Grant Writing

CLRES 2076: Introduction to Grant Writing for
Postdoctoral Trainees (1 credit)


Clear and precise writing is an essential part of effectively communicating scientific discoveries and successfully competing for external research training support. At the conclusion of this course, participants will have learned the:

    (1) process of applying for external funding and the types of federal
         and foundation funding mechanisms available;
    (2) skills necessary to effectively communicate a hypothesis; and

    (3) skills necessary to construct a grant application.

In addition, through active participation in the course, participants will complete a draft of their own application. This course is targeted to post-graduate PhD- and MD-level scientists interested in applying for National Institutes of Health (NIH) F and K series grants (including K99/R00), other federal training grants (e.g., VA, DoD) or nonfederal foundations grants. In addition, this course will satisfy the professional development requirements of T32-supported trainees.

Please note:

  • US citizenship or permanent residency status is required to apply for NIH T and F series fellowship awards.
  • Only one NIH K award mechanism accepts applications from foreign nationals: K99/R00
  • Some foundation fellowships may accept applications from foreign nationals depending upon the sponsor.


Spring 2020 - January 27, 2020 - April 6, 2020 - 8 sessions over 11 weeks
Mondays, 6:00-8:00pm

1105AB Scaife Hall


January 27

Finding the Right Institute and Funding Mechanism for your Research (e.g. NIH F and K Series Awards, Foundation Awards)

February 3

Components of a Training Grant Application; How to Write a Specific Aims Page and NIH Biosketch

February 10

How to Develop and Write a Personal Statement and Training Plan; Small Group Peer Review of Specific Aims and Biosketch

February 17

Putting Together Your Mentorship Team; Outline Training Plan; Review of Revised Specific Aims and Biosketch

February 24

No Class

March 2

How to Write a Significance and Innovation Section; Review of Personal Statement and Training Plan

March 9

How to Write a Research Plan; Review of Significance and Innovation Section

March 16

No Class

March 23

Small Group Peer Review; Mock Study Section

March 30

No Class

April 6

Small Group Peer Review; Mock Study Section


Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
Scientist Administrator, Office of Research, Health Sciences

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


(1) English Language Proficiency
Postdoctoral associates, postdoctoral scholars, and research associates university-wide, who earned their doctoral degrees at English-speaking institutions, are eligible to apply for non-degree student admission.

Others must demonstrate:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) score of at least 100
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least Band 7
  • Completion of University of Pittsburgh English as a Second Language Courses

English language proficiency testing will be offered by the English Language Institute. More information on how to register is coming soon.

(2) Faculty Mentor Support

Faculty mentors will be expected to provide guidance and constructive feedback on course assignments; therefore, a letter of support is required from your faculty mentor. You will need the support and encouragement of your faculty mentor to successfully compete for a research training award. Consequently, enrollment in this course will be limited to only those applicants who provide a letter of support from their faculty mentor that:

    (1) affirms your scientific readiness to compete for a research training grant,
    (2) clearly articulates your faculty mentor’s understanding of the importance
         for you to attend every session, and

    (3) demonstrates your faculty mentor’s overall commitment to your
         career success.


Participants will be expected to submit and bring to class drafts of sections of their application as they are covered in the course, beginning with Specific Aims in the second week of the course. Participants also will be expected to read and critique sections of grant applications of other participants as they are developed during the course and join in class discussions of these applications. At the conclusion of the course, participants will have produced a draft of their grant application.

This course will be pass/fail. Passing this course will be based on attendance of at least 75% of lectures, submitting drafts of application sections, and participating in peer review.


Registration is by special permit only. Postdocs will be contacted by an advisor to complete the registration process.

Financial responsibility is incurred upon registration.


Description of Postdoctoral Educational Benefits. View Benefits

Illustration of financial responsibility for a 1-credit graduate course after tuition benefits are applied. View Illustration

Postdocs are encouraged to ask their faculty mentors to reimburse their out-of-pocket expenses for graduate credit courses.

Postdoc Tuition Payment Instructions for Administrators


The deadline to apply for this course is Wednesday, January 8, 2020, or until maximum capacity is reached (30 students).


Complete the Non-Degree Graduate Student Admission Application and submit it to

Download the Application Form

You will be contacted by an advisor to determine if you are eligible to register for the Grant Writing course.


If you have any questions, email or call (412) 648-8486 to talk with an advisor.

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