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Tips for Developing a Winning Proposal

Top ten tips for developing a winning grant or research proposal.

  1. Talk to your program officer as often as necessary. Don’t get behind in developing your proposal because you don’t know the answer to a question.
  2. Don’t procrastinate. Make sure you stay on top of deadlines so that you have time to put the writing down to “cool” for a couple of days.
  3. Revise, rewrite and repeat. After you’ve left your writing alone for a few days, come back and make the language more concise; rewrite sentences that are unclear.
  4. Make the proposal interesting to read. Let your enthusiasm for the project show through the writing. Use action verbs. Spark the reader’s interest, regardless of his or her area of expertise.
  5. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, making sure that even someone skimming your proposal will clearly understand what you’re setting out to do.
  6. Set deadlines for your proposal development, and include your proposal deadlines on your main calendar so you stay on schedule.
  7. Read successful proposals that have received funding so you can identify key aspects that each one included, and design your own list of tips to keep in mind as you write. Check out books from the Office of Grants and Faculty Development, which can aid you during the development process.
  8. Don’t use jargon that reviewers may not understand. If you do, explain it in the first reference. The people reading your grant proposal will most likely be in your field, but may not be familiar with the specific area central to your research.
  9. Pay attention to the sponsor’s guidelines before, during and after developing the proposal to ensure that you have followed every guideline.
  10. Make appointments with the Office of Grants and Faculty Development as far ahead as possible, to allow plenty of time to use the advice and information you receive to improve your proposal. Call 424-3215 to schedule.
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by Reinke, Heidi last modified Apr 29, 2011 02:49 PM