Tips for Grant Finding and Grant Writing

An interesting primer for early career researchers to obtain grant funding is by Jonathan O’Donnell in a blog post for LSE. With shrinking funding options and more and more PhDs in the world, how to get grants?

Some tips if you are…

A Reviewer of Grants:

Register to review for granting agencies. If you are dreaming of working in another country in the future, register to review their grants, too.

Set clear limits, both in how many reviews you will do, and how long you will spend on each one.

Since you live in a world of measurement, record your effort.

Seek out mentoring, including peer mentoring.

Be kind

A Seeker of Grants:

To gain experience for yourself, work on grants with someone else, perhaps those with successful experience. Be a good collaborator.

There is a world of funding that isn’t peer reviewed. Industry funding, philanthropic funding, crowdfunding, micro-patronage, etc. Get creative with your funding opportunities.

Reject academia altogether, at least for a short time. Go and work in industry, or set up your own entrepreneurial research endeavour.

Set a time limit on how long you will bang your head against your rejection wall.

A Grant Agency:

Make the grant application process less onerous.

Experiment with more inventive methods of review.

Consider changing attitudes to the confidentiality of grant applications. You might choose to build a library of successful applications, or even make all your applications public. That would provide significant benefits to people learning to write good applications.

Reduce grant applications to two pages, concentrating on the core idea. Fixed budgets, double-blind review and no administrivia.

Give better feedback. “After the amount of work that most grant applications entail, it’s always anticlimactic to get a ‘yes/no’ result.”

An Established Scholar and Experienced Grant Writer:

Provide training in peer review, both for grants and publications.