Proposal Writing Resources

Writing Successful Grant Applications

Training and Workshops

  • Writing a Better Grant Proposal is a workshop for anyone new to grant writing or for those who feel they could benefit from a refresher on ways to improve their grant writing.  This workshop focuses on basic approaches to grant writing including how to identify a fundable project idea, how to start developing the proposal with the reviewer in mind, and keys to good proposal writing.
  • Finding Funding for Research is a workshop for anyone who would like to learn about resources available to Georgia State faculty, staff, and students to find funding for their research projects.  This workshop will cover funding available internally at GSU, access to our internal funding email, and how to register for and use PIVOT by Proquest to customizable database funding searches.
  • Building Proposal Budgets: Basic and Advanced workshops will help anyone who needs to gain a better understanding about how to put together a proposal budget. The Basics workshop is available as an online module in the Research Portal, or in iCollege. The in-class training includes activities that allow you to develop parts of a proposal budget. Anyone who wishes to take the in-class workshop, must first take the online module in iCollege. To register for both the online module in iCollege and the in-class workshop contact Candice Ferguson. Research Administrators who take the online and in-class sections will be given credit towards the new Research Administrators Certificate.

Register for the next workshop

Common Proposal Components

Funding announcements typically require that proposals contain information commonly sectioned into areas that define the scope and purpose of the project, its costs, the ability and expertise of the investigative team, and the capacity of the institution to support the project.

Common components include:

  1. Face Page summarizes essential information and indicates GSU endorsement of the project.
  2. Abstract concisely summarizes the aims and procedures of the project, usually in no more than one page.
  3. Narrative or Summary is a brief (often only one paragraph) summary of the project usually written in language accessible to individuals without advanced scientific knowledge.
  4. Research Plan often requiring:
    -Introduction is a brief description of what the proposal will address, its significance and the beneficiary; outlines the proposal’s purpose, goals, and objectives; Summarizes the proposed activities; and briefly describes the organization and the PI’s qualifications to lead the proposed project
    -Goals and Objectives addresses questions such as "What are the proposed activities, i.e. the best way, most cost efficient, effective, most equitable solution, to this problem or issue?", "What other potential solutions have been considered?", "Why were those ideas rejected?", "What will result from those activities?", and "What is the proposed time line of the project?"
    -Procedures and Methods describes the practical approach to be used in the proposal, usually in a systematic, step-by-step manner, including the techniques or methods to be used.
  5. Budget estimates costs for the entire performance period. Should be detailed per budget category (if required by sponsor). Subawards/contracts should have separate, detailed budgets.
  6. Budget Justification provides a summary explanation of all costs associated with the budget and how those costs are necessary for the project. Exactly matches amounts detailed in the Budget.
  7. Key Personnel and biosketches: Participants on a project who contribute in a substantive, measurable way to the scientific development or execution of a project, whether or not a salary is involved (co-investigators, other significant contributors, senior personnel, etc). Biosketches should be included for PI/PD (and any and all key people) including employment history, relevant publications, and ongoing and completed research support.
  8. Current and Pending Support lists all other projects for key personnel (PI, co-I, others identified as key) requiring a portion of the investigator’s time. Include:
    –Project title
    –Sponsor
    –Period of performance
    –Percentage of effort
    –Amount of award (or amount requested)
  9. žReferences/Bibliographies provide citations for any literature referenced in the proposal.
  10. Data Management Plan includes descriptions of items such as the data to be produced in the proposed study, any data standards used, mechanisms for providing access to and sharing of data (including provisions for protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights), provisions for data reuse and redistribution, and plans for archiving and long-term preservation of the data, as appropriate.
  11. Letters of Support indicating support usually from unpaid significant contributors.
  12. Letters of Collaboration indicating third party institutional commitment to participation on the project.
  13. Assurances and Certifications are written, binding commitments an institution submits to a federal agency promising to comply with the regulations and stated procedures for achieving compliance.
    Some standard assurances include:
    –Certification regarding a drug-free workplace
    –Certification regarding lobbying
    –Delinquency on federal debt
    –Civil rights
    –Debarment and suspension


NIH grants process: A comprehensive listing with links to most aspects of the NIH granting process.

NIH Grant-writing tips sheets

Resources for new investigators

Center for scientific review: Resources, including videos, that gives an inside look at how scientists from across the country review NIH grant applications for scientific and technical merit.

All about grants: podcasts from NIH: A series of podcasts from the NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) provides insights on grant topics for investigators, fellows, students, research administrators, and others. Transcripts of the presentations also are available. new topics continue to be made available.

Sample NIH applications: NIAID provides all NIH applicants with access to a few funded NIH applications and notable examples of application sections which have comments added that can be used as models for new proposals.


NSF Annual Grants Conference Webcast: Annual conference providing up-to-date information about all aspects of pre- and post-award processes and resources for NSF proposal submission and award management. Conference sessions are videotaped and archived for viewing at your convenience.

NSF Grant Proposal Guide: Thorough instructions for NSF grant proposal preparation and submission.

NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide: Book of all policies and procedures related to NSF proposals and grants.

NSF Merit Review: A guide to understanding the NSF merit review process


Academic Scientists’ Toolkit

The Art of Grantsmanship by Jacob Kraicer

Developing and writing grant proposals: From the catalogue of federal domestic assistance

Where to Search for Funding: From the AAAS science centers

The Foundation Center provides a number of free and paid workshops on proposal writing.

The Grantsmanship Center provides resources for more in-depth grantsmanship training and funding sources information, typically for a fee.


Institutional data for grants and reports

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) provides general information and specific data about Georgia State, including enrollment, retention and graduation data, faculty composition data, and other useful information and data. The GSU Fact Book provides much of this information in one easy to access online manual. Data reports are also available in iPORT also provides access to a number of standard reports with these data. Data and information can be used freely without permission in grant proposals, presentations and for other purposes by Georgia State employees and students. To access these resources go to: http://oie.gsu.edu.