I loved that the panel of pharma folks decided to do this session a little differently. They each took on a role as legal, education, or medical, for either Company A or Company B, then role-played how a grant review committee meeting for various cases could go. Interesting to see that what would be fine for one company could be a deal-breaker for another. And these people really got into their roles. Maybe it was the [literal] hats they put on to do it, or maybe they're just good actors, but it was a hoot as well as a good learning experience.
A few of the many interesting things that came out of it:
*Including names of faculty could work against your grant proposal, especially if the faculty is a member of the company's speaker's bureau and that company is operating under a CIA. It's better to include the type of faculty you intend to have, but not exactly who it would be.
* They really do read through those huge proposals, unless they hit a red flag early on that would make it impossible to fund the activity. But laying out every aspect in excruciating detail is not necessarily in your best interest, since it could give the appearance that you are looking for supporter approval of the content. Executive summaries, particularly in the form of a table, are a good thing.
* Include contingency plans on how you would reduce the scope of the activity if you don't get full funding, especially if you're looking for multiple commercial supporters for an activity.
And this, which bears repeating: Every company is different, and you will never find one magic formula that will satisfy everyone. I did walk away with the sense that they do feel your pain, and are doing their best to give every application a fair hearing.