Applying for an AACN Grant

To apply for an AACN grant:

  1. Identify the grant award that best meets the needs of your research and most closely matches your topic.
  2. Complete the application form.
  3. Write a cover letter describing how your proposed research addresses one of AACN’s research priority areas. Address your cover letter to the Research Grant Review Panel.
  4. Write an abstract. Summarize the main points of the grant proposal (about 300 words).
  5. Write your research proposal according to the guidelines below. Follow this format for your proposal, references and appendices.

    • Use Arial or Times New Roman with 12-point font.
    • Double-space on 8-1/2" x 11" paper (letter size) with 1" margins.
    • Place first initial and last name of PI in a header with consecutive page numbers in the upper right corner on all pages of the proposal, including references and appendices.
    • Limit the content on aims, significance, methodology and timetable to 12 pages.
    Specific aims: State the intended objectives of the proposed study, including the rationale for the approach to the problem, the hypothesis the research is designed to test or the research questions the research will answer.

    Significance: Briefly describe the background of the proposal, including a critical evaluation of the existing body of knowledge about the problem. Identify the importance of the study by relating it to existing knowledge in the field of high acuity and critical care nursing and potential for leading to further research.

    Methodology: Describe the methods that will be used to carry out the research, identifying variables and samples and specifying the protocols and instruments you will use (include copies as an appendix to the proposal). When appropriate, describe the validity and reliability of the instruments. Identify potential limitations of the study. Describe the data analysis plan.

    Timetable: Include the proposed timetable for your study. The ideal timetable is about 2 years. 
    Apendices (optional)
  6. Complete the budget form. Be sure to justify all expenses. Specify direct and indirect costs of your project. Provide information on how each budget item requested was derived. Indirect costs are limited to 10% of direct costs and must be included in the total proposed grant budget.
    • Allowable Direct Costs include but are not limited to:
      • Research assistants (calculate number of hours at an hourly rate).
      • Data collection and analysis (calculate number of hours at an hourly rate).
      • Secretarial support (calculate number of hours at an hourly rate).
      • Equipment.
      • Supplies.
      • Consultative assistance, such as research design, programming costs and statistical analysis (calculate number of hours at an hourly rate).
    • Nonallowable Costs:
      • Salaries of the principal or co-investigators.
      • Travel to presentations.
      • Preparation of presentation materials (slides).
      • Presentation or publication of findings.
      • Educational expenses, such as tuition or books.
      • Purchase of computer hardware, unless the relevance of the equipment to the conduct of the study is clearly demonstrated.
    • Direct costs are those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity or any other institutional activity, or can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.
    • Indirect (or facilities and administrative, F&A) costs are incurred by a grantee for common or joint objectives and, therefore, cannot be identified specifically with a particular project or program. Indirect costs are limited to 10% of the direct costs and must be included in the total grant budget.
  7. Include a biographical sketch for each investigator and each consultant, using the AACN biosketch form or the National Institutes of Health biosketch form. Do not use any other format. Biosketches may not exceed four pages in length for each person; additional pages will be truncated.
  8. Provide letters of support from:
    • One person, such as a colleague, manager or mentor, who can address your ability to complete the project.
    • The institution(s) or unit(s) where your project will be conducted.
    • Your advisor or committee if funding is to be used for academic work, dissertation or thesis.
    Address your support letters to the Research Grant Review Panel.
  9. Provide evidence that the proposed project or study has been reviewed and approved (or administratively reviewed as exempt) by an established institutional ethical review board, or that review is in progress. If review is in progress, indicate the anticipated completion date. If ethical review cannot be submitted until the proposal is funded, so indicate. When a proposal without ethical review is selected for funding, funds will not be distributed until ethical review is complete.
    • Investigators affiliated with institutions that do not have established review boards must:
      • Obtain review of the proposal by an established review board at another agency (e.g., university, medical center, etc.) or
      • Submit a letter from their agency administrator indicating a commitment to safe and ethical practice and approval of project implementation within the facility.
  10. The principal investigator must log in with AACN member ID and upload all documents on the AACN Grants Submission page. (This is a computer system requirement.)

More Information About Applying for Grants

For more information about applying for grants:


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