Write a Funding Application

What do I need before I can begin?

No information is required to begin.


1. Go from Concept to Proposal

Ensure that your research and/or project idea is ready to move from conception to proposal. A developed research proposal will do the following.

  • Address an important and timely problem (and explain how it will do so)
  • Advance knowledge or fill a knowledge gap
  • Include a timeline of specific activities

2. Find the Right Funding Program

To find the right sponsor or partner and funding for your idea, consult the following resources.

If available, review successful proposals in the potential program to see if your proposal is a good fit. Finally, contact your divisional research office for advice and suggestions.

3. Plan Before Writing

  • Once you have identified a suitable funding program, read the sponsor’s guidelines and make a checklist of the application components
  • Attend information sessions on the funding program; sign up for Research Alerts to receive the notices about relevant upcoming sessions
  • Contact your local research office or the Research Services Office (RSO) with questions about the application process
  • Create a timeline that includes the internal deadlines of your faculty/department and the University. Relevant deadlines are also communicated via Research Alerts

4. Target Your Proposal

Ensure your write your proposal with the target audience in mind.

  • Develop logical headings based on the funding program guidelines
  • Clearly address the evaluation criteria in the funding program description
  • Tailor the information to this specific application. Reviewers can easily tell when material has been cut and pasted from another application
  • Familiarize yourself with the review process: will the application be reviewed by specialists in your field, non-specialists, or both? Review committees are frequently composed of a multidisciplinary group that includes scholars from across a number of disciplines and non-academics such as representatives from government and industry. Tailor your proposal for the relevant audience
  • Use clear and straightforward language that conveys the merit of what you propose to non-specialists as well as to colleagues in your field
  • Share your draft with peers within and outside of your discipline for feedback

5. Utilize U of T’s Services

  • Use the funding application services offered through your local research office (administrative, editorial, financial and, in some cases, peer review support)
  • Submit your application to the Research Services Office (RSO) by the internal deadlines for administrative and financial review and, when available, editorial review


  • Help researchers identify relevant funding opportunities
  • Provide editorial support for selected funding programs
  • Answer questions about applying to external sponsors
  • Communicate information about funding opportunities, including internal submission deadlines, via Research Alerts
  • Present information sessions for select funding programs
  • Provide tip sheets for select funding programs

VPRI Contact

Find the appropriate VPRI staff member to assist you by checking our staff directory. You may search by discipline area (e.g. Social Sciences, Health & Life Sciences, Natural Sciences or Engineering, etc.) or funding agency name.



Other Resources

Proposal Writing Essentials >Seven essential tips for writing any type of grant proposal

Guidebook for New PIs, Institute of Genetics, CIHR >Excellent advice on writing grant proposals and papers

Faculty of Medicine; Grant Development >Grant editing services to for U of T medical science investigators

Proposal Development > Resources from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health