Eight steps to turn your ideas into grants

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The idea behind this simple, eight-step guide is to help you transform your research idea into a competitive grant application. For this purpose, we have divided this guide into serial, logical steps:

Step 0: Introduction

Before embarking into this exciting adventure, keep in mind that having a time line is essential: depending upon the scope of your grant, you need to plan several months ahead. You may get by with three month’s lead time for a small, single-investigator internal grant, but for a larger, multi-investigator external application you may realize that even six months is too little time. So plan as early as possible, keep track of your progress and ask experienced investigators for advice when it comes to larger projects. Many grant writing efforts have yielded no deliverable results because of inadequate planning and time.

Often, you will find that you have to go back one or two steps and work again on a certain step. This is natural for a project, and therefore the serial nature of this guide is only conceptual. In other words, feel free to work through these steps as you see fit for your idea or project.

Although this guide targets relatively junior investigators, we have included practical ideas for improvement of various strategies at all stages of a research project that might appeal to investigators at any career stage.

This guide will work best if you have a clear research idea in mind. Your question or hypothesis does not have to be written in stone, and you will probably modify and refine it based on information gathered during the next steps. However, it is always advisable to formulate a clear question to guide your work.

Examples of clinical research questions would be:

  • Is intervention x (drug, device, strategy, policy etc.) improving outcome y (survival, admissions, quality of life metrics, condition-specific metrics, clinical surrogates, or cost etc.) in patients with condition z?
  • What is the optimal dose, duration, route etc. for agent x in patients with condition z to improve outcome y?
  • What is the association of exposure x (risk factor, biomarker etc.) with outcome y in patients with condition z (or any specified population)?
  • What is the effect of intervention x to prevent disease or outcome y in a population defined by characteristics z1, z2, z3 etc. (without the disease or outcome)?

Basic science questions are likely to be more discipline specific, but might include:

  • Does intervention x in an animal model of disease y improve outcome?
  • What are the cellular mechanisms responsible for response y?
  • What is the pattern of (gene, protein, metabolic parameter) expression associated with (disease, condition, response) y?

Often, you will be able to identify potential weaknesses and areas for improvement by just trying to ask the question properly.

Step 1: How novel is your idea? Know your bibliography.

Knowing the bibliography landscape is the crucial first step for any research proposal. No matter how novel your research idea may sound to you, other groups may already have been working on the same topic for some time – or surprisingly, some important answers to your research question may have already been published. This works the other way, too: do not assume that your question has already been investigated! Often times, logistics or system-related issues may have prevented exploring an idea, but new technologies overcome these barriers, and here is where you come in.

There are several key resources to accomplish this important first step. PubMed is your friend, but there are several enhancements you can use to put order into the literature chaos and some additional resources you can use to make sure you are abreast of the latest developments – this is important if you are seeking funding for your idea. An online PubMed search is probably the first exploratory step, but you want to be systematic if you are serious about seeking funding. Also, you will want to optimize your time by organizing your findings.

  1. Make sure your PubMed search is comprehensive:
    • One search strategy combining high sensitivity and specificity would be to look for the keywords of interest in the title or abstract of the article - type:
      “keyword1 [tiab] AND keyword2 [tiab]”
    • Use wildcard characters for efficient search strategies:
      “heart failure [tiab] AND echocardiograph* [tiab]” will cover both “echocardiography” and “echocardiographic”;
      “heart failure [tiab] AND hospitali* [tiab]” will cover “hospitalized”, “hospitalised”, “hospitalization”, and “hospitalisation” (both US and UK spelling)
    • Remember to cover synonyms, especially if trends in terminology have changed over time: for example, today the term “heart failure” has prevailed, but older articles refer to “cardiac failure” and also “cardiomyopathy.”
  2. The Emory Health Sciences Library offers workshops to help you optimize PubMed use.
  3. Although PubMed offers several online tools to save and organize your work, it is far more efficient to use bibliographic database software solutions for this purpose. For one, bibliographic database software will allow you to directly cite literature in your proposal or your paper. There are several solutions for this purpose:
    • EndNote can be downloaded for free from Emory and works on both Windows-based PCs and Macintosh computers. It is excellent for generating small-to-midsize article collections, citing articles, and creating bibliographies in any style. If working together with other people and on multiple computers (Windows & Macintosh), this is a way to collaborate on references. EndNote can create both static and dynamic (smart) groups of references to organize your PubMed searches and any additional previous work you want to have handy. You can also attach/download PDF copies of articles for easy reference. Finally, if you are tablet-savvy, EndNote offers an iPad version and cloud-syncing capability between your devices. EndNote is therefore the most flexible solution – excellent for starting a project. Emory also offers classes, instructional videos and other resources on EndNote.
    • Sente is an Apple-only (Mac and iOS) solution with cloud-based syncing between devices. Sente has industrial-strength organizing capabilities, including saved PubMed searches that will run periodically in the background and notify you of new hits – this will keep you constantly updated. You can also rate and tag references in iTunes style and assign statuses (like “read” or “cite”) for future work. Sente can also directly insert references in Word files and create bibliographies using EndNote-readable fields (to collaborate with EndNote users or use previous, EndNote-formatted work). Sente is a comprehensive solution – best for large or advanced-stage projects.
    • Mendeley is a free web-based reference manager and also an academic social network. There are clients for all major operating systems and mobile devices. Mendeley is a great tool for collaborative work on references and is capable of importing references from various websites, including PubMed, using internet browser plugins. Mendeley is capable of inserting references and bibliography directly into Word using a plugin. You can find more on the Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library website on Mendeley.
    • Zotero is another web-based solution with desktop clients available for major operating systems and plugins for major browsers. You can capture references from PubMed and other sites. Zotero is also capable of inserting references and bibliography directly into Word and LibreOffice using plugins. Learn more on the Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library website on Zotero.
    • QUOSA Information Manager (QUOSA IM) is a tool designed to retrieve, organize, and analyze full-text articles and documents easily and efficiently. QUOSA IM is integrated with some of the most popular bibliographic databases (such as PubMed) and content aggregators (such as Ovid). This integration enables users to continue performing their primary searches on the native search interfaces of these sites, with added productivity tools provided by QUOSA IM. The user thus has one “dashboard” from which he or she can search, retrieve, manage, and analyze full-text articles in simple but powerful ways. This client is no longer supported by Emory, but detailed instruction on the software’s capabilities may be found here.
    • If you are a Mac user, you may also want to check Papers and Bookends. These are Apple-only bibliographic management solutions, but integrate pretty well in the Mac OS environment and offer many useful features.
  4. If you are using PubMed directly for a quick search, remember to install the Emory LibX plugin (works with Firefox and Chrome). This extension will provide direct access to Emory University Library resources so that you can view full text of articles and download PDFs directly.
  5. Do not forget to browse the latest abstracts for breaking science. There are several ways to do this:
    • Web of Science, a free resource for Emory faculty and staff, now indexes abstracts from major conferences and is probably the most efficient approach. Works basically like PubMed in terms of searching strategies.
    • For very recent major conferences, you should browse the online abstract index (most major conferences now offer this capability) or obtain a copy of the abstracts CD to browse.
  6. BIOBASE: This database is a wide range of custom informatics services which can reduce the time spent on collection and organization of literature-derived information, as well as application of that information to data analysis. BioBase serves more than 600 customers worldwide, including Emory University. Types of questions BioBase can help answer are:
    • Interested in finding out what's known in the scientific literature about a particular gene, disease or drug?
    • Want to apply that information to high-throughput data analysis?
    • Interested in finding out about transcription factors and microRNAs?  
    • Want to search the BIOBASE Knowledge Library (BKL) by topic or multi-gene data sets?

HGMD (one program in BioBase) is widely used in human genetics research, diagnostics, and personal genomics applications. This data source enables scientists to identify human genome variations of functional significance and known elements such as disease mutations and regulatory sites.  BioBase provides comprehensive data on human inherited disease mutations. Its compilation of structured, manually curated data from the peer-reviewed literature enables quick access to both single mutation queries and advanced search applications.

BioBase has a unique upstream data analysis system that combines promoter and pathway analysis tools and enables you to identify transcription factors affecting gene expression in your microarray and RNA-sequencing experiments, as well as predict how they, in combination, can induce observed gene expression patterns.  From this database, you will learn how to take your analysis further and gain insight into key upstream signaling regulators influencing the activity of these transcription factors.

BioBase Trainers come to the WHSC Library to review the major functions of their database. To gain an access to BIOBASE, please contact:

Jeremy M. Kupsco, PhD
Research Informationist
Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library
Emory University
Tel (404) 727-0301
Email: jkupsco@emory.edu

Step 2: How fundable is your idea? What funding mechanism would be right for you?

Looking for previously funded projects

After performing extensive literary searches you may not have found any publications related to your idea, but that may not mean it is not currently being investigated. A good measure is to look for previously funded and potentially overlapping projects.  Furthermore, it helps to know what type of research a sponsor has funded in the past to gauge interest for your future project. The process is straightforward for NIH grants. Other funders have various systems for previously funded grants, so this might take some research. Below are some suggested places to start searching for currently funded projects:

  1. For NIH grants, the most comprehensive and centralized resource is NIH RePORTER.
  2. Several other societies and agencies offer also webpages of ongoing and previously funded projects:

Eligibility

Make sure you are eligible for the applications of interest before embarking on the application process. Sponsors usually have specific criteria for faculty and/or visa status.

Looking at the sponsor’s “agenda”

Another important consideration when you are looking for a sponsor for your proposal is to make sure that your proposal is responsive to, and aligned with, the sponsor’s mission. To do so, look for stated missions and agendas (project “alignment”)

  1. Carefully review mission statements. Here is an example from the NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 
  2. Review recent planning meetings, minutes, and agency agendas. Here is another example from NHLBI.

Selecting the appropriate funding mechanism


Internal Funding

The decision on the  correct mechanism for you will be influenced by many factors, including your professional degree, amount of preliminary data and whether you have had any previous federal funding, among others. To get your project off the ground, you may want to take advantage of one of the internal funding opportunities listed below which are described in detail on the Department of Medicine website:

  • Emory Medicine Catalyst Funding Program
  • Emory Medicine Bridge Funding Program
  • Department of Medicine FAME Grants
  • University Research Committee Grants
  • Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) funding opportunities
    • Pilot Grant Program
    • Seed Grant
    • KL2 Clinical Research Career Development Program
  • Regenerative Engineering & Medicine (Emory and Georgia Tech)
    • Innovative Research Grants   
    • Strategic Priority Grants
  • Emory Medical Care Foundation

Also, do not forget to subscribe to the Department of Medicine (DOM) weekly “What’s Up in DOM Research?” newsletter for researchers, which includes funding opportunities and other resources.

External Funding

If you are ready for external funding, make sure you search the following databases, which are also available through the Department of Medicine:

  • GrantForward – a search engine updated daily to include funding opportunities spread across 39 subject areas and 2009 categories. Sign up for an email digest of funding opportunities tailored to your specific keywords or browse online. Login from Emory the first time to create and verify your account – then you can access the site from anywhere. Watch a webinar on how to use this service.
  • TRAIN - view helpful information about 60 organizations that together provide $750 million in medical research grants in a year.
  • Foundation Center - foundation opportunities. You must use this link to access the Emory subscription (cannot go to foundation site directly for subscribed items). External visitors should use foundationcenter.org.
  • Grants.gov - all federal grant making agencies represented 

Also, it is a great idea to subscribe to the NIH listserv to receive its weekly list of research opportunities including new requests for applications (RFA) and program announcements (PA).

What is the difference between an RFA and a PA?

  • Requests for Applications (RFAs) are typically one-time solicitations for grant applications addressing a defined research topic. Each RFA specifies the scope and objectives of the research to be proposed, application requirements and procedures, and the review criteria to be applied in the evaluation of applications submitted in response to the RFA. Although there are exceptions, these types of solicitations offer only one application receipt date.
  • Program Announcements (PAs) are used by the institute to announce its interest in building or enhancing its research program in a particular area. The PA typically is an ongoing solicitation, accepting applications for multiple receipt dates, for up to three years. The PA specifies the scope and objectives of the research of interest, application requirements and procedures, and review criteria to be applied.


The NIH has several different funding mechanisms specific for career stage, degree type and can depend on the current stage of your project. Be sure and investigate which grant mechanism is right for you.

There is also a step-by-step guide to select the appropriate NIH mechanism offered by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

More resources

Contact the sponsor’s grant officer

Whenever you are in doubt about your eligibility as an investigator or your project’s suitability for funding by a sponsor, do not hesitate to contact the grant officer. Remember, grant officers are there to help you and it is in their interest to see you succeed in moving on with a great project. Your success is also their success, so it is always a good idea to get input from the grants officer.

For NIH applications, Program Officers are institute-specific science professionals who maintain a grant portfolio based on scientific expertise. They can serve as an advocate for investigators and research.  They can discuss the results of your review and make suggestions for improving the application for resubmission. The NIH recommends that you contact your Program Officer early in the preparation process before you submit your application.

Also, for every agency that has multiple review committees, you want to make sure that the right people are reviewing your application and the Program Officer can help you with that. Here is a list of the NIH study sections.

You can – and probably should – include your communications with the Program Officer in your cover letter to reinforce your position.

Step 3: Can someone help you gauge and improve your idea?

Collaborative tools

  • iResearchGeorgia is a website collaboration between Georgia Research Alliance and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. It provides information on research expertise in Georgia mostly in biosciences (with the plan to expand to other fields in the future) with multiple public and private GA universities. The site includes faculty profiles, publications, research grants, CVs, and patent information.
  • eBIRT, electronic Biomedical Interactive Resource Tool, is an interactive website by the Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI), Research Technologies Program, Biomedical Informatics Program (BIP), and Emory University IT Services and Research Solutions. In the area of biomedical research, eBIRT allows you to search for different resource types in different research areas at different institutions, allowing you to find equipment, collaborators or training.
  • Coming soon! Emory FIRST will allow users to search for keywords to find colleagues studying a certain area. 

Discuss your specific aims with a senior colleague at Emory

The Department of Medicine offers a Consult Program that offers feedback and advice on grant ideas for faculty at any stage in the process from experienced grant writers and/or study section members in informal individualized consultations. Additional guidance may be offered after the initial session if deemed appropriate by the consultant. A good idea would be to prepare a solid ”Specific Aims” page and then arrange for a one-to-one session.

Attend a K-Club

The Emory+Children’s K-Club, sponsored in part by the Department of Medicine, provides an important avenue for sharing and exchanging the most relevant and useful career development award information. 

Move from Career Development Awards (CDA) to independent funding

This program is designed to supplement the mentoring CDA awardees already receive with the purpose of helping them set and implement a path for successful transition.

Step 4: Gather preliminary data

Although preliminary data may not be required for early stage or discovery projects (and this will often be specifically stated in the funding mechanism), having preliminary data to show feasibility and knowledge of the topic is always a major plus for your application. Again, the guide from NIH is great tool to give you an idea of what mechanism might be appropriate for the level of data you have and vice versa (i.e., what data you might need for the mechanism you have in mind).

Biorepositories at Emory

This list of biorepositories began as an initiative to increase collaborative research within the Department of Medicine and is now a campus-wide resource.

Emory Clinical Data Warehouse

Please note: All Department of Medicine (DOM) faculty should submit requests directly through the DOM Data Analytics & Biostatistics Core.
The Clinical Data Warehouse is a great resource to gather preliminary data for clinical research at Emory, especially in terms of population availability or describing the population at Emory. Started in 1994 as a repository and reporting tool for primarily financial data, the Clinical Data Warehouse has grown and expanded to become a repository of both financial and complex clinical data. It is used for:

  • Tracking outcomes across patient populations
  • Tracking financial performance
  • Clinical research
  • Improving clinical processes and practices
  • Improving business processes and practices
  • Reporting to regulatory bodies
  • Quality Assurance


Report Requests:
Requests for data (not requests for individual access) come to the Data Warehouse through email and phone messages. Most requests are handled within 1-4 days as workload permits. Most requests are delivered as attachments through email.

Research Requests: Requests for data for the purpose of research are handled individually in accordance with the IRB process. The Medical Record Department approves all requests before they are filled by the Data Warehouse staff. The IRB documents must specify the data that can be released. The inclusion of protected health information must be authorized by the IRB. Requests for counts used to determine if there are adequate cases for the research project might be allowed prior to IRB approval if protected health information is not included. You may want to consult the Hitchhiker’s Guide to get some guidance as to where you need IRB approval and other compliances before requesting Data Warehouse data. 

Please note: All Department of Medicine (DOM) faculty should submit requests directly through the DOM Data Analytics & Biostatistics Core.

Publicly Available Data

Although in general it is a good idea to have your own local data when applying for funding, it may be of use to explore publicly available data in case you want to demonstrate a specific association or prevalence of a condition.    

The ARC Listserv

What is it?

The ARC (Animal Research Classifieds) is an Emory listserv that sends out classified ads whenever anyone has or needs extra animals. Instead of euthanizing these animals, a use is found for them so that other animals do not have to be used. The ARC acts as an electronic clearinghouse but serves a real purpose of not wasting animals.

What are the caveats?

All intended uses or dispositions must be approved on an IACUC protocol. This is a simple amendment, however. In the “Disposition of Animals at end of study” section of the protocol, designate “Released for Study” and answer the follow-up question with “Animals may be transferred to other investigators.” When the animals are transferred, an animal transfer form from one protocol to the other must be submitted.

This is not a public listserv.

To sign up, please send an email to Dr. Larry Iten with "ARC" in the email title. The more people sign up, the more effective this effort will be.

Step 5: How to get help with study design

There are several resources at Emory to get you started with your study design.

Department of Medicine Data Analytics and Biostatistics (DAB) Core

(Department of Medicine faculty) To facilitate the Department of Medicine’s aims and objectives for clinical, education, and research advancement, the DAB Core seeks to provide high quality Biostatistics and IT Data management services by leveraging existing services in the Rollins School of Public Health and the Information Technology Department.

The available support covers the following topics:

Biostatistics and Study Design

  • Analytic plan development
  • Protocol development (for both IRB approval and implementation)
  • Sample size calculations
  • Case report form design
  • Statistical analysis


Clinical Data Extraction

  • Data extraction from data sources in a compliant manner, leveraging Emory’s IRB-approved Honest Broker service
  • Coordination of data requests
  • Definition of requirements and translation to appropriate queries
  • Proper data stewardship
  • Integration of data from multiple sources
  • Extraction of data in a format for use


Biomedical Informatics Faculty-level Guidance

  • Opportunities to establish innovative techniques for algorithm development
  • Biomedical informatics analysis
  • Biomedical informatics development

ACTSI Research Resources

ACTSI is also a great source for consultation assistance.

The Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) is a partnership of Emory University with the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). An investigator from any of these 3 institutions is eligible for support from ACTSI.

You can also submit a request for consultation if you have needs in ethics, regulatory, bio­statistics, epidemiology, research design and/or bioinformatics, and community services. These Studio Consultations can be either for separate areas needed or in multiple areas (clinical research, biostatistics and informatics).  Other resources are available as well. The ACTSI's Clinical Research Network (CRN) in particular is helpful. After a protocol review and approval by the CRN Scientific Advisory Committee, CRN can provide support in different areas in clinical research such as review of proposal, study design, and others. The submission form and supporting documents are on the website. Most consultations are free of charges.

Funding opportunities for clinical and translational investigators are also listed on the ACTSI website.

Overview of Study Design Resources at Emory 

Click to launch Research Resources 101 webinar

Overview of Clinical Study Designs

Understanding Retrospective vs. Prospective Study Designs (PDF) - talk by Andreas Kalogeropoulos, MD, PhD, MPH

Common Equipment, Resources, & Specialized Expertise

Equipment and Specialized Expertise

Core Facilities (starts with Department of Medicine, then lists School of Medicine and University)

Resource sharing listserv - Run out of a common reagent? Just need two of a certain supply and the minimum order is 100? Perhaps you just want to borrow a certain piece of equipment for an hour, or maybe you're looking for a specific genetically-altered mouse and are wondering whether a colony exists within the Department? Use this listserv to contact colleagues in the Department who may be able to share resources.

Step 6: Understanding the budget

The Department of Medicine Research Administration Service (RAS) team facilitates preaward and postaward activities in the department:

Once you have formulated a basic study design, contact the RAS unit for pre-award help, i.e. for someone to help you put together a budget that follows Emory policies on fringe rates, indirect costs, etc. Plan ahead and contact domraspreaward@emory.edu as soon as you have an idea about the study design. For most applications, you will also need RAS to fully and formally develop the budget for your application submission. This can take between 30-90 days, so be mindful of RAS deadlines.

This is an important step before moving forward at full speed, because the feasibility of your idea will be also dependent on the budget constraints. A few points are important to consider before you meet with your assigned RAS pre-award specialist:

  • Discuss with a senior colleague how much effort the project will take so that you have a realistic sense of how much you will need to work on your project (your “% effort”).
  • Discuss with a senior colleague what human resources will you realistically need, e.g., a clinical research coordinator or a lab technician  – these are key considerations.
  • Think carefully about the methods/processes you are proposing to conduct and every cost associated; you will need to include these costs.
  • Find out about items costs. The RAS can update you on latest Emory fees for research procedures, animal costs, and labs, etc. You may also want to look for other vendors for things you may have to outsource.
  • Add actual names of collaborators and staff whenever possible in your budget justification instead of “generic” placeholders e.g., “TBD”, “TBA”, “to be hired,” etc. Being specific about roles in your project increases credibility and conveys feasibility.


Helpful slides from K-Club presentation: "Everything but the science: The importance of supporting documentation in your research grant application" (PDF)

Step 7: How to improve your grant proposal

Department of Medicine Consult Program

The DOM Consult Program offers feedback and advice on grant ideas (at any stage in the process) from experienced grant writers and/or study section members in informal individualized consultations. Additional guidance may be offered after the initial session if deemed appropriate by the consultant:

Ask for help early in the process!
It is a great idea to meet early with an experienced investigator and discuss at the “specific aims” stage, i.e., after drafting a single but well-thought out page outlining the background, objectives, aims, and hypotheses of the proposed project. You can also seek help at a later stage when your application is more mature, but it is always easier to make changes early in the development process.  Regardless, seek help in advance – do not wait until the deadline approaches!

General proposal writing resources

Department of Medicine Proposal Development and Grant Writing Support Program

This program offers support with Dr. Janet Gross for the following:
  • Restructuring and preparing an NIH K or similar career development award
  • General assistance with overall grant writing and critical feedback on a full application
  • Critical feedback preparing the introduction and structuring the A1 proposal for a grant resubmission
  • Strategy to make a strong case for a particular Request for Applications (RFA)
  • Large, multi-centered or multi-PI grants with several authors who need assistance in 'writing with one voice' and overall feedback regarding internal consistency and responsiveness to the RFA

Successful grants, templates and examples

View the Department of Medicine's Grant Writing Resources page for tips.

More grant writing resources at Emory

Additional links to check out

Learning from failed proposals

http://chronicle.com/article/How-to-Fail-in-Grant-Writing/125620/

NIH-specific guidelines

General paper writing tips

How to write a paper in scientific journal style and format

Manuscripts and Books


  • Russell, S.W., and Morrison, D. C. (2009) The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook – National Institutes of Health, Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops, LLC: Los Olivos, CA. (grantcentral.com)
  • Inouye, Sharon K., and Fiellin, David A. An Evidence-Based Guide to Writing Grant Proposals for Clinical Research Ann Intern Med, 2005;142:274-282.
  • Porter, Robert.  Why Academics Have a Hard Time Writing Good Grant Proposals. The Journal of Research Administration, 2007;38: 37-43.
  • Urrutia, Raul.  Academic Skills: A Concise Guide to Grant Writing. Pancreatology 2007; 7:301-310. 
  • Gill, TM, McDermott, Mary M, Ibrahim Said A., et al.  Getting Funded Career Development Awards for Aspiring Clinical Investigators, J Gen Intern Med; 2004;19:472–478.
  • Friedlander, Andrew J. and Folt, Carol L. (2009) Writing Successful Science Proposals, 2nd ed. Yale University Press: New Haven.
  • Katz, Michael Jay. (2009) From Research to Manuscript A guide to scientific writing, 2nd ed. Springer: Springer Science + Business Media: NY.

Source: The above resources plus examples of the Institutional Environment section can be found on the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences website.

Facilities and Resources Section verbiage

The Emory Commons website features a section with cores, infrastructure, and organizational information for inclusion in the Facilities & Other Resources section of your grant application. Click “Facilities & Other Resources” at the top left of the Emory Commons website.

Graph software to improve visuals

These are several user-friendly programs with a focus on statistical graphs that are great for producing professional presentation and analysis of the data without the need to understand complex statistical platforms:

1. Prism (graphpad.com)

GraphPad Prism, available for both Windows and Mac computers, combines scientific graphing, comprehensive curve fitting (nonlinear regression), understandable statistics, and data organization.

2. SigmaPlota helpful program for PC users.

SigmaPlot Overview


  • Quickly Create Exact Graphs
  • Easy Data Visualization
  • More than 100 2-D and 3-D Graph Types
  • Customize Every Detail of your Charts and Graphs
  • Quickly Plot your Data from Existing Graph Templates
  • Publish your Charts and Graphs Anywhere
  • Share High-Quality Graphs on the Web

Diagram Software to Improve Visuals

A great-looking diagram to communicate complex concepts can be a powerful weapon in your armamentarium. Although presentation software (PowerPoint, Keynote, or other slide-oriented solutions) can help, there is special software to generate professional diagrams that can take it to the next level. Here are two examples:

Additional Resources for Visuals

  • View instructions on how to create high-quality TIFF or EPS figures from other files such as PowerPoint. High-quality images are not only a requirement from most journals but it is also a good idea to insert crisp, high-quality figures and images into your grants.

Software Learning Resources

  • MS Office - Microsoft Word is a powerful tool. Learn how to use this tool and other MS Office programs efficiently to create outstanding documents and compelling grant applications.

Other Relevant Software

The Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library subscribes to Lynda.com.

Users can download practice files and watch video tutorials for more than 1,500 courses on various software programs, including Excel, Access, SPSS and R. Click here for a complete list of courses on Lynda.
Note: this resource can only be accessed from computers in the Specialized Software Lab in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library.

Software available to Emory users

Includes software such as SAS and EndNote. Some software is free to download. Requires Emory login.  

IT resources for Emory researchers

View complete list, including data storage, software licenses, website development, and more.

Acknowledgements & Contact Info

See outdated information? Broken links? 

Please email us at domresearch@emory.edu


This guide was created by the Research Support Subcommittee:

Andreas Kalogeropoulos, chair (Cardiology)
Mitsi Blount, co-chair (Renal)
Ashley Freeman (Department of Medicine administration)
Aloke Finn (Cardiology)
Young-Mi Go Kang (Pulmonary)
Nawazish Naqvi (Cardiology)
Nadine Rouphael (Infectious Diseases)
Xiaonan Wang (Renal)