Proposal Assistance for Individual Investigators

For individual investigators submitting research proposals in any field, the Office of Research Development offers a range of materials and services.


  • Proposal Tools (templates, checklists, etc.) for a number of the required sections of NIH and NSF grant applications
  • Tip Sheets on general grantsmanship topics (e.g., clear and concise writing, advice on contacting the program officer, writing a letter of support)
  • Specific Aims (or Overview and Objectives, or Goals) Consultation.This executive summary of your application goes by different names depending on the funding mechanism. It fuels the reviewers’ first impression, and it is critical to nail it by clearly and persuasively stating WHAT you want to learn, HOW you will proceed, and WHY the funding agency should fund you. One-on-one assistance constructing and refining specific aims or goals sections is available for Tufts faculty. To request one-on-one assistance, please contact us (ideally two months or more, but at least two weeks prior to your deadline) and provide
    • A draft of your specific aims, goals, or objectives page
    • The funding agency to which you are applying
    • The Request for Application (RFA) to which you are responding (if applicable)
  • Grantsmanship Assistance for Full Proposals, including
    • Comments on organization
    • Adherence to RFA or other regulations
    • Readability
    • Overall presentation
  • Pre-Submission Copyediting of Final Proposal


To inquire about any of the above, please contact the Office of Research Development as long as possible in advance of any internal or agency deadline.

The amount of assistance we are able to provide depends largely on the amount of notice you give us. At a minimum, we request you contact us two weeks* before your final proposal is due to Central Pre-Award Office. All proposals MUST be reviewed by Pre-Award prior to submission to ensure compliance with all university and federal requirements. Please contact your Local Research Administrator as soon as you begin to prepare any proposal to inform them of your plans.

*Rush requests made with less than two weeks’ notice will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis according to our capacity.