Concocting that Magic Elixir: Successful Grant Application Writing in Dissemination and Implementation Research Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: This paper reports core competencies for dissemination and implementation (D&I) grant application writing and provides tips for writing a successful proposal. METHODS: Two related phases were used to collect the data: a card sorting process among D&I researchers and an expert review among a smaller set of researchers. Card sorting was completed by 123 respondents. In the second phase, a series of grant application writing tips were developed based on the combined 170 years of grant review experience of the writing team. RESULTS: The card sorting resulted in 12 core competencies for D&I grant application writing that covered the main sections in a grant application to the US National Institutes of Health: (a) specific aims that provide clear rationale, objectives, and an overview of the research plan; (b) significance that frames and justifies the importance of a D&I question; (c) innovation that articulates novel products and new knowledge; and (d) approach that uses a relevant D&I model, addresses measurement and the D&I context, and includes an analysis plan well-tied to the aims and measures. CONCLUSIONS: Writing a successful D&I grant application is a skill that can be learned with experience and attention to the core competencies articulated in this paper.


  • Brownson, Ross C
  • Colditz, Graham A
  • Dobbins, Maureen
  • Emmons, Karen M
  • Kerner, Jon F
  • Padek, Margaret
  • Proctor, Enola K
  • Stange, Kurt C

publication date

  • December 2015