Academic Writing

The grant writing system

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Grant proposal writing is a culmination of the whole research process. Academic scientific research is usually conducted with the help of private, federal, and philanthropic funding agencies, with the US Federal Government funding being the major part of this research. Therefore, knowing all peculiarities of the grant writing system is vitally important to everyone, who wants to get investment for his/her project. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest and the most reputable health research funding agency, both globally and domestically. Having the annual budget of $32 billion, the National Institutes of Health funds more than 70 percent of projects in the medical field. One more federal agency, the National Science Foundation, funds basic scientific research. Having an annual budget of $7.5 billion, the National Science Foundation funds approximately 25 percent of academic basic research. The annual budgets of these federal agencies are distributed via different scientific grants.

At the present-day moment, more than ever, there is a substantial competition for getting a grant from one of these agencies. In recent years, the number of companies and people trying to receive a grant significantly increased. Considering the overall number of applicants for a grant, no wonder that the average success rate is rather low and takes only about 18%. Given this information, being able to write a good grant proposal is an essential skill that should be inherent to those, who want to build a successful scientific career. If you are pursuing a career in this field and search everywhere with the request, “How to grant writing,” you definitely need to follow our suggestions.

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"How to grant writing" suggestions

  • Suggestion #1. Pay attention to your grammar/spelling.

Although your grant proposal will be evaluated mainly for its content, having no grammatical errors and typos in your grant is of paramount importance. With intense competition, even not significant grammatical mistakes can reduce your chances of getting the desired outcome. By noticing grammar mistakes, a reviewer may doubt your professionalism and attitude to work. The committee members will think “If this person makes such mistakes in writing, then the research may also contain mistakes.” Therefore, we highly recommend you to proofread your paper before submitting. Read it aloud several times or ask some of your friends do it for you. You can also consider hiring a professional editor, who specializes in proofreading and formatting of academic texts. All in all, we assure you that proper writing is a particularly important aspect of the grant writing system.

  • Suggestion #2. Pay attention to your structure.

Applying for a grant on some scientific project, you have to keep in mind that some scientific ideas may be rather complex for other people. Therefore, in your grant proposal, you need to explain them clearly. All grant committee members have certain structure expectations and if you want to succeed with your grant, you need to meet them all. In other words, you have to organize your thoughts, ideas, and statements properly to make them understandable to people knowing nothing about your project. Minimize using of unnecessary details. On the contrary, try to include the details that will improve the sentence flow.

  • Suggestion #3. Be consistent and concise.

Besides poor grammar and organization, lack of consistency can also become a factor that can prevent an applicant from getting the desired outcome. Therefore, it is particularly important to deliver a consistent paper with proper terminology and formatting. One more important aspect of grant proposal writing is the ability to explain the information succinctly. Keep in mind that the committee members have to read many proposals on a daily basis and making your proposal too complicated for them, you will reduce your chances for positive feedback.

  • Suggestion #4. Keep your proposal simple (but not too simple).

Most probably, people reviewing your proposal have a scientific background. Therefore, you do not need to explain it in detail. However, keep in mind that in order to make a positive decision, they still need to understand the value of your project. Thus, do not hesitate to explain it in your grant proposal. Indeed, you have to make your proposal neither too hard for your reader nor too simple. Of course, this task is pretty challenging to accomplish but the final outcome is worth all the efforts.

  • Suggestion #5. Keep in mind the power of figures.

Sometimes, a good picture may say more than hundreds of words. Keep this rule in mind when writing your grant proposal. Include the relevant diagrams, tables, and figures as long as they help you explain your project better. If you want to show the project design, budget, or preliminary data, using figures is particularly important.

In conclusion, it should be said that even if the writing process is not the most important thing in the grant writing system, its importance should not be underestimated. Knowing all peculiarities of grant writing, you will be able to succeed in starting a grant writing business. All in all, there are no writing techniques that can help turn a bad idea into a good one. However, the writing techniques may present a good idea in different perspectives, which significantly increases chances of getting a positive outcome.


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