Positioning for Grant Seeking Success

Will you and your project be competitive when applying for grants? 

Here are strategies to position yourself to succeed in grant seeking -- assessing readiness, getting to know potential funders, building relationships with program officers, and becoming a reviewer -- and  some practical advice on how to implement them.

Positioning Oneself to Succeed in Grantseeking, 4/22/19    
Success in obtaining funding for research or scholarly activity is more likely if the investigator has laid a solid groundwork and can communicate ideas effectively to potential funders. This worksho presents advice for: targeting one’s efforts, framing research and scholarly goals as fundable ideas; articulating the human impact/ real-life applications of research/scholarship; the purposes of proposals; and gathering needed information. Assistance and resources available through the Research Development Office, including readiness assessment tools, also are discussed.


Kathy Cataneo
Director, Research Development
Phone: (603) 862-0357

Lynnette Hentges
Senior Associate, Research Development
Phone: (603) 862-2002

Michael Thompson
Senior Associate, Research Development
Phone: (603) 862-5255



Learning about sponsors’ missions, priorities, and grant making processes will help you determine the best source of funding for your projects.

Start at Sponsor Types
Explore Sponsors’ Resources
  • Home page features
  • “About” web site section
  • Strategic plans
  • Research priorities
  • Budget requests
  • Annual reports
  • Serve as a reviewer
  • Webinars
  • Grants conferences and offerors’ days
  • Contact with staff at conferences and meetings
  • Advisory boards
Read Research Development and Grant Writing News

This monthly newsletter available to the UNH community provides timely advice on funding opportunities and how to compete successfully for research and education funding from federal agencies and from foundations. New issues, published mid-month, are emailed to the Research Office PI/PD List.

Current and back issues are available in Box:

See What Sponsors Have Funded
  • Use Dimensions a linked research knowledge system
  • Search the sponsor’s database:
CDC Center for Disease Control and Prevention
CNCS Corporation for National and Community Service
DHHS Dept. of Health and Human Services
DOC Dept. of Commerce
(Includes DOC, NOAA, NTIA, EDA, CENSUS, and other DOC units)
DoD Dept. of Defense
DoD – CDMRP Dept. of Defense -- Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs
DOE Dept. of Energy
DOE Dept. of Energy - Office of Science
DOE Dept. of Energy - Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)
DOE Dept. of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
DOJ -- OJP Dept. of Justice -- Office of Justice Programs 
DOL -- ETA Dept. of Labor -- Employment and Training Administration
EDA Economic Development Administration
ED -- IES Dept. of Education -- Institute of Education Sciences  
EPA  Environmental Protection Agency Use
HRSA Health Resources & Service Administration
IMLS Institute of Museum and Library Services
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NEA National Endowment for the Arts
NEH National Endowment for the Humanities
NIDILRR National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research
NIH National Institutes of Health
NOAA -- CPO National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Climate Program Office
NSF National Science Foundation
PCORI Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
SBIR-STTR Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
TRB Transportation Research Board  
USDA US Dept. of Agriculture
USDA -- NIFA USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture
All agencies National Archives
All agencies Research.gov
(Only NSF and NASA awards as of July 2019)
All agencies USA Spending


A key to successful grant seeking is to build on-going relationships with Program Officers (also known as Program Area Priority Contacts, Program Contacts, National Program Leaders, Program Staff, Technical Points of Contact).

Relationships with the program officers can allow you to gain valuable decision-making information, both before and after you submit your proposal. By making this intellectual connection, you can draw on the program officer’s experience in your research area and in the sponsor’s priorities, preferences, and processes.

Successful awardees consistently and overwhelmingly attest to importance of this relationship building.

Role of the Program Officer (may vary somewhat with sponsor)
Before Submission
  • Serves as the “face” of the program
  • Cultivates new/the best ideas
  • Provides informal feedback re: project match with program
  • Reviews submitted LOIs for match with program
During Review
  • Manages the peer review process
  • Makes recommendations for funding based on peer reviews and other factors
  • Communicates outcomes of review to applicants
After Review
  • Provides feedback and consultation on declined proposals
  • Manages award administration
  • Reports performance, summaries, success stories and highlights to the sponsor
  • Provides program communication, including outreach and promotion


Ways to Contact Program Officers
  • Send an email to request a phone conversation or in-person visit
  • Meet at professional meetings/conferences – serendipitous or scheduled
  • Attend sponsor-hosted grants conferences, proposer days, etc.
  • Watch for and attend program officer visits to UNH


Tips and Hints

--- Robert Porter

体育365 --- Chronicle of Higher Education

--- Richard Nader

One of the best ways to learn how to craft a competitive proposal is to serve as a reviewer. In addition to providing you with a chance to see a range of proposals (effective and not-so-effective), reviewing helps you become familiar with a particular grant program and/or sponsor, build your relationship with the program officer, learn how the sponsor’s review criteria are interpreted by other reviewers, and network with colleagues in your field. It is also a way to provide service to your discipline.

This article and the comments after it provide additional insights: .

Most federal agencies are always seeking to add to their rosters of potential reviewers to ensure a sufficient level of expertise and skill is present in the review panels without conflicts of interest.

Follow the links below to volunteer to be a peer review for these sponsors. If the sponsor/program you’re interested in isn’t listed, send an email to the program officer and ask!

Helpful hints

Before (and after) applying, be sure your website, c.v., and other online professional profiles are up-to-date and include relevant keywords about your research areas.

Before applying, get a unique personal identifier by signing up for an and authorizing ORCID to link up your publications.

Before applying, familiarize yourself with the sponsor’s mission and the program’s goals.

When applying, be sure to(1) highlight relevant background and experience, not just your scholarly credentials, e.g., work and volunteer experience, college education, working with at risk youth, grants you have written or managed, completed research studies or articles, etc., and (2) explain why you will be a good reviewer for that sponsor and program.


Sponsor Links
ACF -- Administration for Children and Families

ANA -- Administration for Native Americans

CB -- Children’s Bureau

FYSB -- Family and Youth Services Bureau

Basic Center Program

Family Violence Prevention and Services Program

Street Outreach Program

OCS -- Office of Community Services

Community Economic Development

ACL -- Administration for Community Living (formerly US ED/NIDRR)

DOE -- Dept. of Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

DOJ - Dept. of Justice
BJA -- Bureau of Justice Assistance – Office of Justice Programs

NIJ – National Institute of Justice

OJJDP -- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

E-mail a current résumé or curriculum vitae to OJPPeerReview@lmbps.com. Write "Peer Reviewer Candidate" in the subject line. Applicants should indicate their juvenile justice-related knowledge and experience, including: gangs, mentoring, girls' delinquency, children's exposure to violence, substance abuse, tribal juvenile justice, Internet crimes against children, and more.

DOL -- Dept. of Labor
Employment and Training Administration (ETA)

DOT -- Dept. of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration – TMIP Peer Review Program

ED -- Dept. of Education
Office of Postsecondary Education

EPA -- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Send an e-mail request including a brief CV to Benjamin Packard (packard.benjamin@epa.gov) of EPA’s Peer Review Division.

Fulbright Faculty Scholars

HRSA -- Health Resources and Services Administration

IMLS -- Institute for Museum and Library Services

NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

If you don't see anything relevant on this list, then write to the program officer who runs the program that most closely aligns with your expertise. You can find contact information for all of them at the 

NEA -- National Endowment for the Arts

Send an email to panelistforms@arts.gov

NEH -- National Endowment for the Humanities

NIH -- National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Early Career Reviewer (ECR) Program

NSF -- National Science Foundation

SAMHSA -- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

USDA -- Dept. of Agriculture
ARS -- Agricultural Research Service

NIFA -- National Institute of Food and Agriculture