Grant writing Resources

Grant Templates

Specific Aims template
Writing your NIH Specific Aims page can be tough.  How do I get started?  What is the flow? How do I convince the reviewer that what I’m doing fills an important gap? This template combines templates from Drs. Morgan Giddings, Martie Thompson, and Erica Whitney and ideas from many.

Specific Aims planning matrix
Use this ‘fill in the blanks’ form to gather information for your Aims page.  Print it out, and take it and a pencil to your your local coffee shop. Eeesy-peesy!

Significance template
NIH gives applicants only the barest instructions for the “Significance” section a proposal. See if this Significance template helps you get started writing.

Approach outline
This is a compilation of outlines I've seen various places. For a start, try this for how to outline your Approach section.

Career goals for K award template - my first try at developing an outline for the Career Goals section of a K

NIH biosketch personal statement outline
A nice outline from Western Carolina University and another NIH biosketch outline that might work well for NIH K awards.  You might not follow the outline exactly, but it's food for thought and a way to get started. 

All items needed for an NIH K award, with page limits
OK, so not exactly a template, but it's good to know all of the documents you will need to produce a complete K award application. This is an Excel file.


Hard-to-find NIH Pages

find NIH study sections

CSR regular standing study sections 
The study sections that typically review R01, R03, R21, fellowships, SBIR.

Scientific review groups managed by Institutes and Centers
The study sections that typically review K awards, program project grants, center grants, training grants, RFAs. 

Best NIH Grants info

List of all NIH activity codes
If you ever wondered what a K08, R01 or DP2 was, this page is for you!

List of all NIH institutes and centers 
Figure out which one is most interested in your work.

SF424 R&R application guide
Get the instructions to apply for NIH grants. You really do need to read the entire instructions at least once in your life. Really :-)

What NIH has Funded

Check to see if anyone is already funded to do what you plan to propose ;-(

This is cool. Use Matchmaker to learn about funded research in your area of interest -- make sure no one is already funded to do what you are thinking of proposing -- get new ideas! Enter scientific text about your project idea and Matchmaker will return a list of 100 similar projects, including the study sections that reviewed the project and the NIH Institute/Center that funded them. Note that the bar charts are clickable filters -cool and important.

Try this nifty way to get insight into your search results
From the search results page in RePORTER (i.e. you first have to search for something), click on the “Data & Visualize” tab, and then on “Circles BETA”. Circles gives you a dynamic view of the hierarchy and projects in each category of your search results.

NIH success rates
Tables of all kinds of juicy data

Other Tools I Created 

Grant planning matrix 
Plan your entire grant before you start writing. This will be a huge time-saver.

Innovation - thinking matrix
You may feel that your project is innovative but don’t know how to express it. These prompts help direct your thinking.

Reviewer objections - thinking matrix
When you write a grant application you need to put yourself in the shoes the reviewer and think about the most likely objections your reviewer might have. This matrix gives you some prompts to spur your thinking.

NIH review criteria - 
self-scoring matrix

Try scoring your own application (or have a colleague do it) to reveal where your reviewer might find weakness.

Context of your research project - thinking matrix
You need to be able to articulate (on Aims page, briefly, and in Significance) what work came before yours, what your published and preliminary data add, how the proposed studies will extend all of that.

Differentiation from your mentor - thinking matrix
To write an NIH K award application, you need to be able to articulate how your career development plan will allow you to differentiate yourself from your mentor and develop your own niche.

Concept Paper
Fill this out and send it to your NIH program official when you ask to schedule a time to talk. A concept paper will help your discussion be productive.

Best Self On-Line and Personal Brand worksheets

Worksheets for thinking about how to present your best self online being updated…

Rachel's compilation of questions to help you reveal your Personal Brand
Yes, some of the questions are redundant. That is ok.

Get NIH updates


Subscribe to NIH weekly announcements – you need to scan this for new notices and funding opportunity announcements.

Subscribe to NIH eRA Commons announcements – you need to know what’s going on in the world of electronic grant submissions. Emails from these folks don’t come very often. Their writing is always entertaining - I love it!

Links to grants resources beyond NIH

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Resources for Early Career Scientists – Practical guides to scientific management for postdocs and new faculty. From here you can download pdfs of individual chapters of their book, “Making the Right Moves” or you can order a free hard copy.  They also have a pdf on how to write a letter or recommendation.  Good stuff.

Foundation Center – Online database of foundations. You can get 990s here.  If you want to search for anything more than the foundation’s name and 990 you have to pay for a subscription OR you can go to one of the Foundation Center’s “Funding Information Network” locations and use the database (the “Foundation Directory Online Professional”) there for free.  With more than 450 locations it’s worth checking to see if one is near you.  I have used the location in Philly and it is great. – Search all the grants available from the US government.