Proposal Editing Services

Proposal editing and boilerplate writing services for faculty are available from the Office of Research and Economic Development department of Research Development. There is no fee for this service. Editing can include light editing for proof-reading and copy editing, or deeper editing for appropriate and effective language, style, and document structure.

Note that while use of this editing service may improve the quality of your document, we regrettably cannot guarantee that your proposal will have a better chance of being funded.

What services are available?

  • Proofreading (light editing for grammar, punctuation, spelling, typographical errors, etc.);
  • Editing (word choice and agreement, flow, style, sentence structure, paragraph organization, identify inconsistencies);
  • Formatting (improve formatting and headings, formatting to agency guidelines, reduce word count, proofing images/legends; add 1-2 days to deadline);
  • Alignment with sponsor requirements;
  • Preparation of boilerplate or general information language;
  • Specific issues that need to be addressed. Special issues should be discussed before editing begins.
  • This service does NOT include budget reviews, although budget justifications can be included for editing.

How are these services requested? 

Fill out the online form to request services. In addition to completing the information, a copy of the application guidelines and current text must be included.

Who may request the services?

Any USA faculty member or staff member who is eligible to submit a proposal to an external funding source. We do not provide editing services for internal submissions.

If multiple requests are submitted for services, how are the services prioritized? 

The services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. However, there will be times when multiple requests are received, and/or some requests may require more time for completion than others. In those instances, some priority will be given to applicants who:

  • Are early career investigators moving toward independent investigator careers;
  • Are working on a proposal for a large federal grant;
  • Are revising a declined proposal with comments;
  • Are developing an interdisciplinary proposal;
  • Have a record of previous engagement with RCDL programs and resources, e.g. Fellows.

When do I need to submit my request?

  • As soon as possible. There may be a waiting list during periods of high demand.
  • PROOFREADING OR LIGHT EDITING: Generally any request must be at least one week prior to your deadline.
  • FULL EDIT: Drafts should be submitted two full calendar weeks in advance of the proposal due date if a full edit is requested.
  • BOILERPLATE: Requesting assistance with boilerplate will require at least three weeks in advance.
  • You will be informed at the time of submission if there is sufficient time to review the document prior to the deadline.
  • Leave yourself time to finalize the suggested changes and consult with the editor if needed. Reminder: submit as early as possible! 
  • Note that as of October 2022 Sponsored Projects Administration (the unit that handles external submissions, NOT our unit) requires the routing of a submission-ready proposal five business days in advance of the sponsor deadline in order to receive a thorough review. A late waiver is required for proposals submitted less than 24 hours before the sponsor deadline. Submission of a proposal to RCDL for editing should be planned with Sponsored Projects deadlines in mind.

In what format should the text be submitted?

Editing will be done in Microsoft Word and returned as tracked changes. LaTeX users should submit documents in PDF format.

Submissions should be a reasonably complete draft of the full proposal if the request is for a final edit.