Aviation Proposal Writing


  1. Know your agency and what the agency needs.
  2. Collect and critically analyze background information related to the proposed area of investigation/comprehensively review the literature.
  3. Read the application instructions carefully. Then- re-read them.
  4. Read and understand the agency mission. Make sure you understand the agency review process. This data is readily available on most agency websites. Take time to learn it.
  5. Contact the program manager before writing. Clarify information from the RFP and website. Also ask questions like, “What are two reasons why PI’s haven’t been funded?” “Where are the holes in the program?” “Will you review a draft proposal?” “Can I get a list of the reviewers?”
  6. If the program manager will review your draft or specific aims, plan ahead so this can be sent several weeks prior to the submission date.
  7. Ask colleagues to review your initial idea and later, your proposal, before it is sent to the agency. Ask them to be brutally honest in their review. Constructive criticism HELPS.
  8. Organize the application in a logical manner making it easy for the reviewers to read. Use major and minor section headings and a detailed table of contents. Follow guidelines on font size, margins, number of pages, etc. Clearly address review criteria in your application.
  9. Write clearly and without jargon, using technical language only as needed. Some experts say to write at a fifth-grade level, written so anyone can understand. We don’t ALWAYs suggest this. It depends on the agency.
  10. If your proposal is not funded, contact the program manager to gain their input, make the suggested changes and resubmit.

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