How to Apply for a Research Grant
  • 3-minute read
  • 11th February 2019

How to Apply for a Research Grant

There are several things you need to do when preparing a research grant application. These include the following:

  1. Plan the application process from the very beginning. This means setting aside time to research funding sources, as well  as working out the basic details of your project (e.g., proposed budget and timeframe).
  2. Read your funding organization’s submission guidelines and use these to write up your application. Try to use clear, concise language throughout.
  3. Justify each aspect of your application, including your methods, costs, timescale, what your research will achieve, and why you have applied for a grant to fund your work.
  4. Proofread your application carefully before submitting it.

And to help you through this process, we’ll now look at each of these points in more detail. Read on to find out more.

1. Researching a Research Grant

To maximize your chances of success when planning a grant application, you need to find a funder that suits your situation and research interests. To do this, you should:

  • Set a schedule for the application process that you can work towards.
  • Work out your basic proposal, such as the budget and research aims.
  • Look for funding opportunities in your subject area. Make sure to check eligibility guidelines and the funding organization’s objectives.
  • Speak to colleagues about your grant proposal, especially if you know anyone who has received funding for a similar project in the past.

The idea is to find the best funder for your project. Once you have done this, try to get as much relevant information as possible together before you begin writing up your application.

2. Writing Up Your Application

Before you write up your application, read the funding organization’s submission guidelines carefully. These will set out how your application should be written, formatted, and structured. The format here may vary slightly, but most research grant applications should include:

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  • A title page featuring your name(s) and contact information.
  • An abstract or summary of the proposal.
  • An introduction with background information and research aims.
  • A short literature review of the research you are building upon.
  • Proposed methods and expected results of your research.
  • A budget outline for how the grant will be spent.
  • A timeframe for conducting the research.

In terms of style, a research grant application should be clear, concise, and formal. If possible, though, try to keep the language simple and avoid jargon unless it is strictly necessary.

3. Justifying Your Choices

While writing up your application, make sure to explain your thinking. This is vital because you may be competing for the same grant as many other academics. As such, you need to show that you have considered each aspect of your proposal in detail, including:

  • How your research fits with the funding organization’s interests.
  • Why you need a grant for your research and how it will be spent.
  • Why the methods and timescale you have proposed are appropriate.
  • How the research will contribute to knowledge in your subject area and/or how it could be applicable in “real life” situations outside academia.

4. Editing and Proofreading

Finally, always leave time for editing and proofreading before you submit your application. This will allow you to seek feedback from colleagues and make revisions accordingly.

In addition, once you have made any final revisions, you may want to ask someone to give your application one final check (perhaps even a professional proofreader). This will ensure the final document is 100% typo free, demonstrating valuable attention to detail in the process.

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