Proposal Development Resources

While developmenting a proposal can feel daunting, the Office of Research and Technology Management is here to help you be successful. Connect with various resources available to researchers at CWRU throughout the proposal development process.

Get Support from CWRU Teams

  • CWRU Writing Resource Center (WRC) is staffed with an experienced group of consultants, including writing instructors holding doctorates in a variety of disciplines, who can support faculty members in all parts of their composition process. The WRC can be particularly valuable when crafting proposal research narratives and project descriptions. The WRC has locations across campus and offers in-person, online synchronous, and asynchronous appointments. To see the center's availability and sign-up for an appointment, please visit For more information about support for your own professional/scholarly writing projects, please reach out to the Director of WAC, Dr. Erika Olbricht,
  • The SPARC Team supports proposal development for complex, center-level grants and contracts greater than $10 million.
  • Great Lakes Energy Institute (GLEI) offers proposal development services for energy-related research proposals.
  • The Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) offers proposal development resources for faculty in the School of Medicine.

GLEI and CTSC each have teams that can offer hands-on support for proposal preparation. This is available on a case-by-case basis.

Consult Proposal Guidances

Proposal Writing and Review Guides

  • NIH Grants Basics and grant writing tip sheets
  • The National Library of Medicine brings together NIH grant tutorials and grant writing tip sheets in a single site, including an annotated sample R01 grant.
  • NIH Grant Writing for Success is a popular presentation from NIH experts that provides insights and helpful hints on preparing an application for submission. Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes in writing grant applications and correct some typical misconceptions about the grant review process.
  • The NIH offers webinar series and All About Grants Podcasts covering topics related to the process of seeking NIH funding, including honing research ideas, selecting application opportunities, and effective grant writing. Live webinars occur throughout the year and pre-recorded webinars are available for viewing. Podcasts range from 4 minutes to 20 minutes and cover all of the ins and outs of NIH funding.
  • View an NIH Peer Review Live Mock Study Section with Q&A. This NIH presentation is designed for anyone who ever wondered what an NIH peer review study section meeting might look and sound like as applications are discussed. During this 45-minute video, you’ll get a better idea of how the meeting is conducted, as well as hear a sampling of common questions asked by reviewers and mistakes made by applicants. A short Q&A follows the presentation.
  • View sample grant applications from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) for a range of funding mechanisms, including research grants (R series) and training and career development awards.
  • NSF A Guide for Proposal Writing for beginners.
  • On the Art of Writing Proposals - Liberal Arts and Humanities proposal guidance, published by the Social Science Research Council.
  • Proposal Writing Short Course - A self-paced, online class that introduces key components of foundation proposal writing.

Frequently Used Application Guides and Forms

Guidance for Correcting an Application

Guidance for pulling applications back from sponsors to make edits or corrections:

Keep These Proposal Development Tools on Hand

  • ORCID: The current tool federal agencies accept for a Digital Personal Identifier (DPI), a unique number representing an individual researcher. As of Spring 2025, NIH will begin requiring an ORCID profile. NSF already requires an ORCID ID for key personnel on proposal submissions, and other federal agencies are working to implement similar requirements. As such, we strongly encourage individual researchers on any federal research grant  to register with ORCID. For tutorials, videos and other information about DPIs, explore the Kelvin Smith Library’s Research Guide to ORCID
  • SciENcv: This tool allows researchers to track and share their biosketch and current and pending support. 
  • Research Data Resources: Resources with guidelines on research data management best practices, data storage options, funding guidelines, and training and support opportunities.
  • Calendar Months Converter: An Excel spreadsheet to help convert the number of months to percentage of year. 

Tools for Creating Charts, Graphs and Figures

  • Adobe Creative Cloud contains a wide range of Adobe software including Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. The Creative Cloud is available to CWRU faculty, staff, and enrolled students.
  • BioRender is an online tool that allows individuals to create scientific figures using premade icons and templates.
  • Canva is a free online design tool for creating infographics, reports, and more. It's especially helpful for creating visual social media posts. Many templates are available.
  • LucidChart offers a free tool for creating charts and data visualizations.
  • Piktochart is a free design tool for creating basic infographics. Many templates are available.
  • Prezi is a free design tool for creating infographics, powerpoint presentations, videos, charts, and more.