Writing Grants – Quick Tips

Quick Tips for Grant Writing

  1. Write multiple drafts – Track changes for different grant sources. Also, it’s great to look back and see which changes were made to improve your writing
  2. Schedule time – Scheduling time on top of your regular coursework is important to keep you ahead of the deadline and allots time specifically for writing
  3. Trade drafts – Trading with colleagues puts a fresh eye on your work and allows feedback prior to submission
  4. Record where you’re stuck – If you get a case of writer’s block, start writing it down. Record why you’re stuck or what your questions are. This can spark brainstorming or allow you to come back to it later

Selling Your Grant Proposal

  1. Sell the Question – Write exactly what they want and what they are asking for. This is not the place for creative word-smithing. Use headlines that make sense with the questions they ask
  2. Sell the Methods – Be able to articulate your methods. Do your research. You should be able to source previous work and describe your methodology clearly.
  3. Sell Your Qualifications – They are making a gamble in choosing you, so show them why you should be chosen!
  4. Sell “Why it Matters” – Really spend time selling why it matters: not just a general approach, but specific reasons

Things to Spend Time On:

Your narrative will be judged by different agencies!

  1. Intellectual Merit – There should be no question that you did your research and have a clear understanding of your subject material.
  2. Broader Impacts – Think about who you are writing TO. Explain why what you’re doing matters.

Other Tips:

  • Read the agency’s statement of values – there are clues in the mission statement of what they are looking for.
  • Search for any and all past funded projects – you can also potentially see patterns
  • Get feedback
  • Network (with program officers)
  • Anticipate potential reviewers – source intelligently, be clear about your meaning

Featured Image Source

Hailman, JP and Strier, KB. 2006. Planning, Proposing, and Presenting Science Effectively: A Guide for Graduate Students and Researchers in the Behavioral Sciences and Biology. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2nd Edition.

Post Content – “Workshop” Discussion for NIU Graduate Students – Led by Dr. Mark Schuller and Dr. Mitch Irwin

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