Research and Sponsored Programs

Proposal Writing Resources

This is a list of general tips and resources for writing a grant proposal. For a list of agency-specific resources, see our Resources by Agency page.

proposal writing guides

  • Guide For Writing a Funding Proposal, S. Joseph Levine: A list of general tips for proposal writing organized by common types of application sections, including an example proposal. 
  • The Art of Grantsmanship, Jacob Kraicer, U Toronto/HFSP: An older, but still popular, proposal writing guide, including suggested timelines. Uses vocabulary characteristic of NIH proposals, but advice is applicable to proposals to other agencies.  
  • The Proposal Writer’s Guide, University of Michigan: A well-written general guide; addresses common section types with greater specificity than other guides. Includes old but still-relevant data on reasons why proposals are rejected. 
  • The Anatomy of a Specific Aims Page, Bioscience Writers: A detailed breakdown of how to structure a Specific Aims section in an NIH application, but the advice on general argumentative structure is also useful for other types of proposals.  
  • Introduction to Proposal Writing, GrantSpace by Candid: A free online course on the basics of proposal writing. Estimated completion time is 1 hour. 
  • Scientific Editing and Writing Article Library, Bioscience Writers: A free online resource focused on scientific writing. Includes multiple articles on fine-tuning/editing scientific articles, proposals, and manuscripts; writing CVs, resumes, cover letters, and abstracts; and guidelines for formatting and including scientific jargon/vocabulary, among other helpful links.


  • “The Science of Scientific Writing,” George Gopen and Judith Swan, American Scientist — a highly detailed treatment of style and sentence structure in scientific writing, focused on maximizing clarity when communicating complex technical ideas. 
Last Updated: 7/7/23