National Institutes of Health



NOTE:  Effective January 25, 2019 there will be changes in the way that grant applications to the NIH are written and reviewed. Updated versions of The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook – NIH version will be published and available for purchase by the beginning of January, 2019. If you would like to be notified when the publication is available for purchase, please send a message to

The 2018 National Institutes of Health (NIH) version of The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook was updated to comply with the 2018 NIH “FORMS-E” grant application forms and instructions that were required of applications submitted on or after January 25, 2018. For details on the principal changes in the 2018 edition, please see our December 5 blog.

In our experience, good ideas submitted to the NIH are turned down more often because of poor packaging and presentation – i.e., poor grantsmanship – than for any other reason. The NIH version of our Workbook is designed to avoid that trap.

This Workbook will serve as your step-by-step guide to writing a compelling, fundable NIH grant application. We explain how to write each component of the proposal, after which we offer an example. We then invite you to write something comparable for the subject that you are presenting. As you make those responses, one after the other, the first draft of your application gradually falls into place.

In addition to the latest NIH changes, this edition also includes the NIH requirements on how to improve the rigor of experimental design, along with how the transparency of your proposal can be enhanced. It also demystifies how you should present the scientific premise for your application, to include how you should discuss strengths and weaknesses of preliminary results and published literature. Different uses of conceptual and technical preliminary results are also described. The chapter on the Approach subsection of the Research Strategy was previously expanded to help you address potential sources of biological variation, especially those related to sex. New restrictions on the use of appendix material are explained and all URLs and screenshots have been updated.

You may sample content of this Workbook by clicking on the links to the right. Give yourself a competitive advantage when you write your next proposal to the NIH by investing in the latest The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook – NIH Version, available for purchase today!