Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

In summer 2019, CSDE will offer its summer grant writing program.  This program is designed to assist early-career scholars and those who are relatively new to the process of writing applications for grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Participants will be coached through the process of developing a competitive application.  Participants will learn more about NIH grant mechanisms, grant-writing, grant reviewing, while also engaging in an intensive writing workshop, with regular meetings, discussion sessions, and feedback on all aspects of their research plans and proposal.

CSDE aims to demystify the grant-writing process and create a supportive environment that produces grant proposals ready for submission to the NIH by the fall of 2019.

What is the program structure?

Participants will attend eight working-group meetings between mid-June and the end of August. These meetings will include sessions devoted to introducing the NIH mechanisms, application and funding processes, budgeting, review systems, and workshopping different components of your written application, including receiving feedback from other program participants and experienced NIH grant recipients or senior mentors. These sessions will serve as deadlines for completion of drafts of various sections of the NIH Research Plan (significance, innovation, investigator, approach, and environment). All participants will be matched with one or more senior faculty member mentors who will read and comment on each section of the application as it is drafted. At the end of the summer, participants will participate in a mock NIH study section review to get insight on the nature of the scientific review process and advice for final revisions of the application. CSDE staff will participate throughout the process, helping with both the scientific and administrative aspects of the grant development of the project.

What do you get out of it?

Participants will receive mentorship, constructive criticism, camaraderie, structure, scientific consultations about methods and approach, grant-development support, and a $5000 stipend for full participation in the program. Funds can be used for salary, professional travel, or other activities and materials to support the successful completion of the grant application. Full participation and successful completion of the program will yield a complete proposal draft.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • All CSDE faculty affiliates are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to applicants new to NIH grant-writing (including early career applicants who recently submitted applications, but were not funded and plan on working on revisions over the summer).
  • Advanced graduate student trainees writing an individual post-doc, mentored research, or early-stage investigator award are also eligible, but please contact Kyle Crowder ( first to discuss your project and stage.
  • We welcome applications from collaborative teams made up of multiple new investigators.

What is expected of participants?

  • The application process requires participants to write a draft “specific aims”.
  • Participants are expected to attend each meeting, produce written products by the time of each meeting, and engage in discussions about the development of proposals. 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 or before designated deadlines. A senior mentor and a fellow participant will read and comment on the draft, so it is crucial that these drafts are submitted on time.
  • Between meetings, participants revise drafts and incorporate comments, draft a new section, and provide comments on one other participant’s draft. Completion of a full draft by fall 2019, will mean participants will work on their project throughout the summer and in between scheduled meetings. 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 fall 2019.
  • 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 in the application.

Application process

Submit your application

  • Complete the application form below. This includes uploading drafts of your Specific Aims page and NIH biosketch. Please see guidance in drafting these below.
  • Applications are due by 6 pm PT on May 3, 2019.

2019 Grant Writing Program Application Form

Guidance in preparing your application:

Selection criteria

  • 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.

Contact us

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