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.


Email Distribution Lists
Sign up here for the UNH Research Community email list as well as for other interest area and sponsor email lists for notices about funding opportunities of special note, other opportunities, and important changes to procedures or policies.


Positioning Oneself to Succeed in Grantseeking    Presentation Slides
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 and Large Center Development Office, including readiness assessment tools, also are discussed.




ORCID, which stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID, is a unique, persistent digital identifier that distinguishes individual investigators and can be used to connect researchers with their contributions to science over time and across changes of name, location, and institutional affiliation.

These free identifiers are assigned and maintained by the non-profit organization ORCID.

Through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, it supports automated linkages between a research and their professional activities, ensuring that their work is recognized.

Why get an ORCID?

Personal Benefits

Federal Requirements

  • Individuals supported by NIH training, fellowship, career development, and other research education awards are required to have an ORCID iD linked to their personal eRA account
  • On August 23, 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a new Public Access Policy memo and therein (Section 4) it states that no later than by the end of 2027, all federal funders will need to require grantees to obtain a unique digital persistent identifier that meets the common/core standards of a digital persistent identifier service defined in the NSPM-33 Implementation Guidance. ORCID iDs meet these requirements.


Social Media

Twitter and Facebook are ways to share your work, your enthusiasm for research, and stay connected to your students during and after working with you as well as your peers and the public.



Includes all research products, not just publications

Save citations from PubMed or, if not found there, manually upload citation files or enter citation information using My Bibliography templates

When linked to an NIH eRA Commons account:

  • see whether publications comply with the NIH Public Access Policy
  • start the compliance process for publications
  • associate publications with awards

Can create URL to allows users to access anonymously

An anonymous URL from My Bibliography can be included in the NIH biosketch


Web Pages
Consider creating
(and keeping up-to-date)
pages on:

  • Platforms such as LinkedIn and ResearchGate
  • Your university web site
  • A personal or lab web site that allows you to provide a current cv., highlight your research team, and showcase images and other details of your research

mySites at USNH  and myPages are easy-to-use resources available for free for UNH faculty

SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae


Electronic system that helps researchers assemble the professional information needed for participation in federally funded research. SciENcv gathers and compiles information on expertise, employment, education and professional accomplishments. Researchers can use SciENcv to create and maintain biosketches that are submitted with grant applications and annual reports.

What SciENcv does:

  • Eliminates the need to repeatedly enter biosketch information
  • Reduces the administrative burden associated with federal grant submission and reporting requirements
  • Provides access to a researcher-claimed data repository with information on expertise, employment, education, and professional accomplishments
  • Allow researchers to describe their scientific contributions in their own language

Principles of SciENcv

  • Any researcher may register
  • Leverages data from existing systems
  • Data are owned by the researcher
  • Researcher controls what data are public
  • Researcher edits and maintains information
  • Researcher provides own data to describe research outcomes
  • Researcher has ultimate control over data in biosketch

SciENcv currently is one of the two options for preparing NSF biosketch and Current & Pending (Other) Support documents.
For proposals submitted after October 20, 2023, 5:00 PM, SciENcv will be the only option for preparing these NSF documents.


PROJECT INVENTORY WORKSHEET - Individual:    xlsx   pdf


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

Communicating with Sponsors

Communication is a two-way process between the sponsor and the applicant.  See this overview for more.....

Become Familiar with 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 USNH 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 UNH Research Communuty e-list.

Monthly issues dating from July 15, 2012 to the present are available in USNH’s SharePoint here.

See What Sponsors Have Funded

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 (varies somewhat between sponsors)
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


Tips and Hints

Effective Practices for Contacting Program Officers at Federal Agencies

NIH PO Relationship Building

Interacting with Federal Agencies to Increase your Chances of Funding Success --
Developing a Relationship with Your Program Officer         Slides    Recording


Working with an NSF Program Officer (NSF Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, March 10, 2021)
What to Include in a One-pager (NSF Division of Molecular and Cellular Bioscience, February 12, 2020)

2021 DARPA Discover DSO Day Summary and Best Practices to Engage (Lewis-Burke Associates, June 30, 2021)

Can We Talk-Contacting Program Officers --- Robert Porter

What to Say - and Not Say - to Program Officers --- Chronicle of Higher Education

Advice for Meeting Directors at NSF --- 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: Why I Became a Grant Reviewer.

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 ORCID iD 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)


DOD & DARPA -- Dept. of Defense and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

E-mail a current résumé or curriculum vitae to the program manager who runs the program that most closely aligns with your expertise and indicate your interest in becoming a reviewer.  Find program descriptions and program manager contact information in a specific solicitation that fits your work or by reviewing the current Broad Agency Announcement and/or webpages for the service branch you're interested in:

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


Office of Science

Send an email to the program manager (PM) identified in a funding opportunity that matches your area of research or in an abstract of a funded project (https://pamspublic.science.energy.gov/WebPAMSExternal/interface/awards/AwardSearchExternal.aspx)


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 
Program Officers List.

NEA -- National Endowment for the Arts


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