Elements of Grant Writing

Write a fundable grant: The Elements of Grant Writing has the tips and tools you need.

Who benefits?

  • Investigators seeking grant funding

What is it?

  • A guide containing tips, tools, and resources for the grant application process

Why use it?

  • Improve grantsmanship
  • Manage your grant writing project
  • Increase your chances of submitting grants with a high likelihood of funding

Grant funding is necessary for a successful career in research. The Elements of Grant Writing was created by grant writing experts to provide the Harvard research community an easy-to-navigate resource of tips and tools to improve grantsmanship. The website is helpful for anyone seeking funding from federal, foundation, or industry sources. Using the Elements of Grant Writing will increase an investigator's chances of submitting a fundable grant application.

Why Use Elements of Grant Writing?

A midcareer investigator is interested in applying for an NIH research grant (an R01), but he is unsure if he is prepared to begin the application process. By clicking on "Ready or Not?" in the Elements of Grant Writing, he reviews a checklist of qualifications. Realizing he can say yes to each qualification, he feels confident he is ready to begin working on his R01 grant application.

An investigator wants to apply for a grant through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Deciding to look through the Writing Tips section of the Elements of Grant Writing, she realizes that her first step should be contacting a program officer to determine if she is eligible to apply for this particular grant. By having a conversation with the program officer, she determines that she is not only eligible, but her research project is of high significance to mission of the foundation.

A K23 awardee is preparing his first R01 grant, but he isn't quite sure how soon he should begin work on it. He logs onto the Elements of Grant Writing and the R01 Tools section, where he downloads the work plans. From there, he can see what he needs to accomplish each year to complete and submit his R01 application during the first support year of his K23. This will allow him time to resubmit, if necessary, well before funding from his K23 ends.

A K01 awardee is about to submit her first R01 grant application, but before she does, she wants to see what another grant looks like. She clicks on Samples in the Elements of Grant Writing, and she finds a funded grant and an unfunded grant with its corresponding summary statement. Seeing how the summary statements were completed helps the researcher identify items in her own grant application that should be revised before submission.

A new investigator who has never applied for funding before is looking for grants. He clicks on Links in the Elements of Grant Writing. From here, he can access Harvard Catalyst-related links, as well as search for other sources of grant funding. Additionally, he finds the Glossary of grant-related terms that help him better understand the grants for which he is applying.

Who is using the Elements of Grant Writing?

Grant Review and Support Program

GRASP is an opportunity for junior investigators to gain the skills, tools, and guidance they need to successfully make the K-to-R Transition.

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"This website is absolutely essential for the young investigators preparing to meet the daunting challenge of funding their independent research programs. It is particularly important for individuals embarking on the K-to-R transition in NIH funding. It is packed with incredibly useful, practical information specifically designed to help young investigators to plan effectively, develop winning strategies and avoid common mistakes."
Jeffrey Saffitz, MD, PhD, Chief, Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

"As I'm entering the 3rd year of my K23 grant, I'm becoming increasingly aware of the need to plan my first R01 application. Through detailed timelines and work plans, the Elements of Grant Writing website lays out the steps with amazing clarity and detail. Thanks to the website and the Grant Review and Support Program (GRASP), I'm confident that I will have the time, skills, and organization to successfully plan, write, and submit my first R01 application on the inflammatory and non-inflammatory components of pain in rheumatic diseases."
Yvonne Lee, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, GRASP Participant


Contact us if you have grant samples you would like to share on the Elements of Grant Writing.

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"The Elements of Grant Writing is an excellent, innovative website that will be helpful for both junior and senior researchers throughout the Harvard system. The site provides specific tools, templates, and checklists to help keep researchers on schedule in planning and writing grants, provides writing tips, and presents samples of funded and unfunded grants. The website is quite innovative in bringing together all of this information in an easily accessible and useful format."
Shelly Greenfield, MD, PhD, McLean Hospital, GRASP Advisor

You can access the Elements of Grant Writing from the Funding menu of the Harvard Catalyst website.

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