Release Date: September 22, 2014
Category: Scientific Grant Writing
Author: Sonia M., Ph.D., E.L.S.
When you submit a grant proposal (e.g., R01, R03, R21) to the NIH, you are allowed (and sometimes required) to submit a cover letter with your application. The purpose of the cover letter is to allow you to submit additional information to the review officer about where you would like your grant submitted, suggest ideal reviewers, and provide any other information that may be useful to better assign your grant proposal to the ideal reviewers. Only the NIH review officer will view your cover letter; the grant reviewers will not see your cover letter.
The NIH requires that you include a cover letter in the following situations:
You are allowed, and even encouraged, to submit a cover letter with any grant proposal. This allows you to provide useful information that can help ensure that your grant proposal is assigned to the best possible reviewers in your area. You can choose to include any of the following information in your cover letter:
The information you include in your cover letter will help provide the CSR with valuable information to help ensure your grant proposal is sent to the appropriate study section and reviewed by the most appropriate reviewers. Because the CSR sorts more than 80,000 applications every year, they do not have a long time to read each letter, so you should keep the cover letter as brief as possible to highlight your main points (you can even use bullets to make your points stand out). Additionally, it is helpful to use separate paragraphs for each point and/or request in the letter.
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