Writing/Designing NSF Proposals

University of Massachusetts

Feb 20 2014


Our one-day focused workshop addresses essential NSF research resources, as well as the conversion of ideas into fundable research. Following the workshop, you will understand how to navigate the mechanisms of grant procurement, identify the critical sections of successful proposals, and demonstrate the excellence and innovation that propels your research beyond other submissions. You will also understand the diversity of the grant programs and comprehend how to respond to various NSF guidelines.

Your training covers the overall strategic plan for writing grants, including: intellectual merit, broader impacts, goal or hypothesis, objectives, approach, key personnel, and budgets. Our instructors will engage you in interactive exercises, lectures, and discussions so you can better understand how to research, write, and develop your individual research proposals.

Our curriculum targets:

  • Early Career researchers seeking to acquire the techniques to research and draft winning NSF grant proposals
  • Senior Principal Investigators and grant writers looking to polish existing skills and receive updates about NSF funding trends

You will learn how to:

  • Find the appropriate program and grant mechanism for your idea
  • Read and interpret RFAs
  • Address the NSF proposal guidelines
  • Identify and effectively write the key elements of a proposal
  • Integrate each component of the grant into the final product
  • Develop focused and realistic budgets
  • Package a professional grant submission
  • Understand the NSF scoring system and peer review process
  • Use what happens during the review process to your advantage
  • Write winning grants that stand out from the competition


University of Massachusetts
Boston, MA




8:30 AM to 4:30 PM




Dr. Henry Bart

Dr. Henry Bart

Dr. Henry L. Bart is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. He has served as a member of the Tulane faculty since 1992. He received a B.S. and M.S. (Biology) from the University of New Orleans, and his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Bart is director of Tulanes Biodiversity Research Institute and curator of the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection at Tulane. He serves on boards and steering committees of a number of professional organizations, has received numerous NSF research and infrastructure grants, and has served on several NSF advisory panels. Among the various grants that he has received from NSF is a grant to increase the number of minorities who ultimately pursue careers in academia.

Dr. Bart has published over 50 articles and book chapters on the biology of fishes. His most recent publications deal with taxonomy and relationships of cypriniform fishes. He uses both traditional morphological methods and molecular techniques in his studies of fishes.

Condensed Agenda:

8:30 am -9:30 amOverview of Course and Introduction
9:30 am -10:30 amProposal Planning Process
10:45 am -11:15 amPreliminary Proposals
11:15 am -11:30 amProject Description Overview
11:30 am -12:00 pmDeveloping Project Description Components
12:45 pm -2:30 pmProposal Elements
2:45 pm -3:00 pmBudget and Justification Considerations
3:00 pm -3:45 pmReview and Submission Process
4:45 pm -5:00 pmSummary of the Day, Q & A

Preparing for the Workshop

Begin thinking of the research you want to develop. Having a specific project in mind will help you better understand the various proposal components presented during the course. Consider which grant program best suits the type and needs of the research you hope to conduct.

If you decide to develop a proposal during the workshop, consider how you would answer the following questions:

  • 1) What is the need of your project?
  • 2) What is the significance of your project?
  • 3) How will you budget your proposal?
  • 4) What is the time frame of the grant you are seeking?
  • 5) What is your hypothesis?
  • 6) What are the objectives?

What to Bring

  • Computer/Tablet and charger - All workshop materials will be supplied via USB drive and email. Many will be in PDF format.
  • Power strip or Extension cord
  • Notetaking: Paper and pens, and/or a personal USB drive

Click on your question below to see the answer. If this page does not answer your question, feel free to contact us.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

  • If you are unable to attend the workshop and wish to receive a full refund, we must be notified five (5) business days prior to the start of the workshop.
  • If you cancel one to four (1-4) business days prior to the start of the workshop, or the day of the workshop, no refund will be given. Instead, you will receive a credit for a future course.
  • With regard to rare and unforeseen circumstances, the Grant Training Center reserves the right to reschedule or cancel a workshop. If such an event occurs, we will notify participants via email and phone at least 2 weeks before the start of the workshop. Participants who have paid, but are unable to attend a rescheduled workshop will receive either a refund or a credit toward a workshop at a later date.

General Questions:

A. Click here and complete the registration form.
A. Our classes tend to fill quickly, and our registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. We advise that you register as far in advance as possible to guarantee your seat.
A. If a class is full, we will pull it from the schedule. If you can see a workshop or webinar, you can sign up for it.
A. When you sign up for a workshop or webinar, we email you a confirmation notice. This email also contains an attachment providing the basic details about the course, such as: location, agenda, faculty biosketch, how to prepare, what to bring, and a few dining recommendations.
A. Each person traveling to our workshop has a different route, method of transportation, and budget for travel, so we leave travel planning up to the individual.
A. We will be happy to review the executive summary or abstract and discuss the direction of your grant with you.
A. In the blue folder issued to you at the beginning of the workshop, you will find a Participant Contact List. Each person registered for the workshop who did not opt out will be on the list.
A. Each link to any of our online training is only for the specific individual who registered. It is expressly prohibited to share the link or stream. Each person who will be participating or observing must register separately.
A. All materials provided before, during, and after training are solely for use by the registered participant. Any reproduction, distribution, or transfer is expressly prohibited. This includes all information directories, work books, and any other materials provided unless otherwise specified.

Payment Questions:

A. We understand that funds sometimes need to be allocated prior to payment, so we allow registrations without requiring immediate payment.
A. We accept credit cards, checks, and purchase orders.
A. Yes. Further, the term 'US FUNDS' must be pre-printed on the check by the bank. We do not accept personal checks from international payees.

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NIH/NSF Combo Register also for Writing/Designing NIH Proposals on 02/19/14 - add $240 ($135 discount) What is this?
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