Once you’ve decided to pursue a funding opportunity, use the following resources to guide you through writing your application or proposal. Top recommended resources are highlighted below.

Audience:
 
 
 
Disciplinary Area:
 
 
 
 

Grant Writing Helps

Audience: Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Scholar, Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary Area: Arts and Humanities, Health and Medical Sciences, Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

List of articles and webpages that offer suggestions for students and faculty in all stages of their grant writing. The links cover writing for the humanities and sciences from personal statements and proposal planning to institutional requirements and budgeting.

List of Resources

General Writing Resources

For Graduate Students

  • Grant Writing Tips for Graduate Students – This brief article from the Chronicle of Higher Education lists general best practices for students applying for funding based on interviews with successful (and unsuccessful) applicants for funding from the National Science Foundation.
  • Personal Statements and Essays (WPI) – Tips and resources for graduate students on writing personal statements, compiled by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
  • How to Ask for a Recommendation – An article from the Chronicle of Higher Education addressing how to approach faculty for recommendation letters, and how to provide them with the information they need to craft a stellar reference for you.

For Postdocs and Faculty

Organization Specific Helps

  • On the Art of Writing Proposals (SSRC) – On the Art of Writing Proposals is the Social Sciences Research Council’s classic publication on writing successful proposals in the social sciences. This brief document is especially useful for researchers applying for SSRC competitions, and it is frequently recommended for social science research in general.
  • Tips on Writing a Grant Proposal (EPA) – The Environmental Protection Agency’s general tips on writing competitive grant proposals.
  • Art of Grantsmanship (HSFP) – The Human Frontier Science Program website features a free copy of The Art of Grantsmanship, by Jack Kraicer, former Director of Research Grants at HFSP. This document provides detailed advice on preparing peer-reviewed grant applications from the moment of conception to submitting the final proposal. Although based on research in health and medical sciences, advice may be applied to competitive grant writing in any field.
  • Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions – Written by Christina M. Gillis
  • Developing Competitive SAMHSA Grant Applications – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes a free guide to applying for federal grants for programs supporting substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment, and mental health services.

Print & eBook Proposal Writing Resources

Audience: Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Scholar, Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary Area: Arts and Humanities, Health and Medical Sciences, Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

Recommended guides to proposal writing and development for faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students. Most guides are available through the UNC library system.

List of Resources

Selected Titles

  • Getting the Grant: How Educators Can Write Winning Proposals and Manage Successful Projects. Rebecca Gadja and Richard Tulikangas. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005. (Full Text) [UNC library catalog] – This book, written for social services practitioners, educators, and college faculty, includes advice for applying for and administering funding.
  • Grant Application Writer’s Handbook. Liane Reif-Lehrer. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2005. (eBook) [UNC library catalog]
  • Grant Seeker’s Budget Toolkit. James Aaron Quick and Cheryl Carter New. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001. (Full Text)
  • Proposal Planning and Writing. Jeremy T. Miner and Lynn E. Mine. 5th ed. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Press, 2013. (Full Text) [UNC library catalog]

Additional Print and Electronic Resources

  • From Idea to Funded Project: Grant Proposals for the Digital Age. Julia M. Jacobsen. 5th ed.Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2008. [UNC library catalog]
  • Foundation Center’s Guide to Proposal Writing, The. Jane C. Geever. 5th ed. New York: Foundation Center, 2007. [UNC library catalog]
  • Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals. Susan Howlett. 4th ed. Portland, OR: Continuing Education Press, Portland State University, 2003. [UNC library catalog]
  • Grant Writer’s Handbook: How to Write a Research Proposal and Succeed, The. Gerard M. Crawley and Eoin O’Sullivan. London: Imperial College Press, 2016. (eBook) [UNC library catalog]
  • Grant Writing for Dummies. Beverly A. Browning. 5th ed. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, 2014. (eBook) [UNC library catalog]
  • Grant Writing in Higher Education: A Step-by-Step Guide. Kenneth T. Henson. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, 2004. [UNC library catalog]
  • Grant Seeking in Higher Education: Strategies and Tools for College Faculty. Mary M. Licklider. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2012. (eBook) [UNC library catalog]
  • Guide to Effective Grant Writing: How to Write a Successful NIH Grant Application. Otto O. Yang. New York; London: Springer, 2012. (eBook) [UNC library catalog]
  • “How To” Grants Manual, The. David G. Bauer. 7th ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield in partnership with the American Council on Education, 2011. (eBook) [UNC library catalog]
  • How to Prepare a Research Proposal. David R. Krathwohl. 3rd ed. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1988. [UNC library catalog]
  • Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need, The. Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox. New York: Basic Books, 2014. (Full Text – 2009 edition) [UNC library catalog]
  • Preparing a Research Grant Application to the National Institutes of Health. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, 1993. (Full Text) [UNC library catalog]
  • Program Planning and Proposal Writing. Norton J. Kiritz. Los Angeles, CA: The Grantsmanship Center, 1980. [order updated edition] [UNC library catalog]
  • Proposals that Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals. Lawrence F. Locke, Waneen Wyrick Spirduso, and Stephen J. Silverman. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE, 2014. [UNC library catalog]
  • Research Projects and Research Proposals: A Guide for Scientists Seeking Funding. Paul G. Chapin. Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. [UNC library catalog]
  • Scholarly Pursuits: A Guide to Professional Development During the Graduate School Years. Cynthia Verba. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Office of Student Affairs, 2013. (PDF) [Website]
  • Successful Grant Proposals in Science, Technology, and Medicine: A Guide to Writing the Narrative. Sandra Oster and Paul Cordo. Cambridge; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2015. [UNC library catalog]
  • Total Proposal Building. Richard Steiner. 2nd ed. Albany, NY: Trestletree Publications, 1988. [UNC library catalog]
  • Winning Strategies for Developing Grant Proposals. Beverly A. Browning. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Thompson Publishing Group, 2006. [UNC library catalog]
  • Writing the NIH Grant Proposal: A Step-By-Step Guide. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc, 2011. [UNC library catalog]

Recommended Workbooks

  • The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook: National Institutes of Health Version. Stephen W. Russell and David C. Morrison. Buellton, CA: Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops, LLC, 2015. [order] [UNC library catalog]
  • The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook: National Science Foundation FastLane Version. Stephen W. Russell and David C. Morrison. Buellton, CA: Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops, LLC, 2015. [order] [UNC library catalog]
  • The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook: Successful Proposals to Any Agency. Stephen W. Russell and David C. Morrison. Los Olivos, CA: Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops, LLC. [order] [UNC library catalog]

Scholarly Pursuits: A Guide to Professional Development During the Graduate Years (Harvard)

Audience: Graduate Student
Disciplinary Area: Arts and Humanities, Health and Medical Sciences, Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

An online publication by Harvard University, Scholarly Pursuits offers advice on all aspects of professional development for graduate students considering an academic career and for students who want to enhance their PhD career opportunities more generally. It includes samples of winning fellowship proposals, exemplary CVs, and successful cover letters for job applications.

Go to Scholarly Pursuits

Writing Proposals for the NIH

Audience: Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Scholar, Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary Area: Health and Medical Sciences

Guides for preparing and writing National Institutes of Health grants in particular.

NIH Resources

NIH Short Forms Resources

Applying for an NRSA Grant

Writing Proposals for the NSF

Audience: Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Scholar, Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary Area: Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

Guides for preparing and writing NSF grants in particular.

NSF General Resources
  • Grant Proposal Guide
    • from the National Science Foundation (NSF 11-1, effective January 2011)
    • detailed guide to the rules, policies, and procedures for NSF grants
  • Guide for Proposal Writing
    • from the National Science Foundation
    • advice for proposal writers on the process of applying for an NSF grants


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Resources

NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants (DDIG) Workshops

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

  • PowerPoint presentation presented to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students.
  • Written by Dr. William Hahn, former Director of NSF-GRF.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Essay Insights

  • Tips for crafting the personal statement, previous research experience statement, proposed plan of research statement, and more.
  • Compiled by Dr. Robin Walker and the University of Missouri.

Sample Applications from (Mostly) Berkeley Grad Students on NSFs

  • Large collection of complete successful NSF-GRF proposals in the environmental sciences.
  • Compiled by Rachel C. Smith

Writing Proposals for the Federal Government

Audience: Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary Area: Arts and Humanities, Health and Medical Sciences, Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

General Federal proposal writing resources.

External Proposal Writing Training

Audience: Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Scholar, Faculty and Staff
Disciplinary Area: Arts and Humanities, Health and Medical Sciences, Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

External proposal writing training for faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.

Here are some external organizations that provide proposal writing training, usually for a fee: