What are the benefits to faculty in writing grant proposals? The answers might surprise you!

  • Did you know that scholarly activity (including externally funded research and sponsored programs) now constitutes a substantial portion of faculty evaluation criteria for promotion and tenure?
  • Externally funded research often requires publication. Research, teaching, and publications are key related factors that lead to a successful academic career.
  • External funding generates indirect cost recovery for departments, providing flexibility for chairs to support professional development and other research related activities.
  • Involving students in research and sponsored activities improves their prospects for continuing their academic careers.
  • Once funded by an external source, you are the seasoned professional who can help others to achieve their scholarly goals.


Top 10 Things a Junior Faculty Member can do to increase odds of winning grants.

By Geoffrey C. Klein

10. Apply for internal grants

This activity provides a great testing ground for your grant writing skills. I suggest modeling your application after a targeted agency’s RFP (if possible). If awarded, this activity will illustrate to external agencies that you have the ability to manage grants and produce products from smaller grant projects.

9. Know who funds your field, both regionally and nationally

If you don’t apply to the right agency, you will not be funded. Know ALL governmental agencies and private foundations that will fund your type of work.

8. Take advantage of grant writing workshops

Attend workshops sponsored by CNU’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), Council of Undergraduate Research and Agencies that fund your type of work (if offered). Ideas gleaned from workshops can give you a leg up on the competition at the time of grant submission.

7. Talk with Program Officers

When you attend workshops for grant writing, typically they bring Program Officers from a number of different granting agencies; talk with them about your work. Travel to Washington, DC to talk with the numerous Program Offices that call DC their home. If you are unable to travel to talk with them, call them on the phone and discuss how your work fits into the goals and mission of their granting agency.

6. Team up with a senior faculty member at CNU or another Institution

Collaborate with faculty at CNU or other Universities for your first external grant. Any grant experience you can gain will prove to the granting agencies that you are able to manage grants and produce products in return for their support.

5. Read as many example grants as possible

Call in a favor; ask colleagues from graduate school to see some of their successful grant applications. Reading grants will give you an idea of how to structure your application to specific constituencies. Become a grant reviewer! The more grants you read the more confident you will be in the writing of your own grant application.

4. Use CNU’s subscription to COS Pivot

COS Pivot not only allows searches for funding opportunities, but it allows you to save multiple searches and have any hits emailed to you once a week, as well as your profile made available to thousands of researchers around the world.

3. Use your colleagues as proofreaders

Colleagues are generally really helpful in the final stages of your grant writing. Have colleagues read your final drafts of your proposal and allow them to be honest with their feedback. Remember, this exercise is to make your proposal the best it can be.

2. Showcase CNU’s transformations over the past 10 years in your grant application

Every grant application I have seen requires a statement on current resources available at your institution. CNU offers a number of advantages over other institutions in the way of new research space, active undergraduate research programs, summer stipends for students and possible matching funds. Granting agencies want to see that this type of activity is supported on your campus and these programs illustrate the importance of research in our mission.


There comes a point when you have done everything you can to learn the art of grantsmanship; now it is time to WRITE your grant. Put your ideas on paper and send away your application. The worst thing that can happen is you are not funded and a reviewer gives a GREAT idea to incorporate into your next submission

Radford Faculty