Proposal Preparation Resources

Preparing Successful Grant Proposals

Training and Workshops

  • Finding Funding for Research provides participants with information about resources available to find funding for their research. Participants will gain hands-on instruction about how to use PIVOT, a global online funding database with more than 25,000 funding opportunities. Participants should bring a laptop or tablet to access PIVOT and build their own funding search as part of the workshop.
  • Register for the next workshop

  • Write a Winning Grant Proposal: Introduction is an hour and a half long in-class workshop for anyone new to grant writing or for those who have never taken an introductory grant-writing workshop and want to review the basic elements of good grant-writing.

    This workshop focuses on the key aspects of grant writing including:
    1. How to identify a fundable project idea;
    2. How to review the funding announcement for key information;
    3. How to write a proposal to impress the reviewers; and
    4. Keys to good (proposal) writing.

    Participants will gain an general understanding of how to approach writing a grant proposal, including the critical steps to assuring that they are submitting to a reasonable funding solicitation and addressing all of the required criteria in the funding solicitation.

  • Register for the next workshop

  • Improve Your Grant Writing: Learning From the Review Process will help investigators develop better grantsmanship skills through a better understanding of the peer review process. Participants will gain ‘insider’ knowledge of the peer review processes used for extramural research funding agencies in the U.S., including understanding the process and criteria used by various agencies. This understanding will help investigators become more strategic in their approaches to considering peer review when developing grant proposals.

    The grant-writing process is just one step in the process necessary to help strategically prepare investigators for a long-term successful research career. As the external federal funding landscape continues to become more competitive, it is important for investigators and scholars to consider multiple agencies to which they can submit grant proposals. So much of the grantsmanship process is dependent upon the review process and criteria for different agencies. These criteria represent the funders’ desired impact of the research or scholarship.

    The format for this workshop will include:
    1. An overview of the peer review processes at the major federal agencies and a sample of private foundations and state agencies, including an examination of proposal review criteria from various funding agencies;
    2. Discussion of practical tools to help faculty view the peer review process as a strategic tool to successfully obtain extramural research funding.
    3. Participation in a hands-on, small-group, mock peer review and a debriefing about the importance of understanding the peer review process and ‘writing to it’ in strategic proposal development.

    The insights gained will help investigators become increasingly competitive within the extramural funding landscape.

  • Register for the next workshop

  • Building Proposal Budgets: Basic and Advanced URSA offers an online training module and two workshops on how to build grant proposal budgets. The online module is available to anyone via URSA’s Research Education & Training webpage.

    The Basics workshop covers basic steps for estimating project costs for sponsored proposals, walks through the steps to calculate personnel costs and effort, where to put these and other costs in a proposal budget, how to estimate total project costs, and how to prepare a budget justification.

    The Advanced workshop targets those who understand the basics of building a proposal budget, but who wish to gain knowledge about budgeting for more complex circumstances and creating more complex proposal budgets. This workshop includes activities that allow you to walk through the nuances budget building that involve much more complex circumstances. Completion of Budgeting for Proposals: Basics or appropriate experience is required prior to taking this advanced in-class workshop.

    Completion of the Budgeting for Proposals: Basics online module in iCollege is required prior to taking either in-class workshop. You should receive an email from the the Assistant Director for Research Education & Training regarding your access the online module in iCollege after you complete your registration for the “Basics” workshop.

    These workshops are available for credit towards the Research Administrators Certificate. Contact Candice Ferguson for more details.

  • 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.

Educational planning for grants

The Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL) at Georgia State is available to provide GSU faculty with guidance on educational planning that may be required for some grant proposals, as long as the focus in on the education and training of Georgia State undergraduate or graduate students (not for K-12 or non-GSU students). Information, including descriptions of CETL resources, can be found on the CETL website under “Research Support”. Also, CETL staff may be included in a proposal budget to provide assistance in the implementation of the educational plan if the grant is awarded.

Contact the Director of CETL to discuss how CETL might be able to assist with undergraduate and graduate education and training that you wish to include in your grant proposal.