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Better, Stronger Grant Proposals

Tips, Strategies and Ideas For writing better proposals (and getting funded)

A Better Overview Section

The “Specific Aims” page in an NIH proposal (like most abstract, summary, and overview sections required of the proposal writer) can offer the chance to capture reviewers’ interest and, if crafted well, set up a positive review of the full proposal. This article offers valuable tips and guidance on strengthening this vital piece of a successful proposal. Click here for a pdf of 3 good samples of successful “Specific Aims” pages.

The Real Impact of Seeking Review and Feedback on your Proposal

The strongest proposals have been reviewed (and often reviewed again) by mentors, peers and other professionals (like OSP offices!). Consider the review period (at least 2 weeks, but ideally 3 to 6) as a critical phase of your proposal development timeline. Plan to have a substantive draft completed weeks in advance of the deadline to, at a minimum, allow a trusted colleague or two (and your OSP office!) time to review and provide you with feedback. This article, written by a board member of a grant-making foundation, gives some valuable insights from the grant proposal reviewer’s perspective on several aspects of a successful proposal, including why seeking review of your draft proposal is such an important step, and how obvious it can be when it’s been skipped.

Program Evaluation: using logic models to effectively describe what your program will deliver and why

You have an idea, perhaps a brilliant idea, that has the potential to resolve a major challenge facing your University. Unfortunately, no matter how transformative your concept might be, if your grant proposal doesn’t clearly and concisely describe and substantiate how and why “x”program will deliver “y” results, reviewers might not be entirely convinced to recommend your proposal for funding. The following articles released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences give brief but informative descriptions of the essential components of effective logic models and how they can provide a useful framework for program planning and the development of a compelling narrative description. Click here for Guide 1 and here for Guide 2.