To Write a Proposal

Grant Proposal Editing/Writing Resources

The Office of Research and Innovation is pleased to announce Grant Proposal editing/writing resources to help prepare faculty competitive proposals. The Grant Writer resources will assist faculty in the development of small and large proposals across multiple agencies. The Office of Research and Innovation will cover the expenses associated with editor support.

We have a variety of Grant Proposal editors available with a track record of success in supporting faculty from other institutions. We have partnered with Hanover Research, a grant development firm headquartered in Arlington, VA, to provide Grant Proposal editing/reviewing resources and to help faculty prepare competitive proposals.

If any faculty member would like to take advantage of this opportunity, contact to make arrangements.

Service Offerings

Consultation Session

Consultations are an excellent option for PIs seeking advice on how to frame a research project to match a funder’s priorities. Sessions are conducted via conference call and are generally one hour in length with the PI option to close out Hanover’s engagement with a subsequently scheduled 30-minute follow-up call. Hanover offers three types of consultation sessions:

  • Unfunded Proposal Consult: For PIs preparing to resubmit a previously declined proposal but uncertain how to address reviewer feedback and other critiques within the rewrite.
  • Research Design Consult: For PIs needing guidance on how to pitch a research idea to a program officer.
  • Grant Seeking Strategy Consult: For PIs looking for expert advice on how to frame a research idea to better align with a funder’s strategic priorities.
Proposal Review

A Hanover grants consultant provides a peer review of the research proposals, assessing the narrative for its degree of alignment with the funding opportunity announcement and evaluating the proposal based on review criteria. This type of proposal review is most suitable for PIs who are in the early stages of the proposal writing process, such as, completing a first draft of the specific aims page and research strategy sections. For most projects, the cutoff date for submitting proposals to Hanover Research is five to seven weeks before the sponsoring agency’s proposal submission deadline.

Proposal Revision

A Hanover grants consultant takes proposal review a step further by tracking changes and margin comments to suggest revisions to the proposal narrative. These suggestions focus on achieving clarity and effective use of language, including punctuation and grammar. Proposal revision is most suitable for PIs that are in the later stages of their writing process, such as, completion of a final or near-final draft of his/her specific aims page and research strategy sections. For most projects, the cutoff date for submitting proposals to Hanover Research is five to seven weeks before the sponsoring agency’s proposal submission deadline.


How are projects selected for the Hanover Research queue?

The Office of Research manages the pipeline of projects submitted to Hanover Research. Several factors are taken into consideration when evaluating projects for Hanover Research, including but not limited to the faculty member’s willingness to share proposal materials and honor agreed-upon deadlines, the completeness of proposal documents, sponsor deadlines, and current pipeline capacity. Every effort is made to accommodate all PI requests.

Who is eligible for Hanover’s services?

To be eligible for Hanover’s services, the PI must be a faculty member with a primary appointment at The University of Texas at Dallas.

How does Hanover Research approach proposal critiques?

Hanover Research makes no claim that its grants consultants are subject matter experts who can evaluate the specific science underpinning a research proposal. Rather, Hanover’s value lies in its understanding of proposal and agency nuances that can help PIs competitively reframe proposals in response to a specific solicitation. Hanover Research seeks to achieve cohesion in the grant narrative and to align the proposal with funding requirements. A Hanover grants consultant may address general scientific elements of a proposal, such as:

  • Construct or structure of the hypothesis and methodology. While Hanover Research does not purport to provide “scientific reviews” that evaluate the specific science behind proposals, its grants consultants will notate areas they believe could be strengthened and better aligned.
  • Literature review. Hanover Research grants consultants will notate instances where a citation is needed and has not been included.
  • Clarity and focus. When they may lack sufficient clarity, consistency, or rigor, Hanover Research grants consultants will pose questions to encourage the PI to verify the science, and/or suggest a review by a senior colleague or program officer.
How does Hanover Research protect the confidentiality of PI materials?

All documents are shared with Hanover Research via secure File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to protect the exchange of confidential information.

How does Hanover Research work with each PI?

After a project is accepted in Hanover’s pipeline, the PI will receive an email introducing the assigned grants consultant. Consultation sessions are generally one hour in length and take place via conference call. For proposal review and revision services, Hanover Research first schedules a project initiation conference call prior to the start of work. Project initiation calls give the PI an opportunity to discuss specific areas of concern with the assigned grants consultant and to share reviewer feedback (if available). After Hanover Research releases its deliverables, the PI is afforded the opportunity for a debrief conference call to discuss Hanover’s critique and to address any outstanding questions or concerns.

What parts of a research proposal will Hanover Research critique?

Hanover’s proposal critiques focus on the narrative components of research proposals – namely the specific aims page, research strategy, and (for resubmissions) the introduction. For resubmission proposals, the PI should be prepared to provide a copy of the unfunded proposal along with reviewer feedback.

What type of proposals are appropriate for Hanover Research to critique?

Hanover Research has the expertise to review a wide range of proposals, including individual grants (e.g. K, R01, R21, R03), program projects, center, and institutional training grants. Hanover Research will work with new submissions, resubmission proposals, and competing renewal applications. For resubmissions of unfunded proposals and competing renewal applications, PIs will be asked to provide a copy of the original submission along with reviewers’ comments (e.g., summary statement).

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Please direct questions to Emily Lacy, Associate Director of Sponsored Projects for The University of Texas at Dallas, at or 972-883-4540.

About Hanover Research


Established in 2003, Hanover Research is a grant development and market research firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Hanover’s grant professionals have collectively more than 150 years of grantsmanship experience that cuts across a wide range of foundations and federal agencies. Hanover has worked extensively with higher education institutions to grow their research portfolios and has helped clients to secure more than $500 million in awarded grants. The company’s grants practice supports both junior faculty members and seasoned investigators seeking to strengthen their grantsmanship skills. Hanover has considerable expertise in relation to the mechanisms and agencies commonly targeted by PIs at the College of Medicine. Grant mechanisms include individual grants (e.g. K, R01, R21, R03), program project grants, center grants, and institutional training grants. Representative funders include the NIH, NSF, DOD, AHRQ, PCORI, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Hanover Team Biographies

Bryan DeBusk, Senior Grants Consultant

Credentials: PhD, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Mississippi; BS, Biology, Ouchita Baptist University

Biography: Bryan specializes in program design, research design, and proposal development to support the grant writing efforts of basic and clinical researchers, higher education faculty, and other college and university staff. Since transitioning from a university faculty appointment to full- time grant writing in 2008, Bryan has helped clients obtain more than $245 million in funding from NIH, NSF, HRSA, DOL, ED, other federal & state agencies, and private foundations.

Rebecca Huenink, Senior Grants Consultant

Credentials: B.A., Comparative Literature and Literary Translation, Brown University

Rebecca has more than 15 years of experience developing winning projects and proposals to help researchers and public benefit organizations succeed. Her experience includes concept design, fundraising, and grant development for educational institutions and nonprofit organizations nationwide. As a Grants Consultant, Rebecca has a special focus on strategy: helping researchers think strategically about the role of grants in their work, and helping organizations proactively cultivate fruitful long-term relationships with funders. She is also expert at managing team-based development of complex proposals, synthesizing information from many sources to craft unified, compelling narratives. Rebecca has strong program expertise in education, STEM outreach, workforce initiatives, and community and rural development.

Sarah Ott, Senior Grants Consultant

Credentials: M.S., Exercise Science and Health Promotion, California University of Pennsylvania M.S., Journalism, West Virginia University B.S., Journalism, West Virginia University

Biography: Sarah provides grant review, writing and project design services for clients around the country including major post-secondary institutions and academic research institutions. Sarah predominantly works on health-related proposals supporting a variety of investigators including physicians, nurse researchers, pharmacists, medical faculty, and basic scientists. Her areas of expertise include clinical and translational science, patient-centered outcomes research and program development and evaluation. Prior to coming to Hanover, Sarah accumulated a decade of grant writing experience at two large academic health sciences centers. While at Hanover, Sarah has added successful state and foundation proposals to her federal experience with agencies such as DOD, NIH (P01, R01, R03, R15, R21, R37, U01 and U54), HRSA (R40), CDC, AHRQ, and ED.

Tom Kuhn, Grants Consultant

Credentials: M.A., Philosophy, New York University; B.A., English and Philosophy, Texas State University

Tom focuses on assisting partners with the full range of grant strategy, project and research design, and proposal writing. He has substantial experience in evidence-based program design and project management for the development of complex projects in STEM research and education, healthcare and health sciences and small business initiatives. He works with executive, clinical, and technology teams to develop and fund innovative health IT, data analytics, and practice optimization projects. He is also actively assisting faculty researchers, universities, and private businesses working to transfer and commercialize federally funded research. Tom has secured over $100 million in federal and foundation grants and related investments to date and has served as a reviewer for multiple federal agencies.

Melissa Cornish, Grants Consultant

Credentials: MS, Public Health/Health Policy, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill BA, Sociology, Interdisciplinary Studies, Emory University

Biography: Melissa provides Hanover and its higher education clients with grant reviews, writing support, and project design services. Her experiences in grant writing and proposal refinement span proposals to the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and a number of private foundations dedicated to funding clinical and translational science and health services research. Prior to joining Hanover, Melissa served as project leader/manager at a large academic medical center and other research -intensive institution where she identified and managed research collaborations and provided extensive business development support in the form of grant writing and proposal/budget development, strategic planning, program development, and communications and marketing.

Steven Jax, Grants Consultant

Credentials: PhD, Psychology, Pennsylvania State University MS, Psychology, Pennsylvania State University BA, Psychology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Biography: Steven provides Hanover and its higher education clients with grant reviews and writing support. He has experience in grant writing and proposal review for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Administration of Community Living, U.K. Medical Research Council, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and several private foundations. Before joining Hanover, Steven served as a research scientist for 14 years at a medical center research institute, working in the field of neurorehabilitation. During this time, he obtained funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and a private foundation. In addition, he worked with several interdisciplinary teams (including engineers, physical therapists, neurologists, and computer scientists) to develop funded grants.

Leigh Fanning, Grants Consultant

Credentials: M.P.A, University of Colorado; B.A., Sociology and Human Services Fort Lewis College

Leigh brings over 15 years of experience in program consultation and grants administration, with expertise in securing funding from a diverse representation of government agencies and private foundations. Her background in stakeholder engagement, policy analysis, and sustainability planning supports clients through all stages of the proposal development process. Leigh serves as a peer reviewer for federal grant competitions and has taught by appointment as lecturer faculty within the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Rob Guroff, Grants Consultant

Credentials: M.P.P., Education and Social Policy Georgetown University; MS, Psychology, College of William & Mary

Rob joined Hanover in 2014 after six years in the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Brown University. At Brown, he sought grants for financial aid and scholarships, guided the grantseeking efforts of education outreach programs, and worked closely with leadership and faculty in the new School of Engineering. Prior to this role, Rob worked in the Development Department of the American Red Cross National Headquarters in a variety of analyst and prospecting roles, considering how to engage different audiences with appropriate cases for support. At Hanover, Rob is focused on helping higher education clients develop compelling cases for new and existing programs. He relies on his policy training to assist clients as they strategically highlight expected impact.

Jamee Hoefert, Grants Consultant

Credentials: PhD, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder BA, Biology, St Olaf College

Biography: Jaimee provides Hanover and its higher education clients with grant reviews and writing support, with a focus on proposals for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Prior to coming to Hanover, Jaimee worked as a bench scientist and accumulated experience writing, critiquing, and assembling grants alongside clients and colleagues. She also has over five years’ experience writing about scientific topics for a lay audience, and leverages that expertise to help researchers create grant proposals that are both compelling and easily understood.

Chris Nance, Grants Consultant

Credentials: B.A., Cognitive and Human Factors Psychology, New Mexico State University

Chris began grant writing and program development in 2002, serving non-profit, government, health care, and education entities in the San Diego region. By 2004, he was working with agencies in cities and counties nationwide. In 2010, Chris was promoted into a supervisory and content management role for a national grants consultancy, where he managed a team of grant professionals working on multiple varied proposals simultaneously. During his career, Chris has helped secure more than $125 million in federal, state, county, foundation, and corporate grant funding across a wide spectrum of funding areas.

Susan Perri, Grants Consultant

Credentials: M.P.A., University of Colorado; B.S., Health Science, Goddard College

Susan works with NGOs, health care systems, university systems, and K-12 school districts of all sizes nationally. In her capacity as a Grants Consultant, she develops state and federal grant proposals, including data analyses, needs assessments, program evaluation, and sustainability planning. Susan has more than a decade of experience developing grant programs for organizations nationwide. Her grants have secured more than $40 million in new funding for positive youth development, workforce development, nursing and science education, faculty development, laboratory and health facility renovations, student retention, health literacy, patient support, health information technology, chronic disease management, behavioral health and rural health projects. Susan has also served as a federal peer reviewer for ED and HHS.

Stefanie Toombs, Grants Consultant

Credentials: Ph.D. Candidate, Business Psychology & Organizational Leadership, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; M.A., Industrial Organizational Psychology & Healthcare Administration, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; B.S., Psychology, Southern University and A&M College

Prior to joining Hanover in 2013, Stefanie worked as a Federal Programs Director within the Louisiana Office of the Governor-LCLE, where she secured and managed more than $86,000,000 in disaster recovery funds and $24,000,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Stefanie also has a background in Hospital Administration and experience consulting with Federally Qualified Health Centers. Since 2002, Stefanie has worked to secure more than $100 million in funding from federal government agencies, local municipalities, foundations, and other private funding sources including, but not limited to: the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, and the National American Red Cross.