What’s a good timeline for writing a grant?

When writing a grant, start early, leave time for reviewing your work, and set deadlines for yourself.

There are some deadlines that are HARD deadlines (eg the grant due date and possibly the date for routing your grant through the university).

Other deadlines (eg writing, review, asking for letters, etc) are best case scenarios and if you can keep them, give you time for constructive feedback from others as well as self-editing.

What should I be doing ….4-6 months before a deadline?
  • Get your eRA commons username and ORCID ID
  • Start working on your BIOSKETCH and a SPECIFIC AIMS Page – You will need some version of these whether you are applying to NIH or another funder
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel – Find a copy of a successful proposal
  • Regardless of where you’re submitting your grant – Contact the Program Officer / Funder – this might save you a lot of time/effort if it turns out the funder isn’t interested in or doesn’t fund the type of project you’re submitting.
  • Start proposal ‘notebook’ – obtain all necessary forms and information; start on forms
  • Participate in REGULAR, ACTIVE discussions with mentor
  • Take advantage of resources / workshops / training / editing
  • If you are applying for a Fellowship or mentored career development grant
    • Formulate RESEARCH TRAINING PLAN – draft an outline with all required sections
    • Check to see if the grant requires reference letters – now is when you should identify individuals who can provide letters of reference and make the initial request
    • Contact the NIH training staff to make sure that mechanism you are applying to is the best choice for you
What should I be doing….1-2 months before the deadline? 
  • Write/revise full-length drafts of your proposal
  • Start Emory routing and assemble application
  • If required, Check on your Letters of Recommendation -be clear on due date
  • Circulate all sections of your proposal for quality critique and review
What should I be doing …. with less than 2 weeks before the deadline?
  • Circulate final versions of your proposal for quality critique and review
  • Final Emory routing
  • Recheck instructions to make sure complete all components
  • Submit

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