Grant Writing Tips


Getting Started

  1. Ensure you have the right competition for your idea/project.
  2. Start early to give yourself lots of time! Grant writing is an iterative process and involves multiple drafts.
  3. Read the instructions to familiarize yourself with what’s expected from the application; print them off and keep them handy while you’re writing.
  4. Do your research! Review all available materials regarding the program/funder (e.g. Peer Review Manual; evaluation criteria; “guiding principles” or objectives of a given program).
  5. If available, look at multiple examples of successful applications.

Writing

  1. Keep in mind that proposals are not publications. They are a tool for getting money and have no life beyond review​.
  2. Be explicit and up front with information. At the beginning of your application, provide a clear, concise introduction to your project. At the beginning of each paragraph, put the most important sentence first.
  3. Be mindful of your language and the audience you are speaking to:
    • Simplicity is key (now is not the time to get too creative or wordy)
    • Avoid jargon and define any terms specific to your discipline
    • Don't be afraid to regurgitate to make a point clear
  4. Keep the instructions next to your computer while you write. As you complete each section of the application, make sure you are following the instructions carefully and giving the funder all information they ask for.

Formatting

  1. Consider the visual impression of your application. Use white space effectively. Think about font choices. Be strategic and consistent with your use of bolding.
  2. Use headings to label and differentiate sections of text. Consider using the program’s Evaluation Criteria as your headings, helping reviewers to easily check boxes in relation to your application.
  3. Make links between the Objectives, the Methodology and the Budget to ensure you’re conveying a cohesive and feasible project. One strategy is to construct a project timeline that references and connects each section of the application.

Once You Have a Draft

  1. Share it with others. Reviews from colleagues both inside and outside of your discipline, as well as Research Administrators from RGS, are invaluable. Consider their feedback and make revisions accordingly.
  2. Re-read the instructions to ensure you’ve checked all boxes.

The Best Way to Learn?

  1. By doing! The more applications you write, the better you will become.
  2. Consider sitting on evaluation committees for internal or external funding competitions. By reading successful and unsuccessful applications, you will learn more about best practices and common pitfalls.
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