The publisher Wiley has lots of useful resources for researchers, educators and professionals, including a blog by Helen Eassom on how to write a research grant proposal. Below is an edited excerpt from their website, printed with permission from Wiley.

Most researchers in health and science come across grant proposals or applications at some point in their careers. In fact, many positions depend on them, whether they are doctoral students who require fellowships, postgraduates setting up relatively simple projects as they start employment, or more senior staff who need to have a steady stream of research projects.

Although a significant amount of money is available from governmental bodies, charities, and commercial organisations, there is a large pool of researchers, it can be very competitive. Developing a grant application can feel daunting at first. But with practice and good support, it gets easier.

1. Make yourself visible (the sooner, the better)

It’s a good idea to start building up your profile within academia early on. Make use of all the resources available to showcase yourself, your research, and your achievements. These include your page on your institution’s website, your personal website if you have one, and social media sites such as LinkedIn.

2. Collaboration is key

Try to build up your publication record as early as possible. This can obviously be tricky if you don’t have funding in the first place, but think about collaborating with other academics who do have funding available to them. If you’re in the earlier stages of your career, you might consider applying for funding as a junior co-investigator with more senior academics. You might also want to think about making connections via social media, or through research networks, to establish relationships with potential collaborators.

3. Think carefully about the content

Your application will need to address some basics:

  • Why is your research topic important?
  • Why is further research needed in this area?
  • Why am I the best person to carry out this research?
  • What theories are you testing, building upon, or contributing to?
  • What would make funding your research worthwhile?
  • What outputs will your research result in?
  • What journals will you submit your research to, and what is the process to do it?

You’ll need to provide a clear justification for all costs, so think carefully about the time and resources needed to complete the research successfully within the specified period.

If you’re unsure about what to include in your proposal, ask advice from senior or more experienced colleagues.

4. Review, review, review

Make sure you leave plenty of time to review your application before submitting it. And, the more people you can get to review your draft application, the better – especially those from outside your specific area of research.

Remember that most members of funding panels will have their own areas of subject expertise, so you’ll want to write your application in a way that means it can be understood by a broader audience. Keep your language clear, simple, and free of any jargon.

Also, don’t forget to check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. You may have written a brilliant application, but if it’s full of spelling errors or grammatical mistakes, it’s likely to be rejected.

5. Don’t give up!

Many good funding applications get rejected for a myriad of reasons, so don’t be discouraged by your first (or fifth) rejection. You do need to be ‘in it to win it’. Just make sure that you address any feedback you receive, and refine your proposal accordingly. Then try again.

Content originally published by Wiley, and edited for the Society for the Study of Addiction website by Natalie Davies. The SSA is very grateful for the opportunity from Wiley to share this useful resource with its readership.

The opinions expressed in this post reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official positions of the SSA.

The SSA does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information in external sources or links and accepts no responsibility or liability for any consequences arising from the use of such information.