Sunday, February 25, 2018
Apply now. Deadline: March 1, 2018

Summer Course on Grantwriting in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

May 21 – 25, 2018

The Summer Course on Grantwriting in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SCG) brings together senior faculty and post-doctoral participants in the social sciences for one week of intensive study. Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the course is designed to help participants write compelling, highly competitive scientific research proposals for submission to NSF or other funding agencies.

This course should be particularly helpful to persons interested in the SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship initiative at NSF (SPRF), which emphasizes broadening participation and interdisciplinary research in the behavioral and social sciences.

Course Objectives

The workshop will cover a broad spectrum of topics, with an emphasis on the fundamental elements of research proposals; the proposal review process at NSF and other federal funding agencies; and effective advanced writing techniques.  The event will combine brief presentations by the workshop organizers with small-group discussions and one-on-one consultation to provide each participant with feedback from peers and individual attention from the facilitators.  The overall goal is to provide participants with intensive training, peer review, and hands-on exercises that will result in the development and submission of exceptionally high-quality proposals.

The SCG has three principal objectives:

  1. To provide early-career scientists in the SBE disciplines, particularly members of underrepresented groups, with a brief appreciation of research design in the social sciences, including the links between research objectives, theory, methods, and data analysis;
  2. To help participants locate NSF and other federal research support that matches their research aspirations; establish a professional working relationship with program officers; and understand the proposal-review process; and
  3. To improve each participant’s ability to develop and write a scientifically well-conceived research proposal, using NSF’s proposal template as a model.

Course Content

Upon acceptance into the SCG, participants will submit a one-page summary of a research project that follows the format of an NSF proposal summary.  The facilitators will study each project with an eye toward suggesting methodological refinements and presentation strategies.  Once participants arrive at the SCG, they will learn about NSF and other federal funding opportunities; how review panels work; and how to read a funding solicitation.  They will also learn how to interact with program officers and how to interpret reviewers’ assessments of their proposals.  By hearing facilitators deconstruct successful proposals, they will also learn to apply proven winning strategies to their own projects.

Participants will also receive hands-on practice at crafting a grant proposal.  Through homework assignments due each evening, participants will write and refine elements of an NSF proposal on their projects.  They will discuss their assignments with the entire class, in small groups, and in one-on-one conversations with the facilitators.  Through readings and class discussion participants learn how to express complex ideas in simple, accessible, interesting academic prose.  On the final day of the workshop, participants will present their mini-proposals for a review by all participants and facilitators.

Dates and Location

The course is co-directed by Kirk Johnson (University of Mississippi), Willa Johnson (University of Mississippi) and John Sonnett (University of Mississippi), with additional faculty support from Jeffrey Johnson (University of Florida) and Christopher McCarty (University of Florida).  The SCG will take place May 21-25, 2018, on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi.

Application Information

Who should apply

Persons who already hold a Ph.D. in anthropology, sociology, economics, psychology, or related fields are eligible to apply. Criteria for selection include an applicant’s interest in research design and a commitment to advancing his or her proposal writing skills, as well as an interest in research relevant to underrepresented populations. Potential participants from underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Apply now


The program covers participants’ tuition, breakfast and lunch each day, and double-occupancy hotel room at the Inn at Ole Miss.  Participants are responsible for travel costs to and from Oxford (if driving) or Memphis (if flying); the cost of a textbook; and dinners.  Single-occupancy rooms (approximately $160/night) are available at the participant’s expense.

Notification: April 1, 2018.

Supported by the National Science Foundation