How to Start Your Don Pedersen Research Grant Application 

Since 2001, the Don Pedersen Research Grants Program has funded 69 proposals that have sought to advance PA education and workforce development. The grant seeks to develop early-career faculty and encourage them to pursue academic research. In that vein, three PA researchers have shared their insights and experiences in research to help their colleagues with their applications. 

Start Early and Start Small 

Gerald Kayingo, PhD, MBA, PA-C, recommends that applicants conduct a literature review to identify a gap in research and seek feedback on the technical aspects of the grant and the writing style. Ultimately, Dr. Kayingo asserts that clarity of purpose is essential to grant reviewers, making it important to focus your research question and develop a testable hypothesis. 

“I often use the PICO framework (Population, Intervention, Control, and Outcomes) in framing my research questions. I have also found it helpful to start my grant applications with a logic model. This allows me to focus my ideas on the key inputs and outputs for the grant.”  

Dr. Kayingo also advises researchers to build the right team and be aware of your study’s pitfalls. For example, in an empirical study, he would recommend that a researcher collaborate with a statistician early on as they are building the study’s methodology. Dr. Kayingo highlights the many challenges associated with conducting surveys. “Be aware of the survey fatigue in your study population and the challenges of low response rates.” 

Finding Collaborators 

As Dr. Kayingo stated, it is important to gather feedback on your grant proposal. Finding mentors and co-investigators can feel difficult for new researchers. However, Tamara Ritsema, PhD, MPH, PA-C/R, assures her colleagues that there are potential collaborators all around you and that it is important to expand your search outside of your own department. 

“Faculty on your campus in departments of education, psychology, public health, or other health professions may be willing to work with you, especially if you are willing to start as the junior partner.”  

Dr. Ritsema also encourages PA faculty to look outside of profession. “Consider collaborating with private entities outside of academia and government to access high-quality data.” 

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail 

Dr. Kayingo assures his fellow faculty members that they have nothing to lose when they apply for a research grant. Even if your application is rejected, often the grant reviewers will provide feedback that will strengthen your future application. PAEA provides every applicant with feedback on their proposals.  

Mirela Bruza-Augatis, MS, PA-C, is a great example of the importance of feedback and mentorship in future success.   

“Do not be afraid if your first application is unsuccessful. Your attempt has not been in vain. First and foremost, you now have a mentor and friend who will guide and support you in your research career. Additionally, the research peer reviewers will be precious critics who will assist in improving your research the next time around. I used the feedback I received on my AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship application to create a successful Don Pedersen Research Grant application. So be courageous and try again!” 

If you are interested in applying for the Don Pedersen Research Grant, applications must be submitted through the PAEA Research online application platform no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 30, 2022. More information about the program, submission instructions, and formatting requirements can be found here. If you would like advice or mentorship on your proposal prior to submission, contact PAEA Research at  or 703-651-8540.