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STRATEGIES FOR WRITING A GRANT APPLICATION

Written by MicroDok

What is a grant? Grants are non-repayable funds or products disbursed or given by one party (grant makers), often a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, to a recipient, often (but not always) a nonprofit entity, educational institution, business or an individual. They are funds that are disbursed to a recipient or organization by a government department, foundation, or corporation to fund a specific project or research. In this section, we present the NIH (National Institute of Health or National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) guide on how best to write a grant application or research proposal in order to win a Grant for your research. The procedures or guidelines outline in this section are good and helpful.    

THINGS TO KNOW AND DO BEFORE YOU START WRITING

  • Learn and acquaint yourself with the institutes or organization’s goals and priorities. If you are writing to NIH (National Institute of Health) for example, first known and learn what the goals and priorities of NIH is; then write your proposal in line with these objectives.
  • Identify some innovative, well-respected mentors, supervisors, Professors, senior scientists or researchers as well as collaborators that you can work with, in the institute.
  • Be familiar with the application and review process of the institution.
  • Be familiar with the criteria that affect the overall impact of your work on the institute or organization.
  • Find out and learn what the reviewers of the institute looks for in submitted applications.
  • Know the literature and/or basic information of the anticipated work you are proposing.
  • Propose your best and innovative ideas.

SPECIFIC AIMS

  • Include objectives and hypothesis in your application or proposal.
  • If the project is not hypothesis-driven, explain why the proposed work is important.
  • Describe the knowledge gap or gaps in the current literature.
  • Aims should be inter-related without being too co-dependent.
  • Do not propose too much work for the time available.

SOME WRITING TIPS

  • Remember to justify all proposed research in your application.
  • Include appropriate controls in your research.
  • Justify all in vitro cell types or cell lines to be used.
  • Provide a statistical analysis plan in your proposal.
  • Identify pitfalls and alternative strategies.
  • Discriminate between direct and indirect effects.

IMPORTANT TOPICS IN PEER REVIEW

  • Significance and impact of the anticipated study.
  • Exciting ideas, clearly explained.
  • A well prepared application.
  • Realistic aims and timelines.
  • Brevity with well-known information.
  • Potential problems and alternative methods.
  • Appropriate expertise with strong supporting letters.
  • Documentation of necessary resources and access to the resources.
  • Human subjects, vertebrate animals, and biohazard sections are addressed.
  • Statistical basis for studies (reproducibility).

SCORING: OVERALL IMPACT

  • Assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research filed(s) involved
  • Likelihood (i.e., probability) is primarily derived from the investigator(s) approach and environmental criteria.
  • Sustained powerful influence is primarily derived from the significance and innovation criteria.

SCORING: REVIEW CRITERIA

  • Significance
    • Does the proposed work address an important problem or critical barrier in the field?
  • Investigator(s)
    • Is the investigator and other researchers well suited for the proposed work?
  • Innovation
    • Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigm.
  • Approach
    • Are the overall strategy, methodology and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the work proposed?
  • Environment
    • Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success.

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA

  • Protections for human subjects.
  • Inclusions of women, minorities, and age-appropriate children.
  • Appropriate use of vertebrate animals.
  • Management of biohazards.

COMMON PROBLEMS

  • Lack of new or original ideas.
  • Multiple or unclear overall objectives.
  • Absence of an acceptable scientific rationale.
  • Limited experimental detail, or methodology or plan.
  • Lack of experience with essential methods.
  • Unclear knowledge of published work.
  • Questionable reasoning in the approach.
  • Propose too much work.
  • Uncertainty about future directions.

APPLICATION PRESENTATION

  • Have clear organization and headers.
  • Make it visually appealing and readable.
  • Figures, tables, diagrams, flowcharts of adequate resolution and readability.
  • Cross-reference, label, and number everything.
  • Watch out for typographical errors.

AFTER THE REVIEW

  • Read the summary statement.
  • Discuss with colleagues and mentor(s).
  • Talk to the program officer of the institute or organization you are applying to, either by email or phone call.
  • Resubmit your application addressing reviewer’s critiques.

Source: NIH

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