USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture


The USDA-NIFA Version of The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook has been designed to help researchers prepare a competitive grant application to address agricultural research, education, and extension challenges. It guides readers through use of the relevant Request for Applications (RFA) to inform the writing of a proposal, as well as how to develop an idea that will fit within NIFA/AFRI programmatic priorities, with an emphasis on those under the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program. You may click on the page icon on your right titled, Principal Changes in This Edition, to learn what changes were made to the USDA-NIFA Version of the Workbook. You may also wish to click other page icons to view some of the Workbook updates, sample pages and information. The USDA-NIFA Version is available by clicking Add to Cart on your left!

Readers are led step-by-step through the application. We present our systematic approach for creating a compelling proposal Introduction/Overview that includes clear delineation of the need; well-defined long- and short-term objectives; strategic presentation of background literature and supporting preliminary data; and well-argued statements of significance and novelty. In addition to sample sections scattered throughout the workbook, this edition contains complete examples of an Overview subsection, Rationale and Significance section, and a Project Summary from a successful AFRI proposal.

This edition also includes discussion of Integrated/Extension proposals, involvement of stakeholders and producers, and proposals that do not involve traditional hypothesis testing work. Practical tools like a writing schedule template, bulleted outline exercise, sample sentence stems, and extensive USDA and other online resources are provided. Finally, we address how to seek and use pre-submission review, along with electronic submission of the application through Grants.gov as last steps in the proposal development process.


USDA-NIFA announced a new approach to making grant applications on March 11, 2015, which requires that we revise and update our Workbook. Sales of the new, updated version should begin again in May or June. If you would like to be notified when the newly revised USDA Workbook is ready, please provide your email address and we will contact you.