Course Details

Avoiding Common Errors in Proposal Writing

This short course distills proposal writing insights gained from more than 10,000 reviews of science, engineering and math proposals by the AAAS Research Competitiveness Program over the past five years. The course organizes frequently made criticisms into ten subject areas covering all aspects of proposal writing common errors including: introduction and background, methodology, research plan, budget, budget narrative and additional material such as letters of support. Avoiding Common Errors in Proposal Writing also reviews problems in overall strategy, formatting and layout that can lead to a low proposal ranking by a review panel. This course is useful for researchers just gaining experience in proposal writing, as well as established researchers who may be able to pick up one or two insights that can increase the competitiveness of their proposals. This course will help you:

  1. Gain knowledge in writing strong, competitive grant proposals.
  2. Develop strategies for effectively communicating your goals and how you will achieve them.
  3. Avoid common pitfalls and weaknesses seen by many reviewers.

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Course Author

image of Charles Dunlap, Program Director, AAAS

Instructor: Charles Dunlap, Program Director, AAAS

Dr. Dunlap has worked for nearly two decades leading the design and implementation of programs to strengthen and support research competitiveness in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the United States and 23 countries. His work includes designing and leading career skills competitiveness workshops for more than 4,200 scientists, engineers, and their graduate students in 17 countries. He received his Ph.D. in geology/geochemistry in 1996 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he received a U.C. Regents Graduate Fellowship and an IGPP Fellowship for research at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Course Overview

Duration: 1 hour


  • Proposal content
  • Proposal strategy
  • Proposal layout


Quizzes: 1 quiz


  • Certificate of completion
  • Earn 1 PDH

This course is also available in the Career Pathways Program

$69 for Members!



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