NRSA Proposal Preparation



In order to prepare a competitive application, you should plan to spend a whole quarter working on the research plan (for help see PDF below). Expect to spend as much time writing as you would if you were taking a 3-5 credit class.

In addition, you and your advisor will need to write a training plan. The purpose of NRSA grants are not just to complete research, but rather to train new researchers who will contribute to the scientific community. The training plan will need to show that you have educational goals that will be accomplished along with the research goals.

You and your advisor should use the following guide when writing your Research Plan and Training Plan (PDF).

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Modeling Party

A modeling party will address all of the issues that you will discuss with your advisor. Instead of discussing them in-depth one-on-one, you will be meeting with 4-7 people so they can discuss your grant as a group. The modeling party will bring some special advantages:

  • there will be multiple perspectives from different experts;
  • the participants will not have seen your grant before so they will be able to evaluate it more objectively;
  • the discussion format allows conflicting opinions to be hashed out and yields better suggestions than any of the participants could offer on their own.

You will schedule a modeling party after you have completed a draft of your research plans and training plans. The modeling party will include yourself, your advisor, other dissertation committee members, and other faculty who are expert on your research topic or research methods. The attendees should include at least one faculty who has served as a reviewer for NRSA grants who can help you look at your grant from the perspective of the funder.

If you are ready to schedule a modeling party, please send an email to ONR staff will assist you with identifying attendees and scheduling a time when they can meet. You will send the attendees a copy of your draft at least a week ahead of time so they have time to read it and formulate comments.

Grant Editor

The Office for Nursing Research can assist you with the preparation and review of grant proposals - including but not limited to general editing, revising, substantial re-writing, and formatting.

The editing staff in ONR supports all researchers in making the best possible case for significance, innovation, and strength of grant proposals. 

Remember: the primary focus of a grant review is on the research and training plans. However, poor spelling and grammar will still make you seem less competent and will hurt your chances of being funded. There are several intelligent PhD students who are do not have English grammar and spelling as their strong points. If you know that your skills in this area might hurt your chances, it would be prudent to take advantage of ONR's grant editor.

To schedule an appointment, send a request to