The CTSI provides comprehensive assistance with multiple aspects of proposal preparation. We augment the assistance available to proposal writers in their home departments, by providing writing and editing services for grant applications of all types. Our goal is to help investigators make their proposals more competitive for funding.
We provide the following services:
- Searches for potential funders
- Editing text for clarity, funder/mechanism guidelines
- Drafting or revising boilerplate text
- Drafting letters of support
- Training grant assistance
- Interpreting reviewers’ comments
- Assistance with revising and resubmitting an application
View more helpful tips on the various sections for your Research Grant Applications or if applying for K, take a look at our K Award Toolkit.
You can find biosketch instructions, templates and examples from NIH here.
NIH has two formats for Biosketches according to the application type:
- Non-fellowship Biosketch: This is the biosketch format used for all grant mechanisms that are not a fellowship (not part of the “F” series). E.g. R01 and others from R series, K series, and others.
- Fellowship biosketch: for fellowship applications and awards, which belong to the “F” series: F05, F30, F31, F32, F33 and F99/K00.
The NIH's FAQ page for Biosketches contains information on which format of biosketch to use, citations rules and acceptable formats, preparation of the Contribution to Science and more.
If you need help with biosketches for other types of grant proposals or other formats, please send your questions to Indra Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SciENcv or Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae is a researcher profile system available in My NCBI, for all investigators that apply for, receive or are associated with federal research funding.
With this helpful tool, you can develop your biosketch and automatically have it formatted according to NIH guidelines.
SciENcv also helps centralize to your profile information from NCBI My Bibliography, NIH eRA Commons, NHSF FastLane and ORCID ID (now mandatory for Training grants since October 2019, and for F and for K Awards by January 25, 2020).
For detailed instructions on how to create your biosketch using SciENcv, click here.
The ORCID ID is a persistent digital identifier that you own and control.
Please note that ORCID ID is now mandatory for Training grants (since October 2019), and for F and for K Awards beginning January 25, 2020.
The CTSI provides boilerplate text of facilities and resources provided by the institution to assist in investigators in preparing grant applications, manuscripts, and other related documents.
See the entire boilerplate list by logging on to our SharePoint Boilerplate collection page. If you have updates or information that is not included, let us know at email@example.com and we will update accordingly.
Internal Submission Requirements
All proposals must be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs through Huron Research Suite. Final proposals should be received 3 days prior to the sponsor deadline.
Cite the CTSA
Publications and other documents resulting from utilization of WF CTSI resources are required to credit the CTSA grant. Learn how.
Grant Application Sections
Below are some resources and tips to help you navigate the preparation of common sections of NIH proposals.
NIH is committed to promoting the rigor of experimental design in research, and to increase the reproducibility of scientific experiments. Learn more and view tips from the NIH.
The NIH limits this section to 30 lines of text; other funders typically have length limits as well. Consider the Summary as your “elevator speech” to reviewers and the funder. Stress what you really want them to know about your proposal – the need for answers to a scientific question, public-health importance, or timeliness of a particular opportunity, for example. Try not to merely repeat what the Specific Aims are, since those are explained in detail elsewhere.
Be sure to mention each point you consider a strength, such as strong preliminary data, a unique animal model, or a strong investigative team. The Summary is read by all reviewers, including those not expert in the field. Keep abbreviations to a minimum and use as little jargon as possible.
This page is read the most carefully by reviewers – repeated revisions are worth the trouble Remember that if the proposal changes, the Specific Aims page needs revision too. Make sure you allow time for that critical polishing phase. The budget and justification also should match the Specific Aims.
- Some people like sentence fragments: “Aim 1: To examine the prevalence of X in a hitherto understudied group”
- Some like the topic sentence format: “The primary aim of this proposal is to examine the prevalence of X in a hitherto understudied group. X is a high predictor of disease Y, and…”
- But there is no one “right” approach. Writers should focus on 3 key aspects:
- Consistency with subsequent text
- Is it a “preview of coming attractions”? Does it whet the reader’s appetite for more?
- Use the full page for the Specific Aims
- Include a paragraph of “Background” information – it will put the Aims into a broader context for the secondary reviewer
- A well-designed figure on this page (e.g. logic model or proposed mechanism of action) can be effective
- The context (e.g. gaps in knowledge, hypotheses) can precede the Aims, or follow them to segue into the “Significance” section
Keep “Significance” and “Innovation” brief – about ¾ page together. Review Tips on Significance and Innovation from the NIAID.
- Explains the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses.
- Explains how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields.
- Describes how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.
- Explains how the application challenges and seeks to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms.
- Describes any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s) to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s).
- Explains any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions.
- It is reasonable that a pilot or proof-of-principle project (e.g., NIH R03 or R21) can have 2 or 3 points of innovation. More than that will strain the reviewers’ credulity.
Reviewers decide a proposal’s fate based on details in the Approach. Make sure you have enough room to satisfy their curiosity.
Resource Sharing Plan
Your application may need to include a Resource Sharing plan if you are creating model organisms, plan to have a repository of final research data, or will generate data or other information related to genome-wide association studies. If so, describe your plan or plans in this section. It does not count against the page limits for the Research Strategy section, and is uploaded separately when you submit your application. Review the NIH policies on resource sharing.
Samples of Other Sections of Applications