Tips for Developing a Training Grant Proposal

April 19, 2024

Research Development Services (RDS)


Follow these steps, and you'll be well on your way to developing a successful training grant proposal!

  1. Utilize the RDS Training Grants Resources website 
  2. Heed the following advice from current training grant principal investigators:  

"Go for training grants in areas you're passionate about. Writing these things is truly a labor of love. Make sure it's a need you feel comfortable filling whether or not you're an expert in that area." Michael Johnson, Associate Professor of Immunobiology and and PI for NSF-funded National Summer Undergraduate Research Project (NSURP)

"Be sure to put together a community of people as excited as you are about the project, and don't just focus on the science but also think about people who will reinforce connections and keep things running in the day-in, day-out tasks." 
Heather Ingram, Program Manager for NSF-funded Building Resources for Interdisciplinary Training in Genomic and Ecosystem Sciences (BRIDGES)

"I'd recommend finding a co-PI. My co-PI and I are very different people, but we work well together. It's amazing how, when one of us has a hyper-crazy schedule, the other can fill in." 
Scott Saleska, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and PI for NSF-funded Building Resources for Interdisciplinary Training in Genomic and Ecosystem Sciences (BRIDGES)

"Talk to the agency about the grants you're interested in. NIH is surprisingly approachable, and talking with them goes a long way to hone your ideas into something they'll actually fund." 
Felicia Goodrum, Professor of Immunobiology and PI of Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging (IIDA), funded by NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

"Talk to at least three people on campus who have training grants; they're all listed on the new website. Then, come talk to us at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the graduate college. One of our university's strengths that interests funding agencies is its support of diverse students. We're still a work in progress, but we do much better than most of the top 30 public schools. We can give you information to emphasize that in your proposal."— Frans Tax, Molecular and Cellular Biology Professor and PI for NIH-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD)

"Make sure real-life, hands-on work is an essential part of the training." — Kevin Fitzsimmons, Researcher and Professor of Environmental Science and PI for USDA-funded Preparing Hispanic and other Underrepresented Students in Fisheries and Aquaculture

Read "Principal investigators share the unique significance and challenges of training grants" for more from UArizona training grant PIs. 


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