Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a some Frequently Asked Questions, concerning OREF grant applications. We also have a few Tips on writing on OREF grant.

Q: Does the grant submission deadline of Thursday, September 12, 2013 mean post-marked by or received by OREF? Is your deadline firm? 

A: Your complete application must be received in the OREF office by 4:30 p.m. on September 12, this is the DUE date, not the postmark date. Under some circumstances, an extension may be given. If you have a concern, please call our office before September 12 to discuss your individual situation.

Q: Which NIH funding received by principal investigators excludes an applicant from receiving OREF funding and why?

A: A candidate who has received an NIH R01 grant or its equivalent cannot receive OREF funding. OREF’s objective is to provide funding for new investigators. An investigator who has received an NIH training grant is considered a new investigator for OREF’s purposes and eligible to apply.

Q: Can a resident be a Co-PI on a research grant?

A: A resident cannot be a PI or Co-PI on a research grant. A resident may apply in the resident category or be an “other” investigator on a research grant application.

Q: Why does OREF require that an orthopaedic surgeon be the PI or Co-PI on a grant? Can a PhD or DVM be the PI on an OREF grant?

A: OREF was founded by orthopaedic surgeons to build a scientific base for all of orthopaedics, and advance patient care and outcomes. OREF also wants to encourage orthopaedic surgeons to do research. PhD’s or DVM's may serve as the principal or co-principal investigator, provided they are affiliated with an orthopaedic department and working with an orthopaedic surgeon who is the co-principal investigator. A letter from the department chairman confirming this affiliation is required.

Q: If OREF will fund only one project per institution each year in each category, should only one investigator from an institution apply?

A: Several investigators from one institution may apply for OREF funding in any given year. We limit funding to any one institution to one grant per grant category per year, in order to be fair to all.

Q: If an investigator at my institution has a current OREF grant, can I still apply?

A: Having a current OREF grant at your institution does not limit your eligibility to apply for funding.

Q: Can I resubmit my proposal to OREF?

A: A proposal may be resubmitted twice. We recommend that you review your critiques and address the proposal’s weaknesses if you decide to resubmit.

When resubmitting an application, one additional page should be included as an introduction, indicating how the previous critique(s) has (have) been addressed. See instructions for specific details.

Q: Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply for an OREF grant?

A: U.S. citizenship is not a requirement, but, in some cases, investigators at Canadian institutions are eligible to apply. Check eligibility instructions for each grant.

Q: If I know that I will be conducting my research at a new institution at the time I submit my application, which institution should I list on the application?

A: You should list the institution where you will conduct the research. You should attach a letter from your supervisor at the new institution confirming this.

Q: Is the abstract length limited to 100 words? 

A: This is somewhat flexible, but it is best to state your goals succinctly to respect the reviewer's time and to exercise precision and economy of expression, a valuable skill for any scientist.

Q: For a multi-year grant, can my budget exceed the stated "per year" amount? 

A: No. Your budget is strictly limited to the annual amounts stated in the program description.

Q: Can I include overhead costs charged by my institution as part of my OREF grant application? 

A: Sorry. OREF does not allow costs for overhead to be included in the budget for your application.

Q: If my project requires more funding than OREF provides, how should I show this in my application? 

A: You should limit the amount requested on your application to the stated amount allowed. In your budget justification, you should include a description of the source of any additional funding that you might receive to complete your project.

Q: Do I need to list all investigators/technicians who will be working with me on my research project? 

A: All key personnel who are essential for your project must be listed on your application. Additionally, you should include one or two sentences in your budget justification to describe the role of each person working on the project.

Q: Do I have to provide information on "Other Support" for anyone besides the PI and Co-PI?

A: Yes. All investigators listed in the application must disclose other grant support received or pending at the time the application is submitted.

Q: Is there a minimum amount of time that a Principal Investigator should allocate to his project?

A: OREF has no minimum requirement, but a Principal Investigator generally will expend at least 10% of his or her time on a successful project.

Q: If I don’t have final IRB or IACUC approval for use of human subjects or animals in my research, what should I do? 

A: Submit your application by the September 12 deadline and indicate that approval is pending. Submit evidence of final approval to OREF upon notification by your institution.

Q: For Career and Resident Grant applications, should my letters of support be attached to my application?

A: Letters of support for Career and Resident applications should be attached to the original application. If you do not have all your letters, send your application to OREF by the deadline, and include a cover letter stating that the letters of support are forthcoming. The letters of support must be received within 10 days.

Q: Where should letters of support be sent?

A: For the New Investigator Grant, references must be sent directly to OREF, either by mail or email to Mary Marino, for receipt by September 12..

Q: How are reviewers selected? The subject of my proposal is very specific. Can I suggest an appropriate reviewer for my application?

A: The Research Grants Committee determines the appropriate reviewer for each application. You can include a cover letter with a suggestion, but your suggestion may not be followed.

Q: Is type size critical? 

A: As much as possible, you should follow the application instructions regarding type size. The reviewer is not reading for pleasure, so you should make it as easy as possible. Your original application should be one-sided. Do not staple or bind your application. 

Q: Are page limits strictly enforced? 

A: We are somewhat flexible in page lengths, but please consider the reviewers’ time.

Q: Are page numbers important?

A: Yes. Page numbers are very useful to the reviewers. 

Q: Can I submit supplemental information after the deadline?

A: Only if the information substantially improves your proposal should you add to your original application. You must call OREF to notify us, and the information must be in our office within 10 days of the dealine. 

Q: When will I be notified as to whether or not my proposal will receive funding?

A: Recommendations of the Peer Review Committees will be discussed at our Research Grants Committee meeting in December. Grant applicants receive notification between February-March.

Q: If I receive funding, when will it begin?

A: Grants follow the academic calendar in most instances. September 12 submissions are reviewed in the fall and the amount of funding available is finalized in January. Applicants are notified between February-March and funding begins on July 1.


1. Draft, redraft and review your proposal. Review it as if you were the reviewer; put in writing your assessment of the proposal's strengths and weaknesses. Proofread carefully to eliminate typographical errors, misspellings, missing words and cut-and-paste errors. 

2. Don’t be overly ambitious.

3. Take seriously the use of human or animal subjects.

4. Start early. Many institutions have a requirement that the office of grants and contracts review your proposal.

5. Make sure you have a person identified for each task in your proposal. Relate the percent of effort for each key person to the tasks each will perform.

6. Avoid using well-known, experienced investigators who have no specific role in your project.

7. Formulate a realistic budget, neither too low nor too high.

8. If you need help, visit the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Mentoring Program web page. OREF and ORS are both committed to encouraging the mentoring of young scientists.




"Funding by OREF has allowed me to carry out a large study to first develop, and then to validate diagnostic tests for prosthetic joint infection. Diagnosing infection in prosthetic knees and hips is difficult because the problems we normally ascribe to infection, such as fever, are absent, and the tests used to diagnose infected prosthetic joints, as they exist, are inaccurate. We believe this is because the infection usually occurs right at the surface of the prosthesis, so we are developing new tests that can detect organisms at the surface."

Robin Patel, M.D.
2003 Recipient
Prospective Clinical Research Grant

For more information please contact:

Kenya D. McRae, JD, PhD
Vice President of Grants
(847) 384-4348

Mary Marino
Grants Manager
(847) 384-4359