Assistance for Faculty & Staff Seeking Government Grants

Writing a grant proposal to a government agency that is both competitive and compelling can be a challenging task. On one hand, federal and state agencies may have considerable resources to fund worthy projects; the National Institutes of Health, for instance, is one of the biggest grant-making agencies in the USA, spending tens of billions of dollars a year. On the other hand, these same sources attract many applicants, resulting in the agencies being asked for many times the amount of money they actually have available. How can you make your proposal part of the cream that rises to the top of the application pile?

WesternU wants to help you compete and thereby increase the University’s resources and reputation. We want to help you understand what an agency’s guidelines mean and what they are looking for, how to brainstorm your project to see if it’s a match, how to craft your proposal so that it is well-structured, flows well and is (at least relatively!) easy to read, answers the questions asked, with little redundancy or wasted space.

One resource that is available to you online is SPIN. SPIN is a database of detailed grant information of more than 40,000 funding opportunities. Anyone using a WesternU IP address can access the database at If you register with the program and set up your own user profile, you can access the database from anywhere you have Internet connectivity.  

SPIN is an easy, intuitive way for those seeking grant funds to investigate potential funding sources for research and other types of grants. Users can access the database anonymously. By creating a profile, however, users can customize a variety of additional services, such as automatic updates of saved searches. Users can create a profile by attempting to “sign in” in the upper right of their screen, and then following the prompts for creating a profile at the bottom of the gray dialog box. Please email Kevin Sweeney that you created a profile and approval of the profile is typically made within one business day.

SPIN is especially strong at helping users find governmental funding sources. University Advancement also has databases that are more focused on private funding sources. However, unlike SPIN, access is limited to only a small number of users.

If you have a project, or would just like to get more information about grant writing services in general, contact Kevin Sweeney.