Grant Proposal Assistance

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Where might I look for funding?

Who can help with multi-partner applications?

The Office of Research Development and Engagement offers workshops for faculty on many aspects of grant proposal development and post-award support. ORD staff can assist you in developing both large multi-partner grant applications or individual research grant proposals.

How do I request a pre-review of my draft research grant proposal?

CNS Research Review Council

The CNS Grant Proposal Review Program provides CNS investigators with the opportunity to receive review and feedback on their federal grant proposal in advance of submission to the sponsor. A select group of CNS accomplished scientists, the CNS Research Review Council, will review proposal drafts and provide useful feedback regarding its strengths and weaknesses.  The CNS Research Review Council are experienced scientists, knowledgeable about and confident in particular funding mechanisms by having served on panels, or as program officers, and/or by successfully receiving federal funding.

Proposals are assigned to at least two reviewers, who are not necessarily in the investigators specific discipline but have a general familiarity with the area of research. Reviewers will provide a critical evaluation of your proposal, looking broadly at good grantsmanship, as well as at your idea and scope. Feedback will consist of an overall summary of reviewers’ comments, and specific annotations on your draft. The critique will be sent via email within 2 weeks of the review.  

  • To initiate the process, a request for review must be sent at least 8 weeks prior to federal deadline to Wendy Varner,
    • Confirmation and further details will follow.
  • Draft proposal will be due at least 5 weeks prior to federal deadlines to the review committee.
  • Research Review Council Members

Research Writing Groups

Faculty facing the daunting process of writing a grant proposal, may benefit from the peer support and accountability of a writing group:

  • The Center for Research on Families (CRF) selects six faculty each year to participate in an intensive grant writing program which provides faculty with time, technical expertise, peer mentorship, and national expert consultation.  Family research encompasses all disciplines and is broadly defined. CRF Application information
  • Writing Groups – Throughout the college, faculty within departments have organized small writing groups for specific funding ‘calls’ or for the purpose of peer support, sharing research ideas, and reading proposal drafts.  Inquire within your department for existing research writing group opportunities, or contact
  • The Institute for Teaching Excellence & Faculty Development (TEFD) supports the professional development of faculty across all career stages and disciplines with a wide range of programs and resources including scholarly writing.  For general inquiries email

Where are resources for developing my methodology or receiving statistical consultation?

What should I consider as I develop my grant?

New Investigators

If you are new to the proposal writing and submission process, we recommend scheduling a brief individual meeting with Wendy Varner, Director of Faculty Development Programs,, to discuss an overview of the timing and steps required.

Contacting Program Officers

Contacting the program officer of a funding institution is often recommended.  Here are useful suggestions:

CNS Travel Funding

  • Pre-tenure CNS faculty may apply for funds to cover up to $800 of travel costs to visit relevant program officers before submission of a research grant application. In advance of their visit, mentors will provide guidance on what to expect; a short report evaluating the sponsored travel is required. To apply please submit the Pre-tenure Travel Request Form to Sally Powers, Associate Dean, c/o Amanda Leigh-Hawkins (

Are there resources for developing particular components of my proposal?

Broader Impacts

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal research agencies are increasingly emphasizing the need to demonstrate both the “intellectual merit” of proposed research as well as the “broader impacts.”

  • UMass Office of Research Development has many resources and on campus examples to help you develop your “Broader impacts”.
  • Community Connections: CNS has many programs which encourage science engagement in order to advance discovery, promote teaching and learning, broaden participation of underrepresented groups, and disseminate findings widely.
  • Broader Impacts Tips is a great resource for understanding and addressing the NSF Broader Impacts section.

Compliance Policies and Cost Sharing Procedures

Grant Proposal Tips and Templates

These are helpful for developing a grant proposal:

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