Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

CSDE hosts an annual summer grant writing program to assist scholars in preparing applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Stay tuned for information on the 2022 program. In the meanwhile, pleae direct questions to Steven Goodreau (

Participants learn more about NIH grant mechanisms, grant-writing, and grant reviewing, while also writing their own grant, receiving mentored feedback from experienced NIH grant recipients, incorporating and revising their grants, and providing feedback to others in the workshop. The intensive writing workshop includes regular meetings, discussion sessions, and feedback on all aspects of research plans and proposals. The program seeks to demystify the grant-writing process and creates a supportive environment that produces proposals ready for submission to the NIH by the October or December deadline of the following year.


  • If you have any questions, please contact Steve Goodreau prior to applying (
  • There is a workshop leader and an experienced mentor for each participant
  • There are 6-8 working-group meetings between mid-June and the end of August.
  • Sessions include:
    • Introductions to different NIH grant mechanisms from career awards to any type of R award
    • The application and funding process
    • Budgeting
    • Supporting materials (facilities, letters of support)
    • Peer review systems
    • Workshopping different components of the written application (significance, innovation, approach, investigator, specific aims)
  • Sessions will serve as deadlines for component parts of the application
  • All participants are matched with one or more senior mentors who will read and comment on each section of the application.
  • At the end of the summer, participants will participate in a mock NIH study section review to experience the scientific review process and receive advice for final revisions of the application.
  • CSDE staff participate throughout the process, helping with both the scientific and administrative aspects of the grant development of each project.
  • In 2020, among the 6 participants, two people submitted their proposals, and four others are in progress but will be submitting in the coming months.
  • In 2019, among the 6 participants in last summer’s program, 5 submitted NIH proposals. These proposals included several different mechanisms (e.g. K99/R00, R01 and R21). One was funded, one was re-submitted, and the remainder are still pending.
  • In 2018, our pilot year, among 7 participants, three submitted NIH grants and two of those were funded.
  • Mentorship
  • Constructive criticism
  • Camaraderie
  • Structure program and timeline to yield a finished product
  • Scientific consultations about methods and approach and grant-development support
  • Improved grant application quality and greater chance of funding success
  • Any CSDE affiliate is eligible to apply.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who have not been a successfully funded PI on an NIH grant.
  • Applicants from mid-career scholars is very welcome.
  • Applicants from collaborative teams, anticipating a multiple PI arrangement, are encouraged. Only two members per team are allowed to participate in the program.
  • UW students and post-docs are eligible to apply only if they plan a training program centered at UW.

  • Applicants prepare a draft, one-page Specific Aims statement and include it in their application material. Guidance on writing Specific Aims is available here.
  • Applicants prepare an NIH biosketch.
  • Applicants request a letter of support from their supervisor.
  • If enrolled, participants must attend each meeting, produce written products by the time of each meeting, and actively participate in discussions about proposal development.
  • Participants must share drafts of different sections of their proposal at or before designated deadlines.
  • Participants must be willing to receive and incorporate feedback from seasoned grant writers and senior mentors.
  • Participants must be committed to working on their proposal development between meetings throughout the summer. CSDE staff and senior mentors will be available and on-call for commenting throughout the summer.
  • Participants are expected to submit their application to NIH in the immediate fall or winter following the summer.
  • Participants are strongly encouraged to submit their final proposals to NIH through CSDE. Participants who are required to run their grants elsewhere are eligible to apply, but please inform us in your application.
  • Letter of support from a chair, supervisor or unit head indicating support for the applicant’s participation in the program. This explicit support ensures shared understanding that the applicant will be in a position to submit a grant of this type in the future.
  • We encourage applicants obtain a promise of matching support from their chair/supervisor. This might include some summer salary, research funding, or undergraduate or graduate student RA time. This support will go directly from the unit to the participant, without CSDE’s involvement. The presence of this match may be considered in our review, although we encourage everyone considering an application to move forward with or without one, especially given the uncertain financial situation created by COVID-19.
  • CSDE contributes roughly $5,000 per participant to run the program and units may consider this as an approximate guide in developing their match.
  • Priority is given to CSDE affiliates, especially new faculty or early-stage investigators (those seeking their first major external grant).
  • Other criteria include quality of proposed research questions and their significance to population science, the likelihood that the proposed work will lead to a fully drafted application, the feasibility of the proposed work, and the applicant’s ability to conduct the work, and the indication that a chair or supervisor is supportive of participation in the workshop.

Contact us

We encourage prospective applicants to contact us with questions about eligibility, expectations, or other concerns.  Steve Goodreau is directing this summer’s program and can be reached at: .