Debunking Common Proposal Writing Myths

The world of research funding can seem mysterious and through our experience we have found that there are many myths which are perpetuated by inexperienced grant writers. These myths derail your efforts and can often lead to disengagement with the funding process. However, this is often no longer an option as applying for research funding is an increasingly important aspect of an academic’s role and so, this blog focuses on three of the most common myths we encounter at GrantCraft.

By seeing through these myths, you will be in a much stronger position to develop competitive applications – whatever reason you have for applying; be that escaping from teaching, finishing that monograph or expanding that pilot study!

It will only take me a few hours to put together a proposal, and can be done last minute

Applying for funding is a big commitment, and crafting an application isn’t easy or quick. Successful applications must be built not written. Every point must be explained, argued and justified. This takes time to think through all the points and then build them into your proposal.

All I need is one ‘standard’ proposal and I’m sorted

Every research funding body is different, and you need to tailor your arguments to fit their overarching priorities and the specific remit of the call. Ensuring you meet the strategic aims and priorities of the funder is vital to a successful proposal. A funder cannot justify allocating you money if your research doesn’t fit their strategy. It sounds basic but it’s easy to get caught up in your research and forget to package the research appropriately for the funder.

I can model my research after whatever the funder wants

However, the opposite side of the coin is also a bad idea for several reasons. If you’re constantly trying to adapt the core of your research to the whims and fancies of every funding body out there, you’re probably unprepared and writing grants at the last minute.

You are also at risk of not staying true to your core competencies and so are weakening your chances of success. To combat this, it is important to have a research business plan. The basis of which can be found in the answers to the following questions:

• How does your research fit into funder priorities?
• What will you be working on in 2, 5, 10 years?
• How strong are your networks including potential collaborators, stakeholders and beneficiaries?

By answering these points you can develop a skeleton framework of where your research is heading. From here it is possible to look at upcoming calls and funders’ priorities for several years in advance and map out potential opportunities.

It is essential to realise that grant writing is a craft and like any other craft, in order to be successful, you must develop and hone your skills. At GrantCraft we have a range of support mechanisms to give you the knowledge and skills to excel. Get in touch to find out more.

For further support on planning your next application, or if you have an idea for a blog that you want us to cover please Contact Us.