All grant proposals begin with a sound research question.
If you're studying for an advanced degree, particularly at the PhD level, you may wish to apply for funding for a research or book project. Indeed, as Addgene noted, virtually all research projects are funded via one or more grants bestowed by independent organizations. To secure funding for your investigation you will need to write a grant proposal. The purpose of this exercise is to give you a chance to convince the organization in question why your work is worth the financial investment: What is your research about? And why is it significant? These are crucial questions that need to be answered in the written grant proposal.
If you're about to write a grant proposal for the first time but need some useful tips to keep you on the right track, look no further. Review the list of six useful tips for grant proposal writing below:
1. Develop a stellar research question
First and foremost, before the application process even begins, you must have a clear idea of the topic that your research will explore and the kinds of questions that it will attempt to answer. Conduct as much research as possible before you even begin writing your proposal to ensure that your pitch is as detailed and informed as possible. Also try your hardest to ensure that your idea offers something new or original to the existing discourse around the subject, the University of Colorado Boulder argued. After all, few agencies will fund work that isn't well-developed or thought through. One way to ensure that your idea is ready, of course, is to work with a trusted professor or academic advisor. He or she can help refine your research goals and objectives if necessary.
"Ensure that your pitch is as detailed and informed as possible."
2. Research organizations
The next stage, before you begin the grant proposal writing process, is to have several organizations in mind that you could apply to. The Association for Psychological Science explained that grants are available from independent research organizations, state and federal level government agencies, think tanks and even organizations based overseas. Most universities will also offer research grants, so be sure to investigate whether your school offers appropriate funding opportunities.
3. Keep your writing structured and concise
Writing the proposal can be a difficult challenge, as you'll need to convey your nuanced ideas in as concise a manor as possible. Furthermore, the proposal must be structured in a clear way, so that the readers are able to understand what your research aims to achieve and what exactly you will need your funding for. Addgene advised that each proposal should contain the following elements: You should outline the project and its significance, detail how your research will be conducted on a practical level, review the literature that has informed your research and then detail how much money you will need and where the funds will be allocated. Keep in mind that each organization will likely require a different kind of structure in terms of how the proposal is laid out on the page, so be sure to review any instructions you receive thoroughly and consult with your academic advisor for any assistance.
4. Keep tone and style professional
Ensure that your writing reflects the kind of discipline you are working in, and as The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill noted, keep in mind that your audience will likely be knowledgeable of the subject you are writing on. The challenge, therefore, is to write a proposal that outlines your topic and research goals in detail without offering superfluous explanations that the reader may regard as patronizing or insulting to his or her intelligence. For help with developing a professional tone and style, consult with a trusted professor who has experience writing grant proposals.
5. Make several revisions
Your first draft won't be ready for submission. A clean grant proposal is the product of often multiple revisions, so be sure to set aside plenty of time for edits and rewrites. UNC Chapel Hill advised seeking assistance from more than one reader. Have both academics and non-academics read the work to ensure that it reads well and is coherent. The academics will be able to offer advice in terms of detail, while non-academics will be able to tell you whether the project makes sense to someone without subject matter expertise.
6. Don't be discouraged
There is a distinct chance that your proposal will be rejected, for any number of reasons. But as the Association for Psychological Science explained, this is fairly common and even the most successful academics you know will likely have had proposals rejected at one time or another. Use any rejections as learning opportunities – review what didn't work with the proposal and make amendments to help improve it. There are many organizations to apply to, so keep working and don't give up!