Medical school opens a new office to help faculty with grant applications

The Stanford Research Development Office is now open to assist in the preparation of grants for large multidisciplinary projects and to help early-career assistant professors write grants.

- By Kris Newby

Michael Helms

While applying for a research grant may sometimes feel like buying a lottery ticket, now faculty at the School of Medicine can improve their odds by taking advantage of resources provided by the new Stanford Research Development Office.

The office’s director, Michael Helms, PhD, MBA, is eager to assist faculty researchers with a variety of grant-related tasks. Services provided include identifying funding opportunities, fostering collaborative work, editing proposals, managing the assembly of large proposals and interfacing with sponsors and university liaisons.

Initially, the office will focus its efforts in three areas:

  • Large multi-investigator, multidisciplinary grant applications that support School of Medicine centers and programs.
  • Multi-investigator grants focused on the school’s priority initiatives, such as precision medicine and big data.
  • Grants for early-career assistant professors who are writing proposals for their first independent research projects.

Over time, Helms hopes to add training programs on grant writing for National Institutes of Health R01 and career development awards, team building and faculty development. These resources are funded through the office of the senior associate dean for research.

Helms previously worked in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, where he helped the department move from No. 16 in 2009 to No. 2 in 2013, as measured by the amount of NIH funding it received over the given year compared to other anesthesiology departments nationwide. (In 2014, the department’s ranking stood at No. 4.)

He has also been a principal investigator on his own NIH small-business grant and has served as an ad hoc member of an NIH study review section.

Helms said he feels his marketing experience has made a difference in the past proposals that he’s worked on. “I put on my MBA hat and help investigators present their ideas in the best possible light,” he said. “My goal is to get grant reviewers excited about our research proposals.”

To begin the grant application process, contact Helms at or 723-4526, or Sandra Holden, PhD, grant development officer, at or 724-5345

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

2023 ISSUE 3

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