For this post, I thought I would do something a bit different, namely, collect a few -seven to be precise- posts on grant writing advice by people who know better than I do. These include a post by a UK based company that specialises in EU and UK grants, a post in the chronicles of higher education, some advice that appears in forums from the European Research Council, the Human Frontiers Science Program and venerable journals such as Nature and Science. I also include an article related to how to get into TED/TEDx that I think is also relevant to grant writing.
So here are these resources, which I think will give you plenty of food for thoughts:
Summarises a number of important point, some of which I have alluded in my previous posts, including taking small steps and taking them often; building up to success by growing and strengthening your social network; collecting the all too important intelligence on the subject or area of your grant, the founder you are applying to and whom they have funded before in that area; collecting feedback earlier on, and the perennial “follow your passion”.
Collects the thoughts and tip from several successful ERC applicants. These include advice on the kind of problems and ideas to tackle, the amount of time required to put a successful application, how to deal with risky applications and the observation that as I mentioned in an earlier post, grant writing is not a zero-sum game. You get to gain a lot just by writing it even if -at the end- you do not get funded.
In this Nature post, the author provides much time-tested advice to increase your chances of success. Although the post is USA centric, I believe its lessons are -indeed- universal: expand your network; apply for larger grants – smaller is not always easier to get; socialise your grant before even starting to write, in particular, you must talk with the funding agencies programme managers, etc.
This Nature’s career brief gives five tips to increase your funding: target the appropriate funding body, learn from rejection (see my six steps plan to accelerate your grant writing learning), declutter your language, get feedback and stick to the deadline (see my previous post on this)
The Application of the Theory of Change in the construction of Research Proposals: A whistle-stop tour
Although the title might be off-putting, I strongly recommend you check this post. In my opinion, the framework presented is compelling: you must consider the context of your research, who the actors and stakeholders are, how they relate to each other, what impact or translational activities will be undertaken, etc. Although it might be overwhelming to think about all of these things simultaneously and certainly impossible to get them right at the first attempt to put pen to paper, there are tools you can use to start prototyping your grant and bringing these issues into focus and perspective.
In this booklet, Jacob Kraicer gives a detail list of things to check and do before and during grant writing. It advocates a quite meticulous and long-sighted planning process that includes setting in motion publications that may end up supporting your grant’s case.
This one is not specifically about grants but rather about what make great speakers failed to make the cut and become a TED speaker. It is a short blog post so I will not spoil it for you: go check it, its message is transferable to grant writing.
Finally, if you come across other sources of good advice for grant hacking, please get in touch and let us share the Karma!