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Demystifying DoD Funding Event Offers Insight, Advice


NCBiotech’s Bio Defense program held its first Grantsmanship Training event April 15, focused on pursuing funding from the Department of Defense (DoD). 

The half day event, Demystifying the DoD Funding Process, provided insights into how the DoD works, how to best engage DoD personnel and how to pursue DoD funding opportunities.

The keynote speaker for the day was Julie Lucas, Ph.D., principal scientist with MRIGlobal, a private non-profit research organization that regularly works on DoD contracts. Lucas offered an overview of the DoD funding process as well as offering tips and strategies to be successful. Some key elements that will be important to keep in mind if pursuing DoD funding:

Focus - first on military need, second on technical basis

  • The DoD cares more about the fact that something works than about how or why it works
  • Emphasize military utility up front in your proposal, then address the technical pieces
  • The DoD sometimes will take a higher risk with questionable science, whereas NIH is more likely to support incremental, plausible scientific progress

Accountability is key

  • The DoD makes you stay on track; it will require more reports than NIH and other agencies -- quarterly or sometimes monthly reports along with annual in-person reviews 
  • The upside of this is that the DoD gets to know you better since you have more frequent contact including in-person meetings. This more proactive engagement can build trust and credibility, which can lead to additional future funding

Project management is very important

  • If this is not done well, it can derail your technical success. The DoD needs to see that you can run the operation properly and deliver on time, within budget

Understanding the DoD’s process is important to finding success.

If you’d like to see our keynote speaker presentation, you can access it from our event webpage. Access the agenda and click on the presentation title.

Stay tuned for more informative events sponsored by NCBiotech’s Bio Defense Initiative.

Questions? Send me an email at  

My next blog post will focus on the Heilmeier Catechism. It might not look familiar but it's a driving principle considered foundational to DoD funding.

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