Grant Writing Guides and References

Recommended Professional Writing Guides

The following writing guides, although not specific to grant-writing per se, offer practical advice and teach the necessary tools on how to write well, which hopefully will translate into your preparing a more competitive grant application.

Sponsor-Provided Writing Guides

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • A Guide for Proposal Writing: designed in particular for programs in the Division of Undergraduate Education at NSF, presents a compilation of practical advice for prospective applicants for NSF grants.
  • Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (Part I): includes sections on pre-submission information, proposal preparation instructions, the NSF review process, non-award decisions and transactions, and renewal proposals.
  • Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (Part II): focuses on award and administration guidelines, with chapters on practical issues related to the administration of NSF grants. Additionally, it also includes an introduction to NSF awards and conditions and sections on grant administration, financial requirements and payments, grantee standards, allowability of costs, misconduct, and other post award requirements and considerations.

Institute of Education Sciences (IES) (U.S. Department of Education)

  • Research Funding Opportunities Webinars: The Institute of Education Sciences was established within the U.S. Department of Education through the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002. This site provides powerpoints and transcripts from past IES presentations on grant writing and the application and review processes.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • NIH Grants Process Overview: detailed information on the NIH grants process, advice on how to effectively complete a grant application, and resources to help prospective applicants understand the review and award process.
  • NIH Clinical Center Guide to Grant Writing: a comprehensive page on grant writing that includes sections on types of NIH grants, funding, NIH grant-writing seminars and workshops, as well as other links for grant-related information.
  • Grant-writing “411”: Several of the NIH institutes put out writing guides and tip sheets that can be invaluable resources for both the novice and seasoned applicant.

Foundation Center

  • Proposal Writing Short Course: this free online course from the Foundation Center provides information on and advice for effective proposal writing.

European Research Council (ERC)

  • ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant: offering starting grants that are designed to support young investigators in establishing research teams and conducting independent research. This page provides an overview of ERC Starting Grants and what is required for a competitive application.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Organization

Additional help with Proposal Development

Carole Sargent, PhD, Director of the Office of Scholarly Publications, is available to help you write the research statement portion of the grant. She has trained for this work by interviewing grants officers at the NEH, NSF, and ACLS, and also earning a certificate from the journal Nature through its masterclasses. She will guide you to analyze examples from past grant winners, talk to selected winners and to grants officers when available and appropriate, and craft a grant description that satisfies all of the organization’s criteria.