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Office for Research and Graduate Education

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Letters of Support

Support letters within the context of a grant application can be used to convey more than just an endorsement of a proposal. In general, these are portions of the proposal that often have no page restrictions and can actually reinforce attributes of the proposed work, team of investigators, mentorship and institutional resources/leadership. If you plan to include multiple letters of support with your proposal, it is recommended that you consider a different strong point to highlight for each letter. Very often, particularly for large proposals, a template can serve as a useful guide for letter writing. However, it is strongly recommended that each letter be customized to the specific proposal and letter signatory or it will defeat the purpose of providing such letters in the first place.


The basic outline of a letter of support


Identify the specific addressee — typically the project/program Principal Investigator, or identify the study section, council, granting agency by name. Avoid using "To Whom it May Concern." It is also helpful to use Re: to identify the funding announcement and title.

Opening Paragraph

  • Writer's role/stature (Program Director, Department Chair, Co-Investigator, Dean) - what entity does the writer represent?
  • Why are you writing?
    • To support the proposal or agree to participate (advisory board, preceptor, etc)
    • To commit resources
    • To provide cost share/matching funds
  • Proposal identifier
    • Title
    • Grant number (if available)
    • Type of grant (center grant, training program, research proposal

Body Paragraph(s)

  • Briefly identify proposal strengths
    • Scientific plan/your own fit in the project, if participating/advisory board
    • Proposal leadership
    • Team of scientists/staff
    • Mentorship (if applicable)
    • Track record of publications or training of proposal PI
  • Briefly describe University/College/Medical Center/Department strengths relevant to proposal
    • Proposal aligns with organization strategic plan
    • Leadership/faculty expertise
    • Resources/facilities for the project
    • Achievements that demonstrate high caliber
  • If relevant, specifically outline commitment/match

Concluding Paragraph

Reiterate support for the proposal and briefly indicate how this will meet a larger goal (this is usually identified in the program announcement), such as improve patient care, train the next generation of biomedical scientist, bring jobs to Ohio, increase innovation and discovery, etc.