Scientific Writing Retreat
November 14 - 19, 2023

Key Dates
Application Deadline:  August 31, 2023
Arrival: November 14th by 6pm EST
Departure: November 19th

The course will be held at the Laboratory's Banbury Conference Center located on the north shore of Long Island. 
CSHL Courses are intensive, running all day and often including evenings and weekends; students are expected to attend all sessions and reside on campus for the duration of the course.


Charla Lambert, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Stephen Matheson, Public Library of Science (PLOS)

Marie Bao, 
Harvard Medical School
Jaclyn Jansen, Weill Cornell Medicine

See the Roll of Honor - who's taken the course in the past

Target Audience:
The CSHL Scientific Writing Retreat is designed for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in all areas of biology who are actively working on professional pieces of writing such as manuscripts, grant proposals, job applications, or research/teaching/personal statements. Applications from staff scientists and more senior independent investigators are also welcome. English proficiency will be assumed; this retreat is not appropriate for scientists who are in the initial stages of learning to read, write, or speak English.

Are you currently working on a scientific writing project such as a manuscript, grant proposal, job application, or research/teaching statement? Do you find that it's difficult to carve out dedicated writing time, or do you often feel as if you need to "get away" to make significant progress? Are you interested in learning how to improve the clarity and effectiveness of your professional writing? If so, consider applying to the CSHL Scientific Writing Retreat!

The goal of this retreat is to have participants progress significantly on writing projects while improving their professional communication skills. The retreat will include a mix formal sessions and less structured writing time. The formal sessions will cover:

  • Publication writing for scientific journals from the perspectives of Cell Press, PLOS and Cold Spring Harbor Press;
  • Grant writing from the perspective of the National Institutes of Health;
  • Writing clearly and conversationally about your research in ways that engage diverse audiences, a skill particularly useful when developing lay summaries for NIH and NSF proposals; and,
  • Style tips and considerations for clear professional writing in all forms.

The less structured sessions will include small writing groups and dedicated individual writing time. For the small group sessions, participants will be preassigned to groups of 3-4 people for the purpose of soliciting peer feedback on their writing. For the individual writing sessions, coaches will be on hand to work with participants one-on-one.

If you are accepted into the retreat, you will need to submit two pieces of writing ahead of time for the small group work: 1) an abstract, and 2) something understandable by a general scientific audience such as the introduction to a manuscript, background section of a grant proposal, or research plan/personal statement for a job/fellowship application. As with all CSHL meetings and courses, participants will be required to respect the confidentiality of any unpublished research they may read during the retreat.

Financial aid is available to help offset tuition costs. To indicate financial need, please submit a short financial aid request as part of your application materials. Financial aid requests do not affect selection decisions made by the instructors.

Cost: $1,970
No fees are due until you have completed the full application process and are accepted into the course. 

Before applying, ensure you have:
  1. Personal statement/essay;
  2. One letter of recommendation;
  3. Curriculum vitae/resume;
  4. Financial aid request (optional).
    More details.

Your personal statement/essay should describe your current research and position, the writing project you plan to work on at the retreat, and what you hope to gain by participating in the retreat.

If you are not ready to fully apply but wish to express interest in applying, receive a reminder two weeks prior to the deadline, and tell us about your financial aid requirements, click below:

For more on this retreat, read what former trainees have said about their experience. Also, be sure to check out our growing online CSHL course alumni presence.