An evidence-based guide to writing grant proposals for clinical research

Ann Intern Med. 2005 Feb 15;142(4):274-82. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-142-4-200502150-00009.


The competition for funds to conduct clinical research is intense, and only a minority of grant proposals receive funding. In particular, funding for patient-oriented research lags behind that allocated for basic science research. Grant writing is a skill of fundamental importance to the clinical researcher, and conducting high-quality clinical research requires funds received through successful grant proposals. This article provides recommendations for the grant-writing process for clinical researchers. On the basis of observations from a National Institutes of Health study section, we describe types and sources of grant funds, provide key recommendations regarding the process of grant writing, and highlight the sections of grants that are frequently scrutinized and critiqued. We also provide specific recommendations to help grant writers improve the quality of areas commonly cited as deficient. Application of this systematic approach will make the task more manageable for anyone who writes grants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / economics*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Research Support as Topic / standards*
  • United States
  • Writing / standards*