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Writing the NIH Grant Proposal

Writing the NIH Grant Proposal
A Step-by-Step Guide

Third Edition

October 2017 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Writing the NIH Grant Proposal, Third Edition offers hands-on advice that simplifies, demystifies, and takes the fear out of writing a federal grant application. Acting as a virtual mentor, this book provides systematic guidance for every step of the NIH application process, including the administrative details, developing and managing collaborative relationships, budgeting, and building a research team. Helpful hints along the way provide tips from researchers who have received grants themselves and coverage of the updated electronic NIH process and new scoring system is included.

About the Authors
CHAPTER 1. The National Institutes of Health
The NIH Mission

Basic NIH Facts

Other Funding Agencies

CHAPTER 2. Mentoring and Collaborative Relationships and What to Do If Things Go Awry
Developing New Collaborative Relationships

Maintaining Ongoing Collaborative Relationships

Finding and Working With a Mentor

What to Do When Interpersonal Problems Arise

CHAPTER 3. Types of Award Mechanisms
Identifying the Correct Grant Mechanism for Your Proposal . . .

The Menu

Classes of Grant Mechanisms

NIH Small Grant Program (R03)


NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21)

Factors to Consider in Identifying an Award Mechanism

Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)

Research Supplements

Success Rates for Different Grant Mechanisms and Different I/Cs

The SBIR and STTR Award Mechanisms

In What Areas Is the NIH Interested?

CHAPTER 4. Preparation and Preliminary Steps
Are You Ready?

Try Out Your Ideas on Your Colleagues

The NIH Website: A Useful Resource

The NIH “Guide for Grants and Contracts”

Requests for Applications

Contacting NIH Program Staff

Choosing Your Research Team and Conducting Initial Negotiations


CHAPTER 5. Writing the Application, Part I: Scientific Content and Writing Strategies
The Scientific Content

General Notes Concerning Scientific Writing

Sections of the Proposal

The NIH Review Criteria

New Procedures Implemented by NIH Concerning Content of the Proposal


Writing the Individual Sections of the Grant Text

Research Strategy

Common Reviewers’ Criticisms

Proposal Development Timeline

Revise, Revise, Revise, Proofread, Proofread . . .


CHAPTER 6. Writing the Application, Part II: Ethics
Human Subjects Research

Use of Stem Cells

Use of Biohazards and Select Agents

Humane Care and Use of Animals


CHAPTER 7. Writing the Application, Part III: Filling Out Budgets and Other Forms
Changes to the Application Process

The Title

The Budget

The Budget Justification

Consortia and Subcontracts


Identifying Research Opportunities and Downloading Applications Packages

The Components of the SF 424 (R&R) Form

The Budget Justification

Letters of Support and/or Collaborators/Consultants

The SF 424 Form


CHAPTER 8. Submitting the Application and the Grant Review and Award Process

The Grant Review and Award Process

Overall Impact

Scored Review Criteria

CHAPTER 9. Be Careful What You Wish For . . .
Notice of Grant Award (NGA)

Managing Your Grant Award

Setting Up the Command Structure


Yearly Progress Reports

Mea Culpa




This book is providing guidance to doctoral students as they complete their dissertations/thesis.

Dr Antoinette Myers
July 25, 2020
Key features


  • Covers the new Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) online submission form for both single and multiple projects
  • Revamped advice on substantive sections of the proposal to address lowered page allowance
  • Coverage of the new scoring system and reviewer reporting system
  • Coverage of the usage and submission of the new SF 424 forms


  • Supporting cases, examples, and flowcharts clearly illustrate the grant proposal writing process
  • Actual NIH grant proposal reviewers give advice about common pitfalls of proposals and what they, as reviewers, look for in a "fundable" proposal
  • Helpful appendices include references, a glossary of terms used in NIH grant applications, a directory of helpful web sites, and a set of checklists

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5: Writing the Application, Part I

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