Writing a competitive grant application to support the development, evaluation, translation/implementation, and dissemination of an intervention is similar in many respects to guidelines for writing a grant application to support any other type of research. Similar rules apply such as: assure the relevance of the proposal to the funding initiative; carefully follow instructions and submission rules; write using a clear, concise, and technical writing style; demonstrate having the necessary skills, staff, technical resources, and access to study populations; and make a solid case for the significance, innovation, and impact of the proposed work.

What Is a Grant Proposal?

The purpose of grant writing in general is obviously to seek money from a funding agency. Although it is typically a highly competitive process, a little recognized fact is that the goal of funders is actually to dispense with their funds. Agencies seek to provide funding to the best possible proposals that will also help to move their strategic mission and vision forward. Thus, the main purpose of a proposal is to convince reviewers and funders that monies should be granted to support the proposed idea and plan of implementation and that they fit within their purview of interest.

Specifically, a grant proposal is a carefully crafted document that describes the “who, what, where, when, how, and why” aspects of a research study. Each section of a proposal provides answers to a series of critical questions: What is the project about? Why is it significant or important? How is it novel or innovative? What is its potential impact? What specifically is planned for? How will the plan be carried out? Who is the investigative team and why are they the best to carry out the plan? Why is the research environment well suited for the proposed work and how will it support the proposed work? What will it cost and why? Furthermore, a proposal must convince reviewers and a funding organization of the significance, need, and novelty of the proposed research, and the ability of the team to carry out the planned activities. In this respect, a proposal can be thought of as a marketing tool in which one must package the science in such a way as to convince reviewers and funders of its significance, public health impact, novelty, and feasibility.

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