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Grant Writing

Comprehensive information on how to write a grant

NIH grant programs

Extramural funding sources

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants, and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

Grants awarded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) fit within two general categories: research grants for individuals and science education grants for institutions. Most HHMI grants are awarded through competitions that have specific objectives and eligibility criteria; thus, HHMI does not encourage and rarely funds unsolicited grant proposals.

American Association for the Advancement of Science database on grants that are available in the sciences.

NIH Grant Writing Seminars

Grant writing seminars and workshops/courses are designed for research fellows, clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows (IRTAs), and visiting fellows (VFs) as well as tenure and tenure-track investigators.

Grant writing seminars consist of didactic sessions presented over a ½ to 2 day time-period and the intent of these seminars is to provide a broad overview on the grant writing process. The topics usually covered in such seminars include: fundamentals of good grant writing, general preparation of the grant application (i.e., specific aims, research design, budgets, analysis of reviews and strategies for rebuttal and re-application), roles and responsibilities of the Extramural Program Officer and of the Scientific Review Administrator, and an overview about the various available funding mechanisms (i.e. information about Career Development Awards (K and RO1) and the National Science Foundation Grant Awards).

The grant writing seminars at the NIH are offered through the Office of Extramural Research (OER) and the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE), as well as by individual institutes. The OITE maintains a website listing a full menu of career development resources for current trainees, including grant writing seminars, at  The NIH video-cast of Dr. Coelho’s (OER) 3-hour seminar conducted on 10/16/2006 for intramural scientists interested in applying for funding under the Genes and Environment Initiative is available at Handouts and videos of Dr. Coelho’s grant writing and scientific peer review seminar presented at Stanford University in 2004 can be accessed by selecting

Grant writing seminars that are offered by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) consist of ½ day sessions along with evaluation advice. For the NIHCD fellows the point of contact for information on and enrollment in this seminar is Ms. Brenda Hanning (e-mail:, phone: 301 451-7753). For NIAMS fellows the point of contact is Dr. Cerritelli (e-mail:, phone 301 402-6924). In addition, a grant writing seminar titled "Essentials of Grant Writing" is offered by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) to attendees of the Annual Meeting of American Association for Dental Research. Those individuals planning on attending future annual meetings are encouraged to contact Dr. Albert Avila by e-mail ( or phone (301 496-4263) for additional information.

NIH Grant Writing Workshops/Courses

Grant writing workshops/courses are geared towards providing assistance to prospective grant applicants in developing a competitive application step-by-step. The overall goal of such workshops is to enable each individual participant to write and submit the best application of which s/he is capable of.

Individual Institutes that offer grant writing workshops/courses are the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).


Offers a course that lasts for 8 to 10 weeks and enrolls 6 to 8 persons. It is taught by Drs. Jonathan Wiest and Carol Winkelman, and includes follow-up e-mail reviews to participants.


Offers a 8 week course with workshop in which attendees review each others’ grants and Dr. Herb Geller ( provides review comments that cover the general issues/themes that study sections address frequently.


Offers two courses (Grant-writing 101 and 102) that each consist of 90 minute sessions per week for 3 weeks and are taught by Dr. Lou Simchowitz


NIEHS offers a 1 week course each year that includes subsequent participant access to instructors during a period of 1 year, for assistance during the application submission process. Attendees are selected based on seniority and interest in academia. There are approximately 15 seats available per course and the point of contact for additional information is Diane Klotz at (919) 541.3344 or email:

In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Intramural Research Program Office of Fellowship Training sponsors an extensive workshop for fellows and investigators working at the NIMH, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). There are 100 seats available (50 seats for NIMH individuals and 50 seats for individuals from the remainder of the institutes), so early registration is suggested. This workshop is organized into three phases. Workshop Phase I is full day workshop that provides an overview of the entire process of drafting and submitting a grant proposal, Workshop Phase II focuses on the preparation of your Specific Aims page, Significance Paragraph and Biosketch with review, Workshop Phase III is a 10-12 week tutorial on the writing of an RO1 grant application using the PHS 398 application format. Individuals working at the above mentioned institutes interested in participating in this workshop should contact the Office of Fellowship Training at for further information.

Individuals not working at the above mentioned institutes are encouraged to contact their institute’s respective Scientific Director for further information on availability of grant writing seminars and workshops/courses offered through their institute.

Other useful links for grant-related information

The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts is the official publication for NIH medical and behavioral research grant policies, guidelines and funding opportunities.

The Office of Extramural Research (OER) home page that includes links to funding opportunities, applications and forms, awarded grants, and grants policy.

CCR Careers is a confidential, free service for any NIH or FDA fellow. An all-volunteer Editorial Board of fellows and other professionals edit fellows’ scientific documents - typically manuscripts and grant applications - for grammar, form, and clarity. The editors also review essential elements pertinent to the document, such as figures and figure legends, but do not consider scientific merit. Authors receive written feedback within 10 business days and may request meetings with editors.

HHMI Online Resource Center for scientists, educators, parents, and students. Resources include research summaries of HHMI scientists, opportunities for research training and professional development, online learning, and exciting interactive experiences for learning about science.

The Global Health Research Initiative Program for New Foreign Investigators (GRIP) promotes productive re-entry of NIH-trained foreign investigators into their home countries as part of a broader program to enhance the scientific research infrastructure in developing countries, to stimulate research on a wide variety of high priority health-related issues in these countries, and to advance NIH efforts to address health issues of global import.

Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty.

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This page last updated on 04/04/2019

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