BIOPHYSICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
Top Ten Tips for Grant Writing
1. Months, not weeks. Give yourself time to
prepare your best grant application.
2. Align your proposal with the mission of
the funding agency.
3. Identify and consult with the appropriate
4. Familiarize yourself with criteria used to
assess proposals. Study examples of suc-
5. Devise specific aims that can be expressed
as testable hypotheses (in most cases).
6. Keep specific aims sufficiently
independent but still interrelated.
7. Make text easy to read. Use simple,
persuasive writing with minimal jargon.
8. Use graphics to your advantage.
9. Have your proposal reviewed internally
in your institution before you submit.
10. Resubmit if necessary.
Can you apply for an NSF grant if you are at a
Yes. NSF funds projects, not institutions. Pay at-
tention to the mission of the agency. You cannot
just take an NIH-focused proposal and send it to
As research faculty in between postdoc and PI,
what are my grant opportunities?
You can apply for anything, but you are at a disad-
vantage for R01 grants because you are competing
with people who are already well-established.
How are R15 grants (for states or institutions
with low NIH funding levels) reviewed, relative to
R15 grants may be easier to get if you are eligible.
They have a lower budget cap and are three year
grants, but are renewable.
What is the difference between “Early Stage
Investigator” and “New Investigator?”
A New Investigator is someone who has never
been successful with an R01 grant application in
the past. An Early Stage Investigator is New
is no more than 10 years from the terminal degree
(PhD or MD). You can only qualify as an Early
Stage Investigator for one successful grant applica-
tion. NIH is encouraging ESI applications to close
the age gap between postdoc and first successful
Is resubmitting after triage a waste of time?
Decisions about resubmitting can be tricky. If you
are planning to resubmit, talk to your program
officer about how to improve the application. It is
only recommended that you resubmit if there was
enthusiasm for the idea but your application was
rejected based on a lack of preliminary data,