Getting funded for your research ideas is not easy. Some researchers have to abandon their projects because they have difficulties finding additional funding to carry on their research. Some researchers assume that searches for funding are something that everyone knows about, while the reality is that preparing a successful grant application is a skill that everyone can learn.
Many research grants are awarded on a competitive basis, but having the most relevant research idea is not the only requirement to getting a better chance of having your project funded. Scientists and academics who have big ideas which can potentially help the health and medical fields should not immediately let go of their idea because their grant proposals got rejected.
This article will cover some basic strategies on how you can get your research idea funded.
- Learn about grant writing.
Before applying for grants, it would be helpful to acquaint yourself with grant writing. Get samples of application drafts from your fellow researchers, or research for samples online. Even if you do not have a research project in mind, it is important to start researching early so you can get funding grants when they are available.
- Decide what you need the money for.
When asking for a grant, you need to know the scope of your project so you understand where you will need the funding for. Will it be to help pay for the travel for the archival research or fieldwork, will it be to cover for the time you need to do the project? Or will it be for the expenses to bring experts together to hold a workshop? If necessary, get quotes from suppliers to ensure your budget is reasonable.
- Read the eligibility criteria.
It is important to see if there is a match on what you want funded, and what types of research falls within the scope of what the funders are interested in. Reading the rules can save you application time if there is no match between what you are looking for and what the funder is looking to sponsor
- Talk to other researchers or university professionals who have experienced getting their grants approved.
Talking to other researchers can give you a better understanding on what they did to prepare themselves for their research idea to get granted. It would be even more helpful to get acquainted with researchers who have won funding from the organization you are applying to.
Aside from researchers, you can also approach university professionals; they can be senior advisors or professors who have experience in the field of getting funding. They can help you develop your project description, help you with budgets, and advice and assist with grant applications.
- Learn to answer the questions asked
One common mistake done by applicants is not answering the questions being asked by the funders. Most applications are given asset of guidelines such as limited word count, so it is important to focus on what is important about your proposed research and clearly lay out your proposal according to the required formats.
- If you’re unsure, ask.
It is highly recommendable to get in contact with the funders if you are unsure about something or have particular questions about the application.
- Ask other people outside the research circle to read your application.
The people who read your application are not necessarily technically as knowledgeable as you in the topic you are planning to research about. It would really help if you get friends, family or other people outside the academic circle to read and comment on your application. This way, your application would be more understandable by the panel who will be reviewing your application.
- Revise, revise, and revise.
Quality is better than quantity. You are better off working hard on one research proposal and keep revising it until you are ready to submit a high quality application rather than cutting yourself too thin and sending several different proposals with little preparation for each. Give yourself time to read, prepare, write and review your application before sending it through.
- Don’t let rejection stop you.
Do not let one rejection disappoint you. A lot of researchers had to apply many times before they received a grant. Being rejected does not mean that your idea is not worth pursuing. It may just mean that you may need a different approach, or it might mean that there was not enough funding available in the round you were in.
If you get rejected, it is very important to ask for feedback as to why you got rejected. Most likely you will be getting suggestions from the reviewers which can add value to your next application.
- Be proactive about finding more opportunities.
When you have a clearer understanding about what kind of funding you will be needing for your research idea, it would be easier to start matching it with the different grants available.