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How To Prepare Grant Budget

How to Write a Grant – Part 4 – Preparing the Budget and Final Submission.

How to Write a Grant

Part 4. Preparing the Budget and Final Submission

How To Prepare Grant Budget

The fourth, and last, part of my “How to Write a Grant Proposal” series is organizing the budget and finally, uploading the entire grant application.

Regarding the budget, many granting entities allow a “modular” budget, up to the full limit of the award. A modular budget requires only a basic description of your appropriations for items such as personnel, supplies, equipment, travel, etc. Generally, one brief paragraph is recommended for each budget entry.

Often, and certainly if you are seeking funds exceeding the award amount, during grant preparation, you are required to submit a detailed budget justification (including NIH grants). Here, for “personnel” for example, you should describe each person’s expected effort, in terms of his/her total time. For example, if the employee will spend half his/her time on the proposed work, and is paid $50,000 annually, you would state 50% effort (or 6 calendar months), for a total of $25,000. You should also detail that employee’s contribution to the project, such as “maintain cells and perform all the cell experiments.” This should also be done for the other entries, such as supplies and travel.  While a grant-writing service can assist you with effective presentation of the budget justification, it is ultimately your decision on how much to spend on what.

The final and concluding step of “how to write a grant” is submitting the entire application, i.e., narrative, abstract, specific aims, budget, budget justification, and main body, to the granting agency. Today, and particularly for NIH grants, this is almost always done electronically, via upload to the agency’s website, although some foundations may still accept mailed paper applications. In the final stage of grant preparation, make sure you have completed all required sections and requested information, as an incomplete submission will likely be automatically rejected. For NIH grants specifically, you must create your own account in the “NIH Commons” registry (preferably set this up several weeks before your final submission).  Upload of the application to your NIH Commons account is achieved via a recently implemented system entitled “ASSIST.” Upload all required sections (marked with an asterisk, *), in PDF format. ASSIST specifically allows you a test submission, and will notify you of any fatal or nonfatal errors. For other government agencies or private foundations, carefully note all required information and required sections, as you may not receive a (error-provoked) rejection response before the application deadline (there is almost never any grace period to correct errors, after the final deadline). Usually for an additional fee, or perhaps included in your purchased “package,” a grant-writing service can submit/upload the complete application for you.

You are now finished with this entire formidable task (grant preparation), and your application will be sent for review! Good luck!

grant writing and preparation

How to Write a Grant – Part 3 – Main Body and Abstract Preparation

How to Write a Grant Proposal 

Part 3. Preparation of the Main Body and Abstract 

grant writing and preparation

The third part of my “How to Write a Grant” series is writing the main body and abstract of your proposal.  The main body may have alternate names, such as “Research Strategy” (for NIH grants) or “Research Approach.” This section usually requires three components: background/significance, preliminary data, and research plan.

For the background/significance section, during grant preparation, strive to maximally assert the impact of your proposed work. For example, if you are writing a small business innovation research (SBIR) grant application (offered by the U.S. government) on developing a smartphone application to help Alzheimer’s disease (AD) sufferers remember items, underscore the enormous cost of AD around the world. Also, emphasize how costs will continually soar ever higher with our aging society. This section should be about ¼ of the main body of the proposal. A good  research gant-writing service can assist you with this section.

Depending on the type of grant preparation, preliminary data may or may not be required. Whether it is required or not, think carefully about what to include. I have reviewed many grants, not requiring preliminary data, in which its inclusion was actually hurtful. Thus, even if required, limit the amount of data to only what is directly relevant to your proposed work. Many applicants make the mistake of trying to impress reviewers by a sheer barrage of data, even if irrelevant to the anticipated endeavor. This subsection should also be about ¼ of the total body.

The research plan should comprise about 50% of the total main body, and should describe detailed, achievable methods for the fulfillment of each specific aim (please see Part 2 of my “How to Write a Grant” series), and each aim should comprise one complete subsection of the research plan (especially for NIH grants). While your plan might be criticized for being too ambitious, overambition is much better than underambition. During grant preparation, spell out each experiment, or modality, to achieve each specific aim. For example, if you are writing an academic research grant on studying a new chemical for brain cancer treatment, Aim 1 might be to study the effect of the drug on brain cells grown in a dish. For that aim, you should explicitly explain in detail, and justify, how many cells per experiment, the dose and how long you will treat them (and why), how you will manipulate the cells after treatment, etc. For each aim, you should also provide contingency plans (i.e., alternative approaches) and potential pitfalls. A good bioscientific grant-writing service can greatly aid you in this process.  

Lastly, after writing the main body, I recommend going back and writing the abstract (alternatively named “project summary” (for NIH grants), “synopsis,” or simply, “summary”). During grant preparation, completing this section after the main research body will allow you to better summarize your precise ideas, and their relevance to human health.  Again, a good grant-writing service can assist you in writing an effective abstract.  
How to write specific aims for research grant

How to Write a Grant – Part 2 – Preparation of the Specific Aims and Narrative

How to Write a Grant Step 2  

Preparation of the Specific Aims and Narrative (Layperson Summary).

How to write specific aims for research grant

Following identification of, and perhaps initial inquiry to, the most promising entity for funding your concept, the next step in grant writing is organization of your ideas. Most grant-funding agencies require some type of organized statement of your research idea, as expressed as a discrete set of goals or objectives. For research funding applications to U.S. governmental agencies, including NIH grants, a one-page “specific aims” section is usually required (or very strongly encouraged) for inclusion with the other sections comprising the entire grant application. 

Depending on the duration of the funding period (e.g., six months to five years), you should be realistic about not only the number of aims, but also the scope of each aim. For this purpose, an experienced grant-writing service can greatly assist you in this process. In addition to having the appropriate amount of work proposed for each aim, the aims should interconnect, but not be entirely dependent on the successful completion of the others. For example, for grant preparation in cancer drug research, applicants might often set forth to test a drug on cultured cancer cells in Aim 1, and then test it on mouse tumors in Aim 2. However, the Aim 2 animal experiments should not be fully contingent on the drug’s success in killing the cultured cells in Aim 1, such that Aim 1’s unsuccess would entirely preclude the success of Aim 2. To avoid such issues in grant preparation, the development of alternative approaches and fallback options should be incorporated into the main body of the grant (please see the third part of my “How to Write a Grant Proposal” series). Here again, a reputable grant-writing service can be very helpful for addressing these conundrums.

In addition to the specific aims (or objectives) section, most grant providers require a layperson abstract (“narrative”). For NIH grants, this section is restricted to 2-3 sentences. For the U.S. Department of Defense and private charities (e.g., the American Cancer Society), a full, detailed paragraph may be required. For this section, be sure to remove and replace all scientific jargon (for example, change “mitochondria” to “cells’ energy powerhouses”). Preparation of this section should be routine for any grant-writing service.
Grant Search and Funding

How to write a grant – Part 1- Identifying Funding Source And Initial Contact

How to Write a Grant Proposal 

Step 1. Identifying the appropriate funding source and initial contact

Grant Search and Funding

The first aspect of how to write a grant, and securing funding for your idea, is to identify public or private entities committed to sponsoring research in your specific field of expertise. For example, if you are an academic investigator interested in examining specific gene anomalies in lung cancer, private funding sources might include the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Association. Public funding, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), could include the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ( and the National Cancer Institute ( In addition to NIH grants, you could also investigate lung cancer research funding from the U.S. Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP,

For many grant applications, to aid the review coordinator in determining the number of applications, inviting reviewers, etc., a letter-of-intent (LOI) is suggested. The LOI, specifically stating your commitment to prepare and submit a complete application, is generally due 30 days before the deadline for the full grant proposal. While an LOI is usually not required, its communication is a good idea, prior to grant preparation, and might even provide you feedback regarding the suitability of your proposed work for funding. For these initial steps, a grant-writing service might provide assistance at minimal cost. For nongovernmental funding entities, a grant-writing service can likewise support you in other means of contacting the appropriate administrator(s) (e.g., emails, telephone calls, formal letters, etc.), to evaluate the suitability of your proposed research, in accordance with the specific agency’s mission.  

For nonacademic researchers or small business owners seeking funds for novel ideas, similar or different research funding opportunities exist. For example, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) research program (, currently budgeted at ~ $2.5 billion/year, encompasses all U.S. government branches (including NIH grants), to sponsor the development of new technologies by businesses with 100 or fewer employees. In parallel, the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR, also at program encourages transfer of innovative research between nonprofit research institutions and small businesses. Finally, many NIH grants allow submission by both for-profit and nonprofit private entities.   


Grant Writing and Editing

What are NIH Grants | Historical Information

NIH Grants

NIH Grants

At Bioscience Advising, we have over eight years experience writing/editing NIH grant applications, with six of these (two R01s and four SBIRs) being successfully funded. In addition, our over seven years service on review panels for NIH grants, has provided us significant insight into the review process for NIH proposals.

The National Institutes of Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Human Health and Sciences, was founded in 1887 as the Marine Hospital Service, which then was renamed the U.S. Public Health Services, and relocated to Washington, DC in 1891. The NIH is presently headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and now consists of 21 institutes, each with a specific research focus (e.g., cancer, aging, and six slightly smaller centers. The mission statement of the NIH is to “seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems, and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.”

The NIH dеvоtеѕ 10% of its fundіng tо rеѕеаrсh within іtѕ оwn fасіlіtіеѕ ("іntrаmurаl" rеѕеаrсh). NIH institutions/centers provide 80% of іtѕ monies to "external" fundіng, a реrсеntаgе of which set aside for ѕmаll buѕіnеѕѕ innovation research (SBIR) or technology transfer ("STTR") funding. Excluding SBIR/STTR grants, NIH еxtrаmurаl fundіng соnѕіѕtѕ of over 50,000 grants, to mоrе thаn 325,000 rеѕеаrсhеrѕ, at mоrе thаn 3,000 institutions.

Researchers outside the NIH, e.g, in unіvеrѕіtіеѕ, various research institutes, and оthеr entities саn аррlу for "external funding" frоm thе NIH. There аrе numerous fundіng mechanisms fоr dіffеrеnt рrоjесt types (е.g. bаѕіс, preclincal, and сlіnісаl rеѕеаrсh, еtс.) аnd саrееr ѕtаgеѕ (е.g., еаrlу career, роѕtdосtoral fеllоwѕhірѕ, еtс.). Imроrtаntlу, the NIH rеgulаrlу іѕѕuеѕ requests for applications. In addition, researchers can аррlу fоr investigator-initiated grаntѕ whose ѕubjесt is соmрlеtеlу dеtеrmіnеd by thе scientist.

Following a doubling of its Congressional allocation from 1997- 2003, the NIH budget has largely remained stagnant since that period, at approximately $30 billion. With adjustment of the budget for inflation, the NIH budget (i.e., in constant dollars) has actually decreased by >22%, with Congressional budget sequestration resulting in an additional 6.2% decrease in nominal dollars (from 2013-2015). Expectedly, these decreased monies have resulted in a overall drop in NIH application success rates, from 29.9%, in 2003, to 18.1% in 2014; these rates, however, vary widely between institutes. Despite these travails, the NIH remains the world’s largest biomedical funding agency, and continues to fund >88.3% of all U.S. bioscientific research (with only $4 billion provided by philanthropy).

Funding support by the NIH is achieved by many mechanisms, for various time durations and award amounts, and are largely most designated by an RXX. For example,  the most common of these is the R01 mechanism, the largest single-laboratory support award (generally around $200,000/year for five years), the R21, capped at $275,000 total for two-years, the small R03  pilot project grant, $100,000 total for two years. For small business entities, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards that are split into a phase 1 (feasibility) stage ($100,000 for six months), with competitive extension to a phase II award ($1 million total for two years). In contrast to research awards, with are judged on scientific innovation and merit, SBIRs/STTRs are evaluated on their likelihood of the successful commercialization of a marketable, innovative product.

The grаnt mechanism іѕ intended tо encourage еxрlоrаtоrу оr developmental rеѕеаrсh bу рrоvіdіng support fоr thе еаrlу аnd соnсерtuаl stages оf рrоjесt dеvеlорmеnt. Thе NIH has standardized thе Exрlоrаtоrу/Dеvеlорmеntаl Grаnt (R21) аррlісаtіоn characteristics, rеԛuіrеmеntѕ, preparation, аnd rеvіеw рrосеdurеѕ in оrdеr tо accommodate investigator-initiated grant applications. Grаntѕ аrе thе major fundіng mесhаnіѕm and include іnvеѕtіgаtоr-іnіtіаtеd рrоjесtѕ аѕ орроѕеd tо NIH-іnіtіаtеd rеԛuеѕtѕ for аррlісаtіоnѕ.

Grant Writing and Editing

NIH Grants | The Importance Of Them

The Importance of NIH Grants


For almost 1.5 centuries now, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has been leading the battle against diseases by funding hundreds of thousands of research grants. Thus, the NIH makes progress in widely disparate health sectors such as heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and numerous other public health concerns. Over the years, NIH-funded scientists have been awarded with recognition of their research, including several Nobel Prizes. Therefore, it is quite evident that NIH grants have immense importance for all researchers, especially those seeking tenure or career advancement.

What is the NIH Grant Program?

The NIH traces its origins back to the 1870s, when Congress began allocating funds for research into various infectious diseases (smallpox, cholera, etc.) to the newly found “National Board of Health.” In 1930, the name was officially changed to the National Institute of Health, after which Congress increased its funding tremendously. The NIH finances the original and historically oldest grant program called the

Research Project Grant (RO1) in order to provide funding support toward individual laboratories, following the mission of the NIH. As with other grants, the R01 can be solicited, by individual NIH centers or institutes, or may be investigator-initiated, through application requests. To be eligible for specific research funding announcements (RFAs), the applicants must comply according to the guidelines specified by the RFA for the distinct NIH Institute or Center (“I/Cs,”currently 27 in total). Usually, the NIH grant is awarded for providing support to discrete, specific, and constrained projects performed by an investigator, based on the mission of the NIH. R01 awards vary in duration from 3-5 years, with a current average size of ~$475,000, although in nominal dollars, that figure is the smallest award amount since 1999.

What Are the Scopes of NIH Grants?

As mentioned, thew NIH covers I/Cs that support specific health­related research missions. Nearly all those I/Cs offer numerous mechanisms of funding, including the R01 grant and the R21, designed for more “high-risk/high reward” proposed projects. Multi-institution, cross-disciplinary grants (“U01” or “P series” awards) are also offered, often to study different aspects of a single disease/organ system. Once a research grant application has been submitted, it passes through the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), as a gateway for distribution to the most appropriate I/Cs, for eventual review by “study sections,” i.e., specific panels of nationwide experts in the topics of the applications to be considered.

More recently, the NIH has developed a focus on research directly relevant to specific disease patients, i.e., “translational” medical research. For grants focusing on basic science (not disease-related), the National Science Foundation (NSF) might be a more appropriate agency for seeking funding. Despite the funding agency or mechanism, NIH grant awards will likely continue to be a “measuring stick” for departmental decisions regarding tenure or other types of career advancement. Due to actual loss of funding over the last 15 years, in nominal dollars, fewer grants are awarded and competition has burgeoned. Success rates vary widely by I/C, from 11.6% from the National Institute of Nursing Research, to 26.7% at the National Eye Institute. The overall success rate has fallen, from 27.1% in 2001, to 16.3%, in 2015.

Approvable Costs Sanctioned by the NIH Grants

The NIH grants approve many allowable costs including research equipment and supplies, consultation costs, publications, and renovations costs, consortium costs, administrative costs along with monthly salary and fringe benefits. Within the NIH grant, travel expenses are also included in relation for the research works.

Importance of Writing the NIH Grant Proposal

Academic success and medicinal promotion massively depend on the quality and number of grants received by the researchers. Every year, a large number of research scholars apply for NIH-sponsored grants and the hard truth is that only few of them are selected for funding. There is no doubt that award of an NIH grant is a matter of great prestige and honor for the applicant and his/her institute. However, one needs to remember that writing a grant application is a daunting task, especially for the inexperienced researchers (a general guideline is 4-6 weeks). Hence, the applicant should properly set forth to organize a research proposal such that they can maximize the chance of success. Hiring a grant consultant may likely facilitate this process, as these individuals are familiar with the review process, the general outlay of various types of research applications, and making the proposal more “reader-friendly” to the reviewers.

Click Here to Find Out How We Can Help You With Your NIH Grant Proposal

What Make Our Editing and Proofreading Services Different?

What Makes Our Proofreading and Editing Services Different?

Bioscience Advising helps scientists both within and outside the United States with consulting, writing, proofreading, and editing services of: peer reviewed journal submissions, dissertations, biomedical grant writing services (including NIH and NSF applications), and clinical case reports.

Moreover, we “tailor” our proofreading and editing services for a wide range of subject manners, predominantly to laboratory principal investigators (“PIs”), but also postdoctoral fellows, research fellows, PhD students, and medical students/residents. Thus, we serve individuals at all skill levels, from laypersons to highly renowned, specialized experts. 

Why Work With Us?

We aren’t the average provider of proofreading and editing services.

For starters, as faculty in the biomedical sciences, we are intimately familiar with the importance of getting published and getting funding (not to mention the scarcity of the latter and the pressure associated with it).

Because of this, we hold ourselves to the highest standards in the research community to make your proposal, study, or article "stand out from the pack." Moreover, if you hire us and aren’t satisfied with our work, you don’t pay.

Toward those ambitious objectives, we make every effort to gain a thorough understanding of your research goals, data, and scientific approach, by working closely with you and your team. We treat every project with paramount care, and we always go the extra mile to improve the rhetorical and visual presentation of your grant (or other publication), from top to bottom. With regard to the confidentiality, for each project, we provide a comprehensive, internationally enforceable, non-disclosure agreement.

Our intermediate editing plan, for example, includes the following services:

  • Basic editing
  • Journal/funding agency selection
  • Abstract preparation
  • Proofreading services
  • Structuring for clarity (“flow”) and logic
  • Narrative and summary development
  • Preliminary study inclusion
  • Editor cover letter for journal submission
  • Research strategy development
  • Reformatting of scientific figures
  • Formatting for specific publications or funding agencies
  • Reference checking and standardization
  • Thorough review of scientific significance

Click here to learn more about this plan.

Our Specialty Areas:

From basic edits and formatting, to exhaustive critiquing and in-depth revisions, we have 10+ years of experience “fine-tuning” journal submissions and grant proposals in the biomedical and health-science disciplines. We have a long-proven track record of successful grantsmanship and can accommodate large volumes of work having tight deadlines (additional charges may apply for rapid turnaround).

The following fields represent our core competencies:

  • Epigenetics
  • Cancer Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Drug Discovery/Pharmacology
  • Cell Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Cancer Models
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Phase I/II Clinical Trials

We  also  advise authors in manuscript preparation and editing of almost any scientific research document or request for funding. We will work hand-in-hand with you to ensure your research is presented logically, accurately, and passes a robust review process.

Professional Proofreading & Editing Service

Professional Proofreading & Editing Benefits

Hiring a Professional Proofreader to Edit Your Dissertation

Professional Proofreading and Editing Benifits


After receiving acceptance from your committee, you embark on the momentous but onerous task of preparing your dissertation. To that end, a professional proofreading and editing service may be worthwhile. On average, dissertation writing takes over one month. After that, proofreading becomes quite difficult, as does identifying  typos, spelling errors, etc., and a "fresh pair of eyes" can be quite beneficial. Hiring a dissertation editor will help you improve your work, as an experienced professional is much better able to spot errors and assess scientific content. Editing is crucial for the final document, and your dissertation may be significantly enhanced by hiring a professional scientific editor. There is nothing worse than giving your thesis defense seminar, and having your committee members return your dissertation highlighting a myriad of errors. A scientific editor can help prevent this from happening, allowing you to finish your degree in short order.

Editing is the final phase of the writing process, with a concentration on errors in scientific content, and mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. A professional consultant is specifically concerned with editing, which will help improve the clarity as well as readability of your paper, focusing on the stream (i.e., “flow”) of the paper, particularly with regard to grammar, word use, spelling, punctuation, persistence, and style. Professional editors are uniquely positioned to assist all graduate students, no matter if you’re preparing your dissertation (or Masters’ thesis), abstract, or an article or book chapter for publication.

Readers (e.g., committee members) will see each chapter in your document more favorably if it’s well crafted and error-free. An expert editor could ensure your dissertation is free from errors in scientific content or English. It’s also essential to offer specific directions for the proofreader so she or he knows what style you’re using, as well as any fundamental format or spacing requirements (particularly a table of contents). Utilizing a professional proofreader will enable you to distribute a higher quality dissertation. When finding a dissertation proofreader, it’s significant to ask for referrals or reviews from previous customers, both for scientific knowledge and English. You would like to know that the proofreader does quality work, and complete it by the deadline you’ve agreed upon. A doctoral student is under enough pressure without worrying about whether a hired professional may meet the contract and return the document on time.

Find Out How Our Proofreading Services Can Help With Your Dissertation

Our Satisfaction Guarantee

If you are not satisfied with our work, we provide a full cost refund (prior to journal or grant application review). Payments for all services are billed 50 percent upfront and the remaining balance is billed upon completion of the documents.

Editorial Service for scientific writing

What Makes A Good Science Writer?

What Makes a Good Science Writer?

Since a science writer will use document preparation tools for most of their work, they must gain expertise in an extensive selection of software applications, including word processing, graphics, audio, video, as well as animation applications. Science writers might take jobs as editors, as well as review the work of other scientific writers. The minimum degree necessary for this profession is a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering. Many science authors find that taking college courses in writing and journalism may be helpful. Some may also specialize in “medical writing,” designed primarily to assist pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies with documentation of clinical trials and FDA new drug applications. Some colleges also provide degree programs in science writing or science journalism.

Science writers and editors should be able to convey thoughts clearly and realistically, and must love to write and edit. Science authors and editors should show good judgment, as well as a strong feeling of ethics, in determining when a manuscript is ready for journal submission, in addition to selecting the specific journal most appropriate for the manuscript. Of the many types of specialized writers, the science writer has a distinctive liability to the reader. Unlike the sportswriter, for instance, whose reader already knows, usually in remarkable detail, the rules of the game and who the players are, science writers often introduce readers to a fresh “game” with each article.

Science writers may also perform the difficult job of teasing out scientific details, as well as anecdotes to create an attention-grabbing article, video, or slide pack specifically tailored to attract non-expert, casual readers, or viewers into a subject they mightn’t at first have much interest or knowledge.

Science writers should first understand that effectively communicating the science is the most demanding part of the job. For this purpose, it may be of greater benefit to employ PhD scientists with experience in academic or biotechnology research and previous grant writing and reviewing. They should then write and edit the article for multiple cycles, to maximize its correctness, while also making the work intriguing and intelligible to novices. Good science writers must do their best to accurately report, but they always bear in mind what they may have different priorities for specific readers/audiences that might not align with the researcher’s opinion in attracting the interest of the public. Good science writers continuously read science news, general science journals, books, reports, publications, and Internet news groups to keep abreast of the most recent scientific findings, funding opportunities, and journal criteria and directives. Some work on staffs of national publications and Internet science news providers. Others write for special interest medical and scientific news website/magazines. Most are freelancers, reporting as well as writing for a wide range of media. Some work in broadcast media, which range from network radio and TV news programs to science documentary production companies.

Need an Editor for Your Science Writing?

Bioscience Writer and Editor

Bioscience Advising helps scientists both within and outside the United States with writing, editing, or scientific critique of: dissertation papers, academic journal manuscripts, slide packs, biomedical grant applications for the NIH and similar public and private organizations, abstracts, and letters.

We also tailor the work to be understandable and enjoyable by individuals of all skill levels, including principal investigators, post-­doctoral associates, research fellows, other scientists, and even laypersons.

Editorial Service for scientific writing

Hints for Successful Bioscientific Writing

How to become skilled at bio-scientific writing

I believe that strong communication skills are the foundation to any relationship or human interaction. Successful communication clearly requires successful “give and take” (in conversations for example, talking and listening). I further feel that the most successful method of “getting one’s point across” is to consider the viewpoint of the receiving party (i.e., empathy). Bearing these considerations, I view the scientific communication used in bioscientific writing as very similar to other forms of discourse, particular with regard to the author’s consideration of the reader of a manuscript, or a speaker’s consideration of the viewpoint of the audience. Even today, it has been argued that the vast majority of scientific manuscripts are unreadable, and often written not with reader in mind, but for ulterior motives (

). Consequently, in bioscientific writing, the author’s first objective is to “grab” the reader’s attention, via a solid title, preferably using the active voice. For example, “Identification of Serum CD4+CD8+ Thymocytes bearing Anti-Beta Cell T-Cell Receptors” could be altered to “Circulating Anti-Islet Cell CD4+CD8+ Thymocytes Likely Contribute to Autoimmunity in Type 1 Diabetes.” The second title immediately provides the reader the implied biomedical pertinence of the study, i.e., autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes. This is one mark of successful bioscientific writing.

bioscientific writing

In addition to the title, I believe that the abstract and introduction (the contents of the first page) must be similarly engaging to hold the reader’s attention. Thus, returning to the above example, the abstract could start with the sentence
“Type 1 diabetes (T1D) remains a devastating autoimmune disease for which the mechanism(s) of escape from negative selection remain largely unknown,” and then proceed to describe the details of the approach, results, and conclusion. Similarly, the introduction might start with some statistics regarding T1D incidence, mortality, and known pathology.

For bioscientific writing to retain reader interest, I prefer journals that place the Methods section at the end of the article. However, many highly respectable journals require the methods to follow the introduction. In those cases, I recommend subheadings that describe the purpose behind each method, e.g., “Isolation of CD4+CD8+ immature thymocytes for further mechanistic study of their escape from negative tolerance” and “Comparison of normal thymoctye differentiation from aberrantly developed autoimmune cells.”

Similarly, I believe subheadings within the Results section can further develop the “story” of the paper, often having a one-sentence introduction to the specific item under study, e.g., “Previous studies demonstrated downregulation of apoptosis effectors within the thymus of T1D patients.” If subheadings are not permitted, the Results sections should be written in chronological order, or from most to least important results (

Finally, successful bioscientific writing should very briefly “recap” the pertinent findings, and contain appropriate (but not wild) speculation. The end of the discussion should summarize the findings (e.g., “In summary……”) and their possible relevance to the field of study, hopefully influencing the reader to similarly consider the positive/negative impact of the study.

Some important details in bioscientific writing include using correct gene nomenclature (i.e., official gene symbols). Human genes should be in all upper case and italicized (e.g., TP53, ERBB2) while genes in other species be italicized, with only the first letter in caps (e.g., Tp53, Erbb2). Proteins use the same name as the encoding gene, but are not italicized (e.g., TP53, ERBB2). Gene nomenclature can be found in the GeneCards database ( For references, when using a reference manager (e.g., EndNote), publications are best found in “PubMed” (, under specific identifiers such as PMID or PMCID.

While these suggestions obviously will not lead to acceptance by top-tier journals (e.g., Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, etc.), without outstanding (and groundbreaking) data, I believe these steps can help one to assert the maximum impact of any study, and hopefully, at least achieve a review by a respected journal.