Proposal Development

Proposal Writing Guides

The Chronicle on personal essays: Helping Students to Tell their Stories

The Art of Writing Proposals (for Social Science competitions)

The Elements of a Proposal, 2007 by Frank Pajares, Emory University

The Art of Grantsmanship: Fulbright, Grant, & Marshall Fellowships, & Three Essays on How to Write a Proposal

Foundation Center Virtual Classroom, including Proposal Budgeting and Writing tutorials and webinars

Grant Writing: 3 Tips for Discussing Impact in Federal Grant Applications, Community Blog

Before You Apply

Study the funding agency's guidelines, as well as the request for proposals (RFP) or program announcement. In some cases, it's useful to talk to a representative of the funding agency. But this option should be pursued with caution. If your proposal is to SBSRI, please contact Beth Stahmer ( 

Information to consider when writing a proposal:

  1. Does the agency have a history of funding projects similar to the one you propose? It can be helpful to see previous applications if they are available. If the agency has not funded similar research, can your study be modified to match their previous research?
  2. Are you eligible to apply? Nearly all funding agencies restrict who may apply.
  3. Make several drafts of your proposal and have those drafts critiqued by several individuals. Try to find some reviewers who are familiar with your work and its place in the academic literature. Reviewers who are not familiar with your area are also important as they can often address the proposal's accessibility to a broader audience. In both cases, make sure your reviewers are aware of the RFP's specifics and the agency's review criteria.
  4. Apply early and often. Many grant and fellowship proposals take several weeks or months to develop and may require multiple rounds of applications.
  5. Contact SBSRI for help with proposal development. Director, Beth Stahmer, and our Graduate Research Associate (GRA) work with faculty and graduate students to strategize the content of the proposal and to review proposals and give substantive feedback. Erica Ortiz, manager of grants and contracts, can work with your business manager for help with insitutional proposal routing and budget creation. 

Check out UA's Research Gateway tips for proposal development here

Sponsor- and opportunity-specific links

Updated NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), effective for proposals submitted on or after October 4, 2021

Approved Templates for Current and Pending Support and Biographical Sketches for NSF Proposals

NSF Pre-award and Post-award Disclosures Relating to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support

NSF Resource Center to aid in Proposal Development and Preparation

National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI): Broader Impacts Guiding Principles & Questions for NSF Proposals

National Institutes of Health: Types of Funding Opportunities and Apply for a Grant

Ten Tips for Applying to the NSF GRFP

3 Tips for Crafting Need Statements in Federal Grant Proposals

Chronicle of Philanthropy video on foundations

Be sure to check SBSRI's home page frequently for details on SBSRI, UA, and external workshops. Home>>

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Us

SBSRI Office

Douglass Suite 101
1100 University Blvd.
PO Box 210076
Tucson, AZ  85721-0076

(520) 621-1135


Elizabeth Stahmer, M.S.
Graduate Research Associate