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.
This collection of successful proposals serves as a reference for UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the process of applying for funding for research or advanced study. It can be accessed with a valid ONYEN.Note about the Successful Proposals Collection
The Successful Proposals Collection is maintained by the Graduate Funding Information Center and the Graduate School. These proposals have been voluntarily provided by your fellow Carolina community members as reference materials. Reusing them, in part or in whole, may constitute academic dishonesty and/or intellectual property violations.
To submit one of your successful proposals to the collection, please contact GFIC by emailing email@example.com.
The following offices provide help and training to students, staff, and postdocs on writing proposals.General Resources
- The CFE assists faculty with professional development in teaching, research and leadership. See their research page for services.
- UNC’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations and Talent Management exists to foster successful collaborations between the University and external corporations and foundations. They can help connect researchers with interested organizations.
- The Office of Research and Development provides funding guidance for faculty and staff, and it manages the university’s process for faculty-level limited submission awards and grants. Contact them for assistance developing individual or collaborative proposals, or to have someone review your proposal.
- The Office of Sponsored Research supports faculty and staff with all administration aspects of externally funded research, particularly related to regulation and compliance. OSR is responsible for final acceptance of contracts from government, for-profit and non-profit sponsors, and for negotiation of awards.
- UNC’s Writing Center can review proposals or applications and assist with the writing process. Contact them to schedule an appointment to review your writing.
Department Specific Resources
Carolina Population Center
- The Carolina Population Center provides guidance for researchers in population studies. Faculty, post-docs, and predoctoral students interested in working with the center should review their Proposal & Project Services page.
- The Graduate School periodically provides workshops and training on applying for funding through the Graduate School Professional Development Program. Check the Professional Development events page for upcoming training.
- The Health Sciences Library occasionally holds workshops on applying for grants. Check their class registration page for upcoming workshops.
- Provides technical and administrative assistance to researchers developing injury grant proposals. Also offers technical and administrative support for student projects and papers, matching student interests with faculty research projects, and assisting in securing fellowship support.
- Collaborates with science researchers to plan and develop science outreach programs that fulfill granting agencies’ requirements for broad impact or public engagement.
- The Gillings School of Public Health helps faculty members develop grant proposals and informs them of grant and fellowship opportunities. They offer proposal editing for faculty, staff and students. Visit their Guide to Research page for more information.
- Activities include help with specific research grant applications and coordination of grant application submission.
- Provides research consultation and grant development and preparation to those in pre- or post-funding stages who do not have access to external support for such services.
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
- Grant Proposal Guidelines (UNC Writing Center) – UNC Chapel Hill’s Writing Center has prepared a detailed handout on writing grant proposals in all academic disciplines.
- Proposal Writing Short Course – A brief course on writing proposals for non-profits from the Foundation Center.
- The Academic Scientists’ Toolkit – Advice for getting funded from Science Magazine’s “Next Wave.”
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
- Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal – Compiled by Dr. Joseph Levine for Michigan State University.
- Proposal Writer’s Guide – Guidelines for faculty compiled by Don Thackrey for Michigan State University.
- Grant Writing Tips from the NC Biotechnology Center – Advice from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center on preparing proposals for Center grants and other funding agencies.
- Proposal Budgeting Basics – An online course from the Foundation Center
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.
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
- 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. (eBook) [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. (Print) [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]
- 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]
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.
Guides for preparing and writing National Institutes of Health grants in particular.NIH Resources
- Grant Writing Tips Sheets
- NIH Grant Tutorials from the National Library of Medicine
- Sample Applications and More from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
- Advice on Research Training and Career Awards (predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships)
- Preparing Grant Applications from the National Cancer Institute
- How to Write a Research Project Grant Application from the Office of Extramural Research
- Grant Application Resources from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Writing a Grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Types of Funding Opportunities from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- FAQ: Grant Application and Review Information from the National Library of Medicine
- Tips for New NIH Grant Applicants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences
- Grant Writing from the NIH Clinical Center
- Grant Writing Tutorial from The Research Assistant: Resources for Behavioral Science Researchers
NIH Short Forms Resources
- Enhancing Peer Review at NIH – Shortened/Restructured Applications
- In-Depth Guide to Application Changes (ppt)
- Table of Page Limits
- Related Policy Announcements
- Training & Communication Resources
- Video – What Applicants Need to Know
- Reissued Parent Announcements
Applying for an NRSA Grant
- Funding Your Research: How to Apply for an NRSA.Presentation by Laura Stark Malisheski, Ph.D, courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania.
- How to Win an NIH/NRSA/Kirschstein/F30-F31 Predoctoral Fellowship Workshop given by James M. Slauch, courtesy of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Guides for preparing and writing NSF grants in particular.NSF General Resources
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Resources
NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants (DDIG) Workshops
- PowerPoint presentation presented to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students.
- Written by Dr. William Hahn, former Director of NSF-GRF.
- 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.
- Large collection of complete successful NSF-GRF proposals in the environmental sciences.
- Compiled by Rachel C. Smith
General Federal proposal writing resources.
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: