Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

CSDE is developing its first annual summer grant writing program – a chance for you to learn more about NIH grant-writing and to workshop your proposal with other participants and with experienced senior faculty. Writing a grant in isolation can be mystifying—instead, we aim to create a group experience that is still hard work, but which will be supportive, fun, productive, and ultimately rewarding.

If you’ve been on the fence about writing a proposal, now is the time to dive in!

Who is eligible to apply?

  • All CSDE faculty affiliates (local or regional) are eligible to apply.
  • This year’s CSDE seed grant recipients are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Advanced graduate student trainees writing an individual post-doc, mentored research, or early-stage investigator award are also eligible, but please contact Steve Goodreau ( first to discuss your project and stage.
  • Faculty who are not CSDE affiliates may also apply if they are proposing to conduct population science research, but first contact Steve to discuss (
  • Postdoctoral fellows with active population science research agendas are also invited to apply.

What is the program structure?

First, applicants will be paired with one or more senior faculty member mentors, who will read and comment on each section as it is drafted throughout the summer. Second, participants will attend 5 half day meetings throughout the summer. Meetings will include the participants, organizer, and sometimes other senior researchers. Meetings will be a few weeks apart to accommodate time for revisions and commenting. Exact times will be scheduled once participants are selected, but the weeks will be: June 18, July 9, July 30, Aug 12, Sep 2. Third, participants will participate in a mock, NIH study section review at the end of the summer which will provide insight on the nature of the scientific review process.

What is expected of participants?

  • The application process requires participants to write a draft “specific aims”.
  • Participants are expected to attend each meeting. The first and last meeting require in-person attendance, while the others may accommodate participants via virtual participation on Skype or Zoom.
  • Participants must share drafts of different sections of their proposal at least a week before each meeting. A senior mentor and a fellow participant will then read and comment on the draft. Other participants will be expected to read everyone’s drafts and participate in all feedback discussions during the half-day meetings.
  • Between meetings, participants revise drafts and incorporate comments, draft a new section, and provide comments on one other participant’s draft.
  • Participants are strongly encouraged to submit their final proposals to NIH through CSDE. Faculty who are required to run their grants elsewhere are eligible to apply, but please inform us of this in the application. Graduate students who expect to submit their grants at another institution are also welcome, and should also mention this.
  • We recognize that not all proposals will be ready to submit by the end of summer, but we expect that participants will be ready within 1-2 grant cycles after participating in the program.

Application process

Submit your application

  • Complete the application form. This includes uploading draft Specific Aims page and an NIH biosketch.

Grant Writing Program Application Form

  • Applications are due May 15. However, take note of the timing of the next bullet point:
  • Applicants are expected to attend the CSDE Spring NIH grants panel, May 1, 2018, 2-4 pm in Suzzallo Library’s Smith Room. This will be a Q&A panel designed to introduce the components of the NIH application process, detail the services that CSDE provides for that process, and present experienced faculty members’ tips and insights. If you have a conflict for this panel, please inform us beforehand so that we can make alternative arrangements.

Selection criteria

 If applications exceed capacity, then priority will be given to:

  • CSDE affiliates and trainees
  • Junior faculty members or new investigators (those seeking their first major external grant)
  • Other criteria include evaluations of the proposed research questions’ importance and relevance to population science, the feasibility of the proposed work, and the applicant’s ability to conduct the work

Guidance in preparing your application:

Please contact Steve Goodreau ( for all questions.