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Grant writing tips

Writing a proposal can be a daunting and difficult task. The below references and resources provide assistance for writing the proposal narrative and meeting submission requirements for outreach, education, diversity and evaluation.

Guide for Proposal Writing

This guide from the National Science Foundation provides insight into the proposal review process at NSF as well as information about preparing a proposal using NSF-specific directions. The section called Advice to Proposal Writers contains information of a more general nature, including tips to make proposals more competitive. Note that this guide was written by the Directorate of Education, so the Intellectual Merit information is education-oriented rather than technology/science-focused.

EPA Tips on Writing a Grant Proposal

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers some excellent general information on writing a grant proposal and submitting to EPA.

Grant Writing Tips Sheets

The National Institutes of Health provides numerous resources to assist grant proposal writers. This web page provides links to many of those resources. General resources include an explanation of the NIH Funding Mechanisms and descriptions of the review process. In addition, many of the individual Institutes provide tips for applying the their Institute for funding.

The Art of Writing Proposals: Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Research Council Competitions

The Social Science Research Council has produced a succinct guide to writing a successful proposal. While the examples are from the Social Sciences, the information is generalizable.

Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal

Several institutions of higher education offer useful guides to proposal writing. This particular site, authored by S. Joseph Levine at Michigan State University, has an interesting presentation of proposal sections, each of which is followed by writing tips and proposal examples to illustrate various points. A particular virtue is that the author is open to suggestions for additions and/or corrections and he updates the Guide several times a year.

Grant Writing for Success (pdf)

This excellent PDF is a Grantsmanship 101 class written within the context of NIH, NIMH, and NIDA. It also includes a good presentation of the member institute websites and a short presentation on the Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP) system.

NSF (National Science Foundation)

National Science Foundation Grant Proposal Guide (HTML version)

Russell, S.W. and Morrison, D.C. 2016. The Grant Application Writer's Workbook, National Science Foundation — FastLane Version. Grant Writers' Seminars and Workshops.

NIH (National Institutes of Health) 

Grant Writing Tip Sheets
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
NIH Application Guide
Grant Writing for Success (pdf)
NIH Frequently Asked Questions
Russell, S.W. and Morrison, D.C. 2016. The Grant Application Writer's Workbook, National Institutes of Health Version. Grant Writers' Seminars and Workshops.
Karin Rodland and Principal Investigators Association. 2010. Executive Report: National Institutes of Health Short Form Application (pdf). (Note: This report is a little dated, but it contains some good information on the strategy of applying to NIH.)

Social Sciences



USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

NIFA Grants.Gov Application Guide (pdf)
Grant Training 
Atkisson, M.S., Russell, S.W. and Morrison, D.C. 2016. The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook — USDA/NIFA Version. Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops.