Sponsored Programs & Research Compliance

How to Write an Effective Letter of Support

We recommend that you offer to draft a letter of support for your collaborator to ensure that deadlines are met. By providing a draft letter of support, you ensure:

  • That the letter of support will contain all of the information you need
  • That you will get the letter back from your collaborator in a timely fashion (assuming you give them enough lead time! We suggest 2-3 weeks)

Drafting your own letter of support serves another important purpose. It gives both parties an early warning of unrealistic expectations. It is a vehicle for negotiating services, reagents, or expertise provided to the project.

Letter of Support Goals

  • Specify what the collaborator will contribute to the research
  • Convince the reviewer that the collaborator will fulfill the request
  • Convey enthusiasm for the work
  • Lend credibility to your proposal

As long as your letter demonstrates specifically what your collaborator will contribute to the project, there is no right or wrong way to draft a strong letter of support.

Letters of Support Should Be

  • Unique and written from the point of view of your collaborator
  • Printed on institutional letterhead and signed by the appropriate party (someone authorized to make the commitment of support)
  • Addressed either to the principal investigator of the proposal or to the granting agency - check the guidelines of the specific grant
  • Address any specific guidelines (e.g., particular assurances) required by the funding agency or the university, as outlined in the Request for Application (RFA) or as requested by your Research Office
  • Follow any other guidelines (e.g., page limits) required by the funding agency

Letter of Support Example

Introduction

  • Statement of support for the project/research - use words that convey enthusiasm
  • Identify the research project by name/title
  • Typically 1-3 sentences

Examples:
"I am pleased to support your research proposal titled...."
"Your proposal to do (insert scope here) has my enthusiastic support."

Body

If applicable, state how the goals/research of the collaborator are well-aligned with the goals of the proposed research. What is the collaborator's motivation to work with you? If you have worked with this collaborator before, be sure to say so. It demonstrates an established productive relationship. State as specifically as possible the role of the collaborator in the project. State why this collaborator is the appropriate person or organization to perform the work.

  • What is their relevant experience/expertise?
  • Have they previously worked on a similar project?
  • Do they have a successful track record?
  • Do they have specialized equipment or other resources needed to complete the project?

Closing

  • Include a cordial closing. The level of formality should be determined by the level of personal relationship between the PI and the collaborator. If you know each other very well, it can be less formal.
  • Typically 1-3 sentences

Examples:
"I look forward to collaborating with you on this work."
"Best of luck with your grant application."