Research funding is growing increasingly competitive, so researchers must work hard to maximize their competitiveness when applying for grants. From choosing grants to apply for to writing applications to using secured grants to build your credibility for future funding, every step of the research process should be done with an eye to securing funding.
Here are 10 of the most important things you can do to maximize your chances of securing funding.
Networking and collaboration: A 2015 study showed that networking and collaboration played a strong role in whether or not a researcher received funding.[i] Being a part of large research teams generates more opportunities, and smaller teams enjoy higher-quality connections. Growing a network and taking a position of influence in that network increases funding chances dramatically.
Make your summary flawless: The summary is the first thing a committee reads, and has the most impact on your chances of any part of a grant application. Use it to tell the committee exactly why your research will be valuable, what problem you hope to solve, and why the problem is important.[ii]
Use social media: Follow funding agencies on social media, and be on the lookout for webinars and workshops funders offer at conferences.[iii] This can bring funding opportunities to your attention that you may never have found otherwise.
Write about how you’ll help the funding agency achieve its goals: Funding agencies have goals they want to accomplish with their money, and successful applicants will prioritize those goals instead of just discussing the research they want to do. Always write first and foremost about how your project will achieve the agency’s goals.
Adhere to grant requirements: Adhering to grant requirements is an issue of collaboration, respect, and gratitude for the opportunity to do your research.[iv] Approach it with this mentality, and make it a priority to show agencies that you are practical, credible, and reliable. Keep funding agencies informed of your research progress.
Publish every original research finding: Funding agencies want to know they’ll have some return on their investment, and if you don’t publish, there is no return. Even if your results are negative, write a paper, put your data into your institutional repository, and ensure that society enjoys the maximum benefit from your work. No one likes to publish negative results, but funding agencies like to see that you’ll produce something with their money no matter what. Past productivity predicts future funding success.[v]
Visit your grants office: Grants offices understand how to make you the most competitive applicant you can be, and can also help you adhere to funding requirements better.[vi] Use this valuable resource.
Choose the right grants to apply for: Different funding agencies support different types of research, and fund different aspects of research.[vii] Submit a few high-quality applications instead of an average application to every funding agency.