff PIs from any department or unit on campus who are currently serving as PI on their first funded NIH R01. PIs who have submitted, but not been awarded their first R01, or who are working toward submission of their first R01, are also welcome to join.

Contact us! We are always on the lookout for sage advice and dedicated mentors.

Drop us a line! Ideas or requests for specific topics, speakers, activities, training, or resources are most welcome and happily accommodated if possible.


Calendar View of R01 Club Events

R01 Club Presents: It’s All About the Aims

Friday, December 3, 2021 at 12 pm (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
Many know that project Specific Aims are a major component of NIH Proposals. But did you know that the majority of reviewers will judge your entire project based solely on a quick read of your Specific Aims page? In this R01 Club event, we take a deep dive into project Specific Aims, discussing best practices for structure, major components, and critical content.

R01 Club Happy Hour

Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 1:00 - 3:30 pm (via Zoom/In-person at FAC 430)
It’s been quite a year! We thought it would be nice to begin our new season with an informal social networking event to meet, brainstorm and vote on future R01 Club activities and resources, and give away some SWAG!

R01 Club Seminar Series Kick-off Event: What I Wish I'd Known for My First R01

Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 1 pm (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
In the heady days following your first award, it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus, undercutting your success. In this panel discussion, seasoned NIH investigators will offer hard-earned insights, cautionary tales, and just plain "good to know" tidbits picked up over many years of NIH funding – providing answers to questions you didn't even know to ask!

Thinking Ahead: Strategic Project Management for R01s

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
At the end of the day, your R01 is a project to be managed like any other. But early missteps, errors, or mistakes can have potent consequences for your future NIH funding. Join a panel of experienced NIH investigators as they offer tactics and strategic approaches for managing your R01 project to optimize productivity, minimize difficulties and roadblocks, maximize the visibility of your research, and cultivate connections critical to your success as an NIH funded PI.

Setting Yourself up for Success: From R01 to Competitive Renewal

Thursday, February 11, 2021 (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
How your first R01 progresses has critical implications for your ability to navigate the all-important period of transition from your first to your second major NIH award. Key to successfully navigating this transition is parlaying your first R01 into a competitive renewal or new research project. Retaining investigators at this critical transition point will protect the research investment NIH has already made in your R01. Panelists will offer guidance and practical advice regarding how to conduct your first project in anticipation of your next project.

An R01 for Life: Serial Competitive Renewals

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
Relative to new R01s, competitive renewals have a higher probability of success - roughly 2 times higher. Moreover, a single R01 can generate multiple competitive renewals over many cycles, effectively creating an “R01 for life.” Join a panel of UT investigators who have held the same R01 via serial competitive renewals for as long as 35 years! The panel will address issues such as deciding between a competing renewal vs. a new R01 for your second project, attention to project scope and aims in competing renewals, and issues in data archiving and project completion when the project is not yet complete.

Amplify Your Work - Advice for Personal Brand Management and Social Media Use

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
Evidence is mounting that articles that are tweeted about are more highly cited than those who are not. Join Laura Dixon, PhD, Media Liaison and Research Dissemination Manager of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), for a hands-on workshop with practical advice, tools, and resources for amplifying the reach of your work and managing your personal brand.

The R01 Club Presents: Developing Relationships with NIH Program Officers

Thursday, June 24, 2021 (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
NIH Program Officers are charged with shepherding grant proposals through the funding process – from proposal submission to project close. They can give you the inside scoop on NIH priorities and goals, tell you whether your idea is a good fit, and provide advice, tips, and feedback. Join us for a panel discussion focused on all of the many ways Program Officers can give your proposal a funding advantage. We will reveal why developing relationships with Program Officers is so critical to your longevity as an NIH funded investigator.

NIH Study Section Reviews: An Insiders Guide

Thursday, July 29, 2021 (via Zoom, Presentation Recording and Event Materials)
If you have never served on a Study Section, it can be difficult to know what actually goes on when they meet, and more importantly, what you can do to help shape the way reviewers respond to your proposal. Join us for a discussion among regular members of diverse Study Sections (human and animal models, population and molecular approaches), to get an insider’s glimpse of Study Section meetings!

R01 Club Seminar Series: Strategies for Maximizing R01 Success

Becoming PI on your first R01 is true cause for celebration, but now that you are funded, the real work begins. If you are not sure where to start, you are not alone. Strategies for Maximizing R01 Success is a series of panel discussions, talks and workshops, tailor-made to meet the needs of newly minted R01 PIs. Join us for our first official R01 Club event!

Helpful Links

NOT-OD-20-055 Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplement for Continuity of Biomedical and Behavioral Research Among First-Time Recipients of NIH Research Project Grant Awards

Stay Tuned!

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