Proposal Preparation

The Office of Research Support has compiled the following list of proposal writing guides. Many of these guides are provided by sponsor agencies and others are geared specifically to help with a specific type (foundation) or discipline (environmental or social science) of proposal.

The Foundation Center: Proposal Writing Short Course This short, on-line course takes you through the steps:

  • Gathering Background Information
  • Components of a Proposal      
  • The Executive Summary      
  • The Statement of Need      
  • The Project Description      
  • The Budget      
  • Organizational Information      
  • Letter Proposal      
  • Conclusion

The Grantsmanship Center: Winning Grant Proposals Online The Grantsmanship Center's Library of Winning Grant Proposals consists entirely of recently funded, top-ranked grant proposals in a wide variety of subject areas. All the proposals in this continuously expanding collection have been selected by major government funders from among their highest-rated grant applications.

Human Frontier Science Program: The Art of Grantsmanship Writing a successful grant application is an art. Although the science is primarily being evaluated, presentation and respect for the requirements of the funding agency are key aspects that can make or break an application. In this article, Jack Kraicer, former Director of Research Grants at HFSP provides guidelines on preparing grant applications from the moment of conception to the submitting the final proposal.

James Madison University: Grant Writing Basics  The most universal advice from successful grants writers, review panelists, and program officers is to have a logical flow from the beginning to the end of a proposal. By presenting a project as a logical progression of thought and activity, the investigator is less likely to overlook important program components and can anticipate questions that a reviewer might ask.

Michigan State University: Academic Fundraising Web Resources This web site is intended as a starting point for those who are interested in learning more about foundations, fundraising, proposal writing, etc. from an academic (college or university) point of view.

National Science Foundation: A Guide for Proposal Writing  These suggestions for improving proposals were collected from a variety of sources, including NSF Program Directors, panel reviewers, and successful grantees. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Your One Page Guide to Rigor and Reproducibility

National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases: "Apply for a Grant" Some useful samples and examples that are part of the grant application from NIAID and NIH, including sample applications and summary statements, data sharing, and model organism sharing plans. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/apply-grant

Science Magazine Series: "How Not to Kill a Grant Proposal"

Part 1 Murder Most Foul: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2000/01/murder-most-foul-how-not-kill-grant-application

Part 2 Abstract Killers: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2000/01/abstract-killers-how-not-kill-grant-application-part-two

Part 3 So What?: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2000/02/so-what-how-not-kill-grant-application-part-three

Part 4 Lost at Sea: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2000/02/lost-sea-how-not-kill-grant-application-part-four

Part 5 The Facts of the Case Thusfar: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2000/05/how-not-kill-grant-application-part-five-facts-case-thus-far

Part 6 Developing Your Research Plan: http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2000/08/how-not-kill-grant-application-part-6-developing-your-research-plan

The Stephen F. Austin State University: Proposal Writing Tips Okay, you're ready to begin writing - where do you start?

Social Science Research Council: The Art of Writing Proposals Some candid suggestions to applicants to Social Science Research Council Competitions

University of Michigan: Proposal Writer's Guide This Guide is intended for faculty and staff members with little or no experience in writing proposals for sponsored activities.