Grant Application Tips
WRITING TIPS PROPOSALS
The truth of the matter is that you cannot avoid writing your proposal. It will help to have some useful hints that can lighten the process. This is not the same as writing the proposal, it is more like guidelines that can be made use of in order to ensure that you follow the entire application process to the letter. The proposal is just one step. You actually need to follow an application procedure. This section will give you some positive hints as to how to do that. Let’s take a look at these hints now.
READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
Government announcements are extremely serious and should be accepted as such. Government funding for research purposes is indeed a privilege, and not a right. The dates might be firm and cannot be changed for any reason; the required forms might be necessary; the signatures are necessary. Read the rules and save yourself a lot of irritation later because without following the instructions to the letter, you won’t get approved.
You must remember that reviewers tend to correlate bad prose with bad science. This implies that if you write badly, you will not be taken seriously. Who would invest their money in a person who seems oblivious to basic ideas such as reading and writing?
HAVE SOMEONE REVIEW YOUR PROPOSAL
You will miss on the obvious problems in your proposal due to the fact that you are too close to them. It is better to have someone that you trust to review your proposal so that you can get an opinion which is objective.
SPELL AND GRAMMAR CHECK IT
This rule should be obvious, but we create an incredible number of misspelled documents without even looking twice. Don’t forget that reviewers have a tendency to correlate bad spelling with bad investments.
CLEARLY EXPLAIN WHAT YOU PROPOSE
You must remember that the reviewer is not inside your head to guess your ideas. What you intend to do with the money has to be made as clear as possible to them as it is clear as crystal to you. Have someone you trust review your proposal for clarity if you like. The harder a reviewer has to work to understand your proposal, the more annoyed they will be likely to get. Annoying your reader won’t work in your favor.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BIG PICTURE
This implies that you will have to place your work in the larger context of your field. You will need to able to look ahead and then project what you see to the grant agency.
TRY TO BE CHARMING
Don't write a grant in a patronizing or unfriendly manner. It is an absolute fact that getting on the reviewers nerves is rarely a good idea. You will want the reviewers to think of you as a honest person that they can trust to do right by their money. You should really think of it as similar to a job interview in that you have to show your best side every time you try to speak to people.
USE AN EASY TO READ FONT
This is quite an easy tip to follow these days. If your work is so important that you require using tiny fonts in order to get all the information within the page limit, then you will be seen as writing with an attitude. Reviewers will be annoyed when they need to use a magnifying glass to look right into your project.
More on the same topic, Grant Application Tips 2