Agency Proposal Development Resources:
What makes a good proposal from the funding agency's perspective?
- "A Guide for Proposal Writing" - The National Science Foundation (NSF) Education Directorate developed this brochure to assist when submitting NSF proposals but the Guide is relevant to all NSF Directorates.
- All About Grants Podcasts - The Office of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently began offering podcasts of question and answer sessions to provide insights on grant topics from those who know best - NIH staff members. The podcasts are available as mp3 files and a new one is posted every other week. You may subscribe through iTunes or visit the NIH webpage to download the podcasts. Recent topics in this series were Scoring Your Applications, The Ins and Outs of a Study Section Meeting, Who Receives Your Grant Application and What Do They Do With It?, Using Plain Language for Application Titles, Jump Starting Your Research Program for New Investigators.
- All About Grants Tutorials - The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health, has put together this very helpful site offering insider insights into the NIH grants process.
- ACG Grant Writing Tutorial - The American College of Gastroenterology has a Grant Writing Tutorial consisting of an informative checklist as well as good suggestions written by two well-funded experts, Drs. Neena Abraham and David Rubin.
- "Art of Writing Proposals" - The Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) wrote this guide for its applicants but the publication captures the essence of addressing voluntary grant reviewers as the primary audience - valuable information for proposal writers in all fields.
- Checklist for New Investigators - This NIAID website helps insure that all proposal development steps are covered by the first time investigator.
- NIH Newsletter Articles for New Investigators - NIAID features special articles in their weekly newsletter, NIAID Funding News, targeted to new and early-stage investigators. Recent topics include "Gearing Up as New PI", "How to Pick a Project', "Application Approach: What Are Your Choices?", "A Long Hard Look at Application Timing" and "Your Application Takes Center Stage". These topics are appropriate for investigators submitting to any NIH institute or center, and most are helpful to investigators in any discipline.
- NIH New and Early Stage Investigator Policies - This website explains the National Institutes of Health distinctions between their two categories of "Young Investigator" status and provides information on grant mechanisms designed for new and/or early stage investigators.
- NIH Sample Applications - NIAID offers samples of successful grant applications and accompanying summary statements for review. Mechanisms represented: R01, R21, R21/R33.
- National Cancer Institute Quick Guide for Grant Applications - NCI released a step-by-step guide for use when developing a grant application for the National Institutes of Health. This guide takes investigators through the planning process and each major application section.
- Strategy for NIH Funding - This website takes you through specific strategies related to obtaining and maintaining research funding from the National Institutes of Health in a very clear format.
Peer Review Information:
Understanding your funding agency's peer review process is key to submitting a competitive application.
- NIH Center for Scientific Review - This website provides in-depth information on the NIH peer review process which serves as a standard for many agencies. Many process changes have been incorporated at NIH over the last year and this site provides a good overview.
- NIH Peer Review Notes - The NIH Center for Scientific Review publishes this newsletter to provide up-to-date information on peer review policies, procedures and their plans for the future of peer review at the National Institutes of Health.
- NIH Peer Review Video - Ever wonder what goes on at peer review meetings? NIH provides this video of a mock peer review session to answer your many questions. This is an excellent resource and it comes with sample applications and summary statements to help you understand the reasoning of peer reviewers.
- NIH Study Section Descriptions - Understanding the available study sections and viewing the membership rosters is very helpful when selecting the appropriate institute and study section for review of your application. NIH provides investigators with the opportunity to request that their application be assigned to particular institutes and/or study sections through the cover letter that accompanies the application.
- NSF Merit Review Process - The National Science Foundation provides an overview of their proposal review process. This publication includes a section on how to volunteer to become an NSF peer reviewer, outlining the benefits of that service to you as a new investigator.
- NSF Merit Review Process Report - The National Science Foundation details their Fiscal Year 2010 funding history and gives information on their standard peer review process in this informative publication.
Standard Proposal Instructions:
Many agencies have specific guidelines for proposal submission.
Three of the most frequently accessed are:
On-Line Submission Systems:
Many funding agencies, federal and private, now accept applications through various on-line submission systems. The most common ones are identified below.
- NSF FastLane - The National Science Foundation has designed an on-line system to support all functions of the proposal process - proposal submission, review, award and reporting. Known as FastLane, this is a very user-friendly system.
- Grants.gov - Grants.gov is the official grant announcement and proposal submission system for the federal government.
- NASA NSPIRES - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) utilizes this on-line system to announce NASA funding opportunities. In some instances, pre-proposals and/or full proposals are accepted via NSPIRES.
- NIH ERA Commons - ERA Commons is an investigator registration system that works in conjunction with Grants.gov to insure receipt of applications by the National Institutes of Health. ALL investigators must be registered in the Commons prior to submission of proposals to NIH and other Public Health Service agencies.
- Department of Justice Grant Management System (GMS) - GMS is used by various US Department of Justice agencies for proposal submission and reporting functions.
- ProposalCentral - ProposalCentral supports a variety of non-profit funding agencies in terms of proposal submission. Agencies that utilize this system include the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
[Note that these on-line submission systems require registration of individual users through the Office of Grants and Contracts]
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