ORS continues to invest in the future of our musculoskeletal research and orthopaedic communities through our rigorous mentoring and training programs. One of our most successful, long-term programs has been our grant writing program. This program has provided our orthopaedic research community with the tools and resources needed to write a compelling grant to ensure the success of their research program.

Course Curriculum

This course consists of an online set of lectures culminating in a full day interactive workshop. The online lectures will cover the basics for writing a compelling grant application. The workshop will then provide an opportunity for participants to prepare, revise, and review a specific aims page or a full proposal with expert faculty.

The online portion of the course consists of 28 individual lectures with 8 learning modules and a total of 9 hours of learning.

  • Each individual lecture is approximately 10 – 15 minutes in length.
  • The online course is designed to be taken in chronological order. Of course, you can listen and revisit each module as often as you’d like.
  • This course offers office hours with faculty, an informal Q&A with selected faculty and live webinars. Details will be sent to all course participants at a later date.

The in-person portion of the course will take place the day before the ORS Annual Meeting.

  • Participants will have the opportunity to submit specific aims pages or full proposals prior to the meeting.
  • During a “Specific Aims Lab,” participants will discuss and revise their specific aims pages in small groups with individual faculty.
  • During a “Mock Study Section,” a subset of proposals submitted by participants will be reviewed, mimicking the process of NIH Study Section review.
  • There will be networking and mentoring opportunities throughout the day for participants.


The program is taught by a diverse and multi-disciplinary faculty including engineers, biologists, and orthopaedic surgeons who have been successful in obtaining federal research funding.  The faculty will offer practical insights on designing impactful basic, translational, and clinical grant proposals, with an emphasis on how to effectively communicate ideas to reviewers. Visit this page to view the disclosures for this course.

Who would benefit from this course?

This program provides the orthopaedic research community of residents, surgeons, basic scientists, and engineers with the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to write a successful grant application. All career levels and disciplines in the field of musculoskeletal research and research relating to orthopaedics will benefit from the course.

Online Course Content (Part 1)

How to Write the Best Grant – Selecting the Right Mechanism

Strategies for Grant Submissions: Who is Your Audience?

Richard L. Lieber, PhD
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab / Northwestern University

Why Grants Matter for Academic Scientists and Physicians

Francis Y. Lee, MD, PhD
Yale School of Medicine

Alternative Funding Sources: Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF)

Ponda Barnes, PhD, MPH, CRA
Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF)

Alternative Funding Sources:  Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, Inc. Biologics (MTF Biologics)

Jeffrey Cartmell, PhD
Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, Inc. Biologics (MTF Biologics)

Introduction to NIH/Managing an Early Investigator Status

Gayle Lester, PhD
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Navigating National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): Funding Opportunities

Charles H. Washabaugh, PhD
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

How to Write the Best Grant – Project Planning & Aims 

Proposal Concept and Planning

Elise F. Morgan, PhD
Boston University

Significance, Impact, and Innovation

James C. Iatridis, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

How to Write a Compelling Specific Aims Page

Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD
Columbia University

Hypothesis Development

Mitchell B. Schaffler, PhD
The City College of New York

How to Write the Best Grant – Approach and Collaborations

How to Present Preliminary Data

Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD
Columbia University

Approach Section (Basic Science Grants)

Alice Huang, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Approach Section (Clinical Research Grants)

Kurt P. Spindler, MD
Cleveland Clinic

How to Write the Best Grant – Critical Additional Components

The Importance of a Strong Statistical Design: Sample Size, Data Analysis, Power Analysis

Louis J. Soslowsky, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Anticipating Critiques: Potential Problems & Alternative Approaches

Hicham Drissi, PhD
Emory University

How to Use Supporting Documents to Strengthen Your Proposal

Tamara Alliston, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

The Unscored Section of NIH Grants (Resources, Biohazards, Foreign Organizations, Select Agents, Resource Sharing Plans & Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources)

Karl J. Jepsen, PhD
University of Michigan

Budget and Budget Justification

Ling Qin, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Elements of Grants: Overview (PHS 398 & Newer Forms)

Nadeen O. Chahine, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center

Rigor and Reproducibility

Edward Schwarz, PhD
University of Rochester Medical Center

Career Transitions and NIH K-Grants

Logistics of Clinical Trials: Clinical Trials are not for Everyone

Kurt P. Spindler, MD
Cleveland Clinic

Transition from NIH K- to NIH R- Grants

Kurt R. Weiss, MD
University of Pittsburgh

Basic Scientist Career Transitions

Ralph Marcucio, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

Peer Review Process

NIH Center for Scientific Review: Peer Review Process to Determine Scientific Merit of Grant Applications

Daniel F. McDonald, PhD
former employee of National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Guidance on Study Section and Institute Assignment Requests

Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD
Columbia University

Pathways for Research

Vertebrae Animal Section and IACUC Approval

Kurt Hankenson, DVM, PhD
University of Michigan

What’s the End Game?

Edward Schwarz, PhD
University of Rochester Medical Center

What’s Next?

What is the Next Step if Grant is or is Not Funded

Ralph Marcucio, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

In-Person Course Content* (Part 2)

ORS 2023 Annual Meeting
Friday, February 2, 2024

8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Part II of our popular LearnORS Art of Grant Writing online course is the interactive portion of the course, occurring at the Annual Meeting. Participants will be paired with experienced mentors to go over their proposals and provide valuable feedback on the art of grant writing. The interactive day-long course includes a Specific Page Aims Lab providing participants with the opportunity to prepare and revise a specific aims page, the most important page of the grant application. In addition, a subset of full grants submitted by registrants will be reviewed during a LIVE Mock NIH Study Section. Additional didactics highlight important concepts to supplement the Part I LearnORS materials. The day ends with a networking reception. Don’t miss out on the networking and mentoring opportunities and the real time feedback you will receive from faculty and NIH officers.

We encourage you to take Part I (online lectures) prior to participating in the Part II to ensure maximum success! Full grant proposals will be accepted for review only from registrants who have participated in Part I of this course.

*Part 2 requires separate registration upon registering for the Annual Meeting.


The NEW LearnORS Enrollment allows individual learners and multi-user groups to:

  • Become an ORS Member and purchase the Courses at discounted pricing
  • Access all LearnORS Courses offered with a single registration

Scientific Courses

Art of Grant Writing
Orthopaedic Basic Science
Principles of Clinical Research

ORS Member rate = $250/Course
Non-Member rate = $350/Course

Career Development Courses

Enhanced Writing and Publication Skills

ORS Member rate = $90/Course
Non-Member rate = $120/Course

Learn ORS Residency Bundle

This purchasing option allows a Residency Program to purchase access to all LearnORS Courses for as many residents as they have in their Program.