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Course & Subject Guides
Whether this is your first experience with proposal writing or you want to critique and improve on previous efforts, a variety of resources is available to help guide you in planning, organizing, and writing a proposal. Don't overlook the following possibilities.
- Funding agency websites and staff. These are key sources of information on the requirements you must meet and procedures you must follow.
- University of Pittsburgh's Office of Research. Staff can provide useful information and help you navigate the University's procedures.
- Books and journal articles. Although disciplines may differ, fundamental advice tends to carry over between subject areas.
- Mentor. A professor or colleague with experience in writing successful proposals can answer questions and provide helpful feedback.
- Workshops. The University's Office of Research and some funding agencies, such as the NSF, conduct occasional workshops and conferences focused on proposals.
Use the items linked on this page, and find more by searching PittCat and the article databases.
Helpful Web Sites
Hints on Preparing Research Proposals
A summary of presentations given at the American Astronomical Society Business Meeting Supplementary Session in Chicago, IL, June 1999.
Writing a Research Proposal
From the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this page describes types and parts of proposals and links to some examples.
Proposal Writer's Guide
By Don Thackrey from the University of Michigan, this guide includes tips on writing the parts of the proposal, dealing with short deadlines, and reasons that proposals are rejected.
How to Write a Research Grant Proposal [Student's Corner]
By Renfei (Iris) Yan. IEEE Pulse, 2 (5), 8-9 Sept./Oct, 2011. DOI: 10.1109/MPUL.2011.942598
Brief overview of important points.
Writing Clear Animal Activity Proposals
By David M. Pinson. Lab Animal, 40 (6), 2011, pp. 187-192. DOI:10.1038/laban0611-187
Discusses common problems and presents a framework for writing clear proposals.
Why Are Research Grant Applications Disapproved?
By Ernest M. Allen. Science, New Series, 132 (3439), 1960, pp. 1532-1534.
Practical information that is still relevant.
Getting that Grant: How to Convince an Evaluation Panel that Your Proposal is Worthy of Funding
G.F. Smith, et al. Taxon, 58 (2), 2009, pp. 675-677.
Written for the International Association of Plant Taxonomy, but the general advice applies more broadly.
Office of Research
The University of Pittsburgh's Office of Research has administrative responsibility for all University research and must review all proposals submitted by University personnel.
If you are writing a proposal for actual research funding, rather than for a course assignment, be sure to contact the Office early in the process. They can provide assistance with required information, policies, and procedures.
Office of Research
Includes links to pages with Funding Resources, Policy & Procedures, Proposal Development and Processing, and more.
Archimedes Thoughtful by Domenico Fetti