How to Apply for a Research Grant: Important Tips for Academics

How to Apply for a Research Grant

Being able to land a good grant for a research project is the dream of many scholars in the academia. Since the mantra of the academic world is publish or perish, students, researchers and staffs in the academic world are always on their toes to get more done beyond previous works that have been carried out. It is more like standing on the shoulders of giants. But carrying out some kind of research projects which may be advanced and cost intensive will demand some support for the researcher, else such researches may suffer from insufficient resources. Post graduate students doing Masters or PHD carrying out research projects that are promising but are low on funds will likely have their eyes on grants so as to bring their dream of publishing relevant value adding and problem-solving papers for the benefit of many. Getting grants for your research work is not impossible, even if the process is a bit tight, if you know the right strategies to follow, you will have a smoother sail than a person who is ignorant of certain important things to know. The following important tips on getting a research grant will serve to inform you about some salient tips to consider in order to enhance your journey towards getting a grant.

1. Why do you need the grant?

You should be able to first convince yourself of why you need a grant for your work, this is your drive in going after obtaining grant. The funding agency or wherever the grant is to come from, they want to know why they should give you a grant. Articulate the reasons for which you require grant for your research, relevant reasons, convincing reasons. What part of your work demands it, what facilities or equipment do you need to use? Ensure that you state what you intend to use the funds to do in furtherance of the research. Failing to state convincingly why you need a grant and why you are a credible candidate may mean not getting a favourable response.

2. Be acquainted with grant proposals

Even before needing a grant for yourself or writing one, as a master’s or PHD student, you can help yourself by observing grants written by others around you. Get familiar with the format, the content and other things involved in writing a good grant proposal so that when you have to do yours, you won’t be too vague or blank about what to do. You can as well request to see proposals that have been written before so you can go through them and learn, you could also check online for relevant materials to help you get acquainted with things that are expected of you.

3. Get to know the available agencies or bodies

Do a good research as to which institutions or bodies you can apply to, do this when you have really articulated what you really want to work on that you are interested in.

4. Meet colleagues who have applied before

You should try to look out for people who have applied to the same agency you are applying to for grant, learn from their mistakes, failures and successes. What you’ll get to know when you ask those who have practically done it, you may not easily get the full impact of it even if you read it somewhere, first-hand experience is always better. They could give you tips, or even guide you as to which agency to focus on or the peculiarities of the particular one you are interested in.

5. Know about the agencies

It is imperative for you to do a good background study and sourcing for information about the organisation you are intending to apply to. You don’t want to waste time crafting a proposal for an agency that doesn’t fund your field of study. You also want to know about their criteria for the kind of grant you are applying for.

6. Don’t exaggerate

As much as you can. Avoid overpromising about what you expect the impact of your project to be. It won’t be a good way to represent yourself if after getting the grant you are unable to get done all the things you promised in your proposal. You should not hinder yourself from getting future grants. You must not talk so little about what impact you believe your work will have or what result it will produce to the extent that the agency offering the grant can’t see why they should give you the grant. State the results and the impact you expect clearly and straightforward, your timeline for the work should be realistic, in short don’t sweet-tongue everything, raise false hopes and eventually fail to make good your promise.

7. Seek your professor’s help

When you intend to get a grant in your field, carry your supervisor along. Seek experiential advice and guidance both in looking out for the right agency, and in writing your application. Be ready to get the right kind of help from people who have some level of experience in your field who have won grants before.

8. Know what they want

There may be agencies that will be more favourably disposed towards you to give you a grant if your work looks novel and somewhat new, there may also be those who will want to see that you’ve already done some good work already on the research project. Ensure you know the preferences of the agency you are applying to for grant so you can work your proposal around their preferences. If there are some criteria, they need that you don’t have in place already, take time to make sure all the criteria are in place before applying.

9. Make sure it’s a relevant problem

How relevant your problem is in your field will go on to affect how much interest that it will attract. Ensure that the problem you are trying to solve or the question you intend to answer is such as people will want to really push funds into. This part is very crucial.

10. Avoid unessential things

In your proposal, avoid putting unnecessary things there, don’t add information that they don’t need. Rather make sure you find out the essential things necessary for that particular grant you are applying for and put in all the essentials in the way they can see.

11. Let your proposal be criticised

After you must have written your proposal, you should allow your colleagues to criticize your work, they should be able to make useful observations and recommendations that will help you refine your proposal until it is good enough.

12. State the right methods

You need to state how you will go about carrying out the research. Ensure that you propose the right method that can actually be suitable for doing the research work. If your stated method is not credible or doesn’t look like it can solve the problem, then you might be undoing your efforts.

13. Keep trying

Not getting the grant at your first or second trial should not be allowed to discourage you from turning in your proposal again for that particular grant of interest to you. One thing you may need to do is to find out why your proposal did not win the grant, look into what you need to improve on, things you need to add, and be sure that the agency you are applying to funds your field of research.

14. Send a follow-up email

As a way of emphasising why you are interested in the research, how important it is and why you need funds, you can send an email as a follow-up on your proposal.

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