Grant Writer

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA, USA
  • May 12, 2021
Full time Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences

Job Description

Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all positions (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


As a member of the Grants Development team, the Grant Writer reports to the Director of Research Development and works with Salk faculty to help prepare grant applications on a wide range of scientific topics. Using excellent writing and editorial skills, they are responsible for creating proposals that target both governmental and non-governmental agencies, translating scientific concepts and ideas into language appropriate for each funding opportunity. The Grant Writer has in-depth knowledge of cancer biology and devotes a considerable amount of time working with Salk Cancer Center leadership and faculty, as well External Relations and Communications Departments, to help implement the Institute's funding vision for this critical area of research. The Grant Writer helps manage the scientific writing process for individual, multi-investigator, and institutional grant applications and publications. They collaborate with diverse teams of investigators and administrative personnel, and therefore must exhibit a breadth and depth of understanding of the research conducted at Salk. They work under pressure of deadlines and can manage their time effectively. They remain informed about current information technologies, trends, and Research Development activities taking place at other research institutions, universities, and government entities. Work is performed under general direction of the Director of Research Development, with the majority of work performed independently.


1) Proposal Development (75%)

  • Researches, writes, edits, and reviews grant proposals as determined by faculty needs. Works closely with faculty and researchers to translate scientific concepts and ideas into language appropriate for the targeted funding opportunity. Works with faculty and the Research Development team to iterate drafts and finalize proposal narratives.
  • Writes, edits, and reviews critical supporting documents (e.g., equipment, facilities, resource sharing, letters of support, administrative components) and other materials related to grants during the pre-award process.
  • Analyzes reviews of previously submitted proposals and provides feedback to improve the chance of funding upon re-submission.
  • Works with the Research Development team to provide project management for proposal development (e.g., setting internal deadlines, helping to manage document flow, scheduling meetings) with the goal of ensuring timely submission.
  • Coordinates grant writing and development activities with the Grants Development staff and with External Relations.
  • Performs other duties as needed or assigned.

2) Research Development (15%)

  • Develops and maintains detailed knowledge of faculty research interests and strengths.
  • Identifies relevant funding opportunities, using tools such as Pivot, and then disseminates these opportunities to Salk faculty.
  • Helps to match current or potential Salk research programs (primarily cancer related) with relevant funding opportunities from a wide range of funding entities (e.g., government agencies, industry, private foundations, and individual philanthropists).
  • Works with the Salk faculty, External Relations, Communications, and the Office of Technology Development to customize research proposals and descriptions of research activities to suit the particular interests, priorities, and levels of expertise of potential funding entities.
  • Works with the Grants Development team to ensure that internal competitions (e.g., those to select proposals best suited for limited submission opportunities or internal sources of funding) are executed in an efficient, effective, and transparent manner. Works closely with members of faculty committees in this capacity.

2) Grant Support (5%)

  • Assists faculty in writing and/or editing technical manuscripts to facilitate timely publication of research findings.
  • Collects and summarizes program/project outcomes and submits timely reports to the Institute management.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

3) Training (5%)

  • Develops educational slideshow presentations and serves as an instructor in training postdocs, staff scientists, and junior faculty in best practices for developing their research plans and composing all components of grant applications.



  • A minimum of three years of experience in successful (funded) grant development, writing individual and team proposals, and facilitating the submission of grant proposals.
  • Experience in writing grants, including NIH R01 proposals, focused on cancer biology.
  • Experience managing multiple projects, priorities, deadlines, and the stakeholders involved. Strong customer-service orientation to understand and assist a wide range of internal faculty.


  • Experience utilizing and writing about computational biology approaches (e.g., tools used to analyze and integrate multi-omics data).
  • Experience writing and coordinating multidisciplinary sponsored research and private grant proposals with multiple collaborators for a variety of funding sources.
  • Experience using and implementing collaboration and document management platforms, such as Asana, Smartsheet, Box, Google docs, or similar project management platforms.



  • M.S. in physical or natural sciences.


  • Ph.D. in physical or natural sciences.



  • Writes precise, well organized, and grammatically correct documents. Excellent written and verbal English.
  • Strong background in cancer biology.
  • Demonstrated experience in researching, writing, and submitting grant applications.
  • Knowledge of research funding sources, including NIH, voluntary health agencies, and other funding sources.
  • Demonstrated experience reading and interpreting funding agency program announcements or requests for applications and development of proposals that are in compliance with agency requirements.
  • Extensive knowledge of contract and grant policies and issues and external funding programs and requirements, including knowledge of national and international trends in scientific research.
  • Strong interest in and ability to quickly comprehend Salk faculty scientific programs.
  • Advanced analytical skills in researching and analyzing scientific research issues. Sound knowledge of scientific research design and methods, and strong ability to interpret and evaluate research results. Ability to codify ideas into coherently written text.
  • Demonstrated ability to generate a number of different approaches to problems and to act as a resource for the exploration of new ideas.
  • In-depth knowledge of institutional functional areas that administer and/or are impacted by sponsored projects, such as grants administration and research accounting.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills for managing the writing (research, draft preparation, review, and revision) of complex grant proposals and deliver fundable proposals in a timely manner to meet both interim and final deadlines.
  • Ability and specialized skills to take initiative and independently plan, organize, coordinate, and perform work in various situations where numerous and diverse demands are involved.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively and work cooperatively with faculty, supervisors, and peers.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office suite to create technical and sophisticated written communication materials.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.


  • Experience with program project type applications that incorporate multiple projects, PIs, and scientific cores.
  • Ability to perform statistical analysis, analyze data, and make accurate projections using business mathematics and basic statistics.


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule based on workload and deadlines.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Must be able to work on campus regularly and meet with faculty in person.


This position requires constant adjusting focus, heading, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing, and working inside. 

Application Details

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 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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