Grant Writing


Grantwriting is a learned skill that differs fundamentally from writing an academic paper. While papers and grants must both be scientifically sound, novel, well-conceived, and well-written, grant proposals function to persuade the reader (funder) to fund a project based on the idea, scientific soundness, and originality. A grant proposal must sell both your research and your ability as a scientist to carry out the project.

We offer grant writing support for the NSF GRFP, NIH F series and NIH K series.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The Johns Hopkins National Fellowship office will hold a workshop for first-year graduate students applying to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The workshops will focus on the personal statement.

An online version of the workshop and accompanying handout can be found here. The Johns Hopkins National Fellowship Office will also review your personal statement.

NIH Career Development Awards (K) Grant Writing Workshops

Led by CareerVolt's Sheila Cherry, PhD and Jessica Lerch, PhD.

Advanced K Award Workshop

Each April, August, and December, the live Advanced K Award Workshop is offered to provide more in-depth discussion about the NIH K Award. This workshop is designed for postdoctoral research and clinical fellows who are planning to submit or resubmit a K award application in the upcoming cycle after the workshop.

Participants must have viewed the Overview of K Award workshop material AND submit a draft Specific AIMs page to participate. The next workshop will be held December 13th, 2023.

To register for the Advanced K workshop:

  1. Email Dr. Doug Dluzen ( and state your interest in attending.
  2. Submit a Draft Specific Aims page by December 1st, 2023, to Dr. Doug Dluzen (
  3. Copy your PI on your submitted aims to acknowledge their support of your submission.

Everyone participating in the Advanced K workshop must view a series of K Award overview videos that are available on demand. This insures everyone in the advanced course is at the same knowledge level. You can take the short quizzes to demonstrate knowledge instead of watching the videos.

Please register for the course with your JHU email using this LINK and create a username and password. Your registration will be approved within one business day after you register. After registration approval (you will receive an email), on how to access the course. If you don't see course-related emails, please check your spam folder. If you have any additional questions, please email:

Below are example recordings from the 2021 workshop:

PDCO has example of successful and unsuccessful K awards that include reviewer critiques that are available upon request.

NIH F award workshop

Led by Andrew Hollenbach, PhD, Professor of Genetics as LSU School of Medicine and author of A Practical Guide to Writing a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Grant, available online through the Welch Library. This workshop series aims to prepare trainees for writing and getting an F-series grant. Andrew has long-standing experience serving on NRSA fellowship study sections and leading this workshop including providing key suggestions and recommendations on how to best construct each section of the application.

Answers to FAQ about submitting F awards including questions like "When should I submit an F" and "How to choose recommenders".

Overview and Review Process
Slides | Recording

Formatting and Applicant
Slides | Recording

Sponsor and Cosponsor
Slides | Recording

Research Training Plan
Slides | Recording

Institutional Environment and Resubmissions
Slides | Recording

PDCO has example of successful and unsuccessful NRSA Fellowship proposals that include reviewer critiques that are available upon request.

Grant Writing Resource

Grant writing is a skill and many say it is an art. The best way to perfect the skill is to practice the art of grant writing. View each section to learn more about the grant writing process, and check out this Nature Careers: Working Scientist podcast to get an insider’s perspective on the NIH grant review process.

Ten Grant Writing Tips

  1. Start early.
  2. Read the grant announcement carefully. Make sure you are a good fit for the award and your research fits their funding priorities. Contact the program officer to share information about you and your research idea to gain their insights and suggestions. Program officers can recommend the NIH Institute that best fits your aims.
  3. Obtain copies of funded and unfunded grant submissions that include the reviewer critiques. Review these grants for structure, organization and why they were or were not funded. A great learning activity is to review the grant yourself before reading the reviewer’s critiques and then see if your analysis aligns with the reviewers.
  4. Identify who will be submitting the grant on your behalf, the department’s grant administrator. Schedule a meeting with them to understand when they will need your grant AND how they can help you.
  5. Find three to five colleagues or mentors who will review your grant in addition to your PI. Provide dates when you will send drafts of your specific aims page or your research plan. Find people who will provide in depth feedback on the content and strategy and not just editorial comments.
  6. Spend half of your time on the Specific Aims page. This should be the first thing you write and rewrite and rewrite. Seek input on this page early and often. This may be the only page many reviewers read.
  7. Use figures and tables to illustrate ideas that make it easier for reviewers to grasp your research and ideas. Figures and tables can also save space.
  8. Make it easier for the reviewers to critique your grant. Tell them what is innovative. Limit yourself to three key messages and repeat these so they are clear. Present a focused research plan directly related to your aims.
  9. Show that you can succeed. Collaborate on the grant with a senior investigator who has successfully completed similar projects. If you include a co-investigator, demonstrate that the relationship is established and not just in name only.
  10. Use the actual review criterion to critically evaluate your own grant. Have you addressed every item the reviewer will be scoring? Review templates can be found here.