I recently worked on a grant proposal for a project. As it sometimes happens to post-doc researchers, to move forwards in their career they have to ask a senior researcher to act as the principal investigator of the project. Often, grants do not provide a difference between PI and author, so it may happen that the PI would be considered as the main author.

My question is: if I had to apply to your university (or in any other context) for a junior position, being able to provide evidence that I was the main contributor of that grant application (meaning that I was able to write the literature review, concept of the research, methodology, contacting external advisors, resulting into a funding), would it contribute as a positive element when assessing my CV for an eventual junior position in your university?

3 Answers 3


Yes. Draft a short (one page or less) statement of contribution to the work of writing the grant, with room for your signature, the PI's signature and the signatures of anyone else who contributed to the grant. Send this to your PI and ask if they think it is a fair representation or whether they'd make changes, and if they'd be willing to sign it so you can use it when applying for jobs. It's probably a good idea to talk with them first to float the idea, explaining that you think it would be really helpful when applying for jobs.

You could use sites like these for inspiration:

You might also check out the APA Science Student Council's guide to co-authorship which has these rather useful checklists and worksheets:

These are all for journal publications, and I've not seen anything similar for grant-writing but I think it's a great idea to make this! If you do end up doing this, it'd be great if you share how you went about it!


There is no question that it is a positive aspect to your application to any university that values research in any way. It is a valuable skill. In some positions it is a job requirement, and so early experience is a valuable element. Even when it is "guided" by a senior PI it has value. After all most doctoral research is also guided by an advisor.

You can list such things on the CV, but don't overstate your role. Make sure that the PI is aware of your contributions and will mention them in any LoR.

Even those places that don't require real "field" research often need funds for student research or for such pedagogical things as research into learning, so even quite modest places will not discount such experience.


I don't know if it's possible for this funding call but sometimes (like with NSF proposals) the PI can include a co-PI and that person can be a postdoc. That's probably the best case scenario.

But here you seem to refer to something different. How would you be able to provide evidence that you were the one who wrote the application if you're not listed as a PI?

In any case, I think showing that you provided a major contribution to a funded application is always good for CV when aiming at an academic position!

  • 4
    Sometimes, it is called "named researcher", which means the one who will be most likely hired as "postdoc" in case the PI wins the grant. And it can also be interpreted (at least it suggests so!) that the named researchers was a co-author of the grant proposal.
    – Noil
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 9:38

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