Beth Riley, Ph.D.

Riley & Cohen - Editing Grant Proposals

Beth Riley has been editing academic grant proposals and journal articles since 1996. In four years, she helped to win approximately $140 million in grants. Currently retired from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), she works for the campus on a part-time basis and does freelance editing. 

Beth emphasizes basic editing for clarity of thought, sentence structure, and grammar.  She will help your grant proposal or journal article lead with its strongest ideas and develop them throughout the document. Her Ph.D. is in English, and as most of her editing involves the STEM disciplines, this helps ensure faculty writing is understandable to all audiences.  Professor YoonJin Won has said, “She quickly understands specialized topics in engineering and knows how to improve our technical writing.” Beth is accustomed to working within tight deadlines and turning documents around quickly, and she is comfortable working with non-native English speakers. 

At UCI, Beth worked on a broad range of grant proposal types across all disciplines; she also wrote letters nominating faculty for national and international awards. “Her ability to write compelling nomination letters that are clear and accessible to both expert and lay audiences is remarkable,” says Vice Provost Diane O’Dowd. As a sample of her work, Beth has

  • Managed document development for center-level grant proposals
  • Edited NIH R01 grant proposals and ancillary documents
  • Advised on and edited NSF CAREER proposals for early-career faculty
  • Coached graduate students on fellowship applications

She is familiar with most federal agencies’ guidelines and application processes, but emphasizes the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Education Department. She can advise faculty on preparing the full range of documents for a federal grant proposal. Thus, in addition to editing the project description and summary/abstract, she can advise on the bio sketch, the facilities and equipment document, and the introduction to a revised NIH application, to mention a few.  She also has worked on selected proposals to private foundations: in particular, for the Keck Foundation and for Project Adult Literacy of the Newport Beach Public Library.

Beth earned her Ph.D. in English from UCI and a B.A. (with high honors) and M.A. in English from Portland State University, where she won six writing prizes. “She is a pleasure to work with—always reliable, honest, and a team player,” says Professor Pierre Baldi.

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