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Tips for Grant Applications from Sue Ziebland in discussion with the Early and Mid-Career Researchers and DPhils, 28 September 2020

  1. Get on a funding committee early on.  This will give you great insight into how funding committees work and think.  You will need to get a few grant applications under your belt first.
  2. A well written grant application that is understandable and convincing to anyone with any background is vital
  3. Programme managers – they are very nice people and if you’re not sure if your grant proposal is a good fit then do contact them and ask them.  They are very happy to be contacted and by approaching them you will create a better impression of yourself than if you don’t.  It is the opposite of what most people think.
  4. Find out who in the Department has sat on the committee you’re applying to and speak/meet with them.  Or speak to another researcher who’s been successful
  5. Grant writing workshops – Sue hopes to run one virtually later this term
  6. For each objective think why?  Write about why it’s important.  Then why this team is the right one.  Who on this team has got expertise in systematic reviews for instance, if there isn’t someone then you need to look at reaching out to someone who is so they can collaborate with you.
  7. Think about what makes a coherent proposal.  Think strategically who to have on the grant.  What’s the method you’re going to use to meet your objective and how will you achieve that
  8. Be respectful and nice to the reviewers.  They are doing this for free in their own time.  They will be delighted to receive a beautifully written clear proposal. 
  9. Leave time for colleagues to read through this.  Agree to do this for each other. 
  10. The grants process is stage 1, then feedback then do stage 2.  Do not ignore feedback you receive.  The exact same people who reviewed your stage 1 app will review your stage 2 so if you have ignored their feedback this will not go down well with the reviewers.  while sending feedback is standard practice in NIHR and most UKRI not all funding committees have a 2 stage process (and some don't give any feedback apart from a yes or no!)

Research Design Service 

The Research Design Service can advise and have online resources:

Home - Research Design Service South Central. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds the Research Design Service (RDS) to provide research design and methodological support to health and social care researchers across England to develop grant applications to the NIHR and other national peer reviewed funding programmes.

Funding Deadlines

Research Design Advisory Panel; Pre-Submission Review Panel; Essential Guide

Essential Guide to Grant App…

The course is funded and hosted by NIHR Research Design Service South Central