Research Development and Proposal Writing

The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Strategic Research Development team actively supports our clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty in project development & proposal writing.

Priorities include:

  • Diversity Supplements (all career stages)
  • Fellowships (clinical fellows and postdocs)
  • First major research grant (junior faculty)
  • Select large program projects (all career stages*)


Services Include:

  • Identifying funding opportunities
  • Editing and critically evaluating proposals
  • Interpreting sponsor requirements and providing strategic advice
  • Drafting specific administrative sections of the application
  • Assisting with pre-award budgeting, progress reports, and other supports
  • Coordinating completion of proposals, subcontracts, and select large collaborative projects
  • Providing educational resources, workshops, and one-on-one consultations


Our model of 1:1 grant support is designed to enable the PI to focus on the science:

  • Recurring meetings to discuss progress, review drafts, and strategize
  • Project management, including checklists and timelines
  • Shared collaborative folders containing comprehensive educational resources and templates
  • Mock reviews scheduled as needed


Individuals submitting fellowships and career development awards are highly encouraged to register for and complete the Grant Writing Academy's Proposal Bootcamp as they prepare their submissions. Sign up here:

Subcontracts may receive limited project management support (coordinating with RMG, a first draft of the budget justification based on the budget, and help gathering required documents).

*Larger grants (i.e. program project grants) are a very time-sensitive endeavor. Support for these will continue to be on a very limited basis and must be approved by division leadership.

Support is only available for proposals in which the PI is submitting through the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.


Deadline to request support:

Subcontracts 30+ days before the sponsor deadline
Fellowships 60+ days before the sponsor deadline
Major research grants and career development awards** 90+ days before the sponsor deadline
Large program projects 180+ days before the sponsor deadline

**Any desired changes to appointments (i.e., Instructor) must be discussed with and approved by your primary mentor and Dr. Eldrin Lewis seven months before the new appointment would begin OR two months before the grant is due – whichever is earlier. The faculty mentor is financially responsible for any backstop if a career development award is not funded or does not fully cover the Instructor salary.

The Strategic Research Development Team has limited bandwidth, especially around high-volume (NIH and AHA) deadlines, and we cannot accommodate last-minute requests. Exceptions to these deadlines should be emailed to Liz Seckel and will be considered on a case-by-case basis for quick turnaround RFAs with a strong likelihood of being funded.

The division reserves the right to assess support requests based on the workload of the team. 

The Team


Liz Seckel, MA

Director, Strategic Research Development

A former neuroscience researcher, Liz has helped raise tens of millions of dollars from public and private funding entities to advance health equity and social justice initiatives, and received several awards and distinctions both for her scientific work as well as her commitment to philanthropy. Liz provides individualized grantsmanship advice, coaching, and assistance to all tiers of trainees and faculty in CV Med.


Brandi Stephens, PhD

Research Development Specialist

Dr. Brandi Stephens is a cardiovascular physiologist by training with expertise in diversity and health equity research.  She combines her love for science and passion for grant writing to lead CV Med fellows, postdoctoral scholars, and junior faculty in submitting competitive fellowships and career development awards. Roles include identifying funding opportunities, meeting 1:1 to navigate the grant writing process, and providing critical feedback.


Jennifer Nguyen

Grants Specialist

Jennifer joined CV Med’s Strategic Research Development Team to manage the submission of grant applications and post-award progress reports. She also leads pre-award budgeting and facilitates other supports. Jenn is an accomplished research administrator completing her MS in Health Care Administration at Cal State East Bay.