Editor’s note: This is a portion of an article on funding, from Wiley Online Library. Register for the rest of the article below.
Most researchers come across grant applications at some point in their careers. In fact, many positions depend on them, whether they are doctoral students who require fellowships, post-graduates setting up projects as they start employment, or more senior staff who need to have a steady stream of research projects.
Although a significant amount of money is available from governmental bodies, charities and commercial organizations, there is a large pool of researchers, so it can be a very competitive landscape. Developing a grant application can feel daunting at first, but with practice and good support, becomes easier with experience.
Here are 7 tips to help you in your funding application:
- Get the right people on board
It’s essential to work with colleagues who are genuinely interested in the proposal, and can see its value. There are people whoreally get involved or those who have little input (‘passengers’). The latter might be acceptable if the person is well-known (their implicit support can help the review) and they can give a brief overall impression of the project. But colleagues who actively develop the proposal with you are ultimately required.
Make sure that each facet of the project is represented by someone experienced in that field. For PhD fellowships or small scale studies, only one or perhaps two other people might be enough to give constructive comments, so choose these people well. Colleagues who spend time on it will make you feel more supported and more confident. No matter how good you think you are at writing, getting a fresh pair of eyes to look at the content almost always raises things you have not spotted before. This can only improve the application. It is much better to iron out major problems before submission, rather than having the funding body reviewers identify them. The more revisions made, the better the application will read, increasing the likelihood of success.
- Identify what makes your project special
Many researchers often do not spend enough time describing the background to their project in a relevant way. The following key questions are useful to address:
- What has been done before on the topic (use evidence that directly relates to the project)?
- Why is my project different to others? Is it the first of its type, the largest, uses a new technique, or repeats a previous study but is better designed?
- What is the potential impact on knowledge or engineering practice? Not all studies change practice, and this is perfectly acceptable. So, be realistic about what can be done with your results and conclusions; though being a little optimistic is much better than exaggeration.
For the rest, register here: http://news.wiley.com/discover-7-tips-to-help-you-get-funding