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Need Proposal Assistance?

Consultancy Services

Assistance is provided by two experienced consultants: Dr. Ralph Pollack (a grant writing consultant) and Louise DeCosta Wides (a writing consultant and editor). Their services are provided courtesy of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

Advice at all levels of proposal preparation will be provided, from inception of the idea to submission of the proposal to revisions. Assistance in developing competitive external grant proposals is available to help applicants meet a funding agency's proposal preparation requirements. Editorial help to improve the organization, clarity and competitiveness of grant applications is offered. Grant proposal narratives will be read, reviewed and edited for individual investigators, small groups of faculty and multidisciplinary groups. Help in formulating appropriate strategies for planning and developing proposals will also be provided. 

Ralph Pollack -
Dr. Pollack was a faculty member in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department at UMBC from 1970 – 2007 and was Associate Vice President for Research at UMBC from 2007-2015. As a faculty member, Dr. Pollack obtained over $5 million in funding for research, teaching, graduate student training, symposia, major equipment and travel from state, national, international and private agencies, such as the NIH, the NSF, the US Department of Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the American Cancer Society, NATO, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has reviewed proposals for the NIH, NSF, NATO, Petroleum Research Fund, AAAS, and other organizations. Dr. Pollack has over 7 years of experience in reviewing and editing proposals for faculty members, and he has worked with several faculty members of American University on the development of funded proposals.

Louise Wides - President, Wides and Associates, Inc.
Ms. Wides was Assistant Staff Director for Information Services at the Federal Election Commission between 1985 and 2001. Since then, she has been president of Wides & Associates, Inc. Her career has focused on helping experts in a variety of fields make their good writing even better and more successful. She has developed, written, and edited award-winning publications, working with specialists in the fields of federal election law, air traffic control, and medical research. She has trained government lawyers and auditors to write in plain language, and she has written and edited contract and grant proposals, educational materials, strategic plans, white papers, and annual reports. Ms. Wides is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Although advice can be given at any stage of proposal preparation, discussions at the earliest stages are important. Initial meetings for discussions of ideas and their potential for funding are encouraged, even before a first draft is written. The earlier the discussions are initiated, the more effective the final proposal can be. It is important to provide sufficient lead time to allow thorough proposal review to be conducted. Because editorial services are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, investigators should schedule proposal reviews well in advance of the submission deadline. Ideal lead time is 2-3 months before the submission deadline. However, proposal reviews will be provided at any stage of the process.

Investigators should provide the following: (a) The appropriate program announcement or RFP and (b) A short (1-2 page) description of the proposed research or a draft of the proposal to be reviewed in MS Word format. (c) Comments from previous reviews if the proposal is a resubmission. 

Please contact Anita Brown,, to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pollack or Ms. Wides.