University of Southern California


Proposal & Grant Writing Tools

Proposal Review Service

Through the Center for Excellence in Research, the Office of Research offers a peer-to-peer proposal review service for applications to external funding agencies. In order to provide our office with sufficient time to identify a reviewer, investigators should notify Araceli Roach ( as soon as they identify the funding opportunity to which they intend to apply (or roughly four to five weeks in advance of the proposal due date), indicating the nature of the proposal and providing a link to the program announcement. We will then match the investigator with a reviewer. Draft proposals should be provided roughly three weeks prior to the due date. Faculty who wish to volunteer to serve as a mentor, please contact Silvia da Costa.

Proposal and Grant Writing Guides

Many sources of advice exist on applying for funding at specific federal agencies, offering guidance on tailoring submissions and navigating the application process. For example, NIH, NSF, and the EPA each provide a useful guide, which is based on reviews of past applications to the respective agencies, to help applicants to avoid common mistakes and to increase the odds of securing sponsorship.

NIH and NSF Guides

HHS Guides

DoD and DoEd Guides

Industry Guides

DoE, NASA, STEM and DHS Guides

NIST Guides

DOT (Department of Transportation)


DOJ (Department of Justice)

General Federal Guides

Other Useful Guides

More broadly, numerous articles and guides from academic and non-profit institutions provide general advice about proposal development. They cover topics ranging from how to write an abstract that is both lucid and an appropriate summary of the proposal, to how to create a budget for projects based within university settings. Here are a few: