For New Applicants

Here are some pointers to help you with your first application. You will likely have more success funding your research proposal—and find your work more rewarding—if you know  your objective at the outset, rather than trying to devise a research proposal to suit a particular funding opportunity.

Assess your research interests and skills and the resources available at Meharry and affiliate institutions. What type of research questions are you really interested in? Which of your research skills provide the best platform for launching a research program? What skills are best obtained through collaborations? Talk to someone early in the process about institutional resources, here and at neighboring institutions. We welcome your inquires about institutional resources in the Office for Grants Development. Write your ideas down and refine them frequently as you proceed.

Perform an extensive literature review. Learn what is known and what is not known, but is important for someone to discover, about the concept you are developing.

Brainstorm your ideas with colleagues in your department, other colleagues, and potential collaborators.

Make formal appointments to discuss your ideas at length and get advice from:

  • your department chairperson
  • relevant center directors
  • senior research administrators in the Office for Research--especially the Office for Grants Development (telephone 615.327.6288 or 2201 H.D. West Building)

Identify potential funding mechanisms (see

Familiarize yourself with priority areas for relevant fundingagencies using publications and funding websites.

Visit exhibits (booths) at national scientific meetings and speak with program officers for federal and non-federal funding agencies. Visit the booths early during the meeting as the person most knowledgeable about your content area will normally have scheduled times to host the booth. You can maximize the outcomes of these meetings by being prepared.

Always download instructions and read them carefully before beginning to write or outline your application.