The Research Support Centre can help you apply for a range of competitive research grant funding opportunities. Follow these guidelines to ensure you have included all required information and submit a competitive application.
Advise the Office for Research
Let the RSC know, as early as possible, that you will be preparing a research grant application. The RSC staff will provide administrative support during the application and submission process.
Some funders require institutional and individual registration as they use electronic systems for submission. The process can take long, so it is critical to contact the RSC early so that they can assist with the registration and submission.
Other administrative issues include letters of support, biosketches/CVs, ethical issues, institutional approval policies and other additional information.
Read carefully and fully understand the call for applications/proposals
The call contains all of the important information required, i.e funder, purpose, key dates, award information, eligibility information, submission information, review criteria, and award administration information. Pay attention to the keywords. If you have any queries contact the program person listed on the call to assist in clarifying the issues.
Develop a strong and clear research proposal
Describe the work that you are proposing to do. Think strategically about the research problem you want to study. Make sure your research methodology is feasible. Remember most applications have page limits, thus write clear, concise and meaningful sentences.
Avoid sentences that are long and with complex phrases. Avoid also vague and ambiguous information e.g objectives. Presentation and layout is critical. Use tables, diagrams and other pictorial which can help to illustrate your ideas. Start writing early to allow time for polishing up your proposal.
Develop an appropriate budget
Remember the budget and budget justification will be scrutinized by the reviewers, thus you need to request an appropriate budget. Work closely with the finance staff in the Research Support Centre (RSC) to ensure you have correct budget allocations and that you have taken into account institutional requirements.
Get feedback from your peers/colleagues
Give your draft proposal to your colleagues for review. Some might have experience in grant writing or might even be reviewers, so they will provide you with useful feedback. It is advisable to link up with seasoned researchers who can be good grant writing mentors.
Read and learn from the reviewers
Some funders provide the review criteria or sample applications with reviewer’s comments. Take time to go through these resources and ensure that you have addressed all the points highlighted in the review criteria.
Spend time on the application
Read through carefully your final application to spot any errors and to ensure that you have used the correct font and font size. Reviewers can tell when an application has been rushed. Understand the game: Limited funding + Lots of proposals = Only the most competitive proposals receive grant funding.
Continuing to apply for funding improves your skill sets. Whether the proposal is funded or not, the reviewers comments will help in strengthening your next application.