Grant Writing Learning Corner
Writing grants can be a challenging - not only is the writing style different than other areas of academia, but it is also a competition with other qualified researchers. Knowing the basics of grant writing can help to write clearly and stand out.
Grant Writing Tips
- Download and read all available guidelines: Some competitions will have multiple documents (Guideline, Review Criteria, Webinar, FAQ, etc.) outlining the requirements for completing the application. Each of these are important, and each may not share all the necessary information. So read each thoroughly before starting the application process.
- Make sure you meet all eligibility criteria: Review the eligibility criteria and ask yourself: Are you at the appropriate career stage? Does your research idea match the funding opportunity’s topics of interests and the funding organization’s mission? Do you have the required experience, funding history, and knowledge dissemination history needed for the funding opportunity? Will your project have an impact that the funding organization will be interested in?
- Follow all formatting, sections, and content requirements: Make sure to note all sections listed in the guideline and formatting requirements and be sure to reflect these in your proposal. Failure to include simple formatting, sections, and content requirements may result in, at worst rejection, and at best reduction in reviewer’s scoring.
- Be clear on why this research, and why you: Make sure to clearly show why this research is important to the field and convey why it important to you. Also make sure to show why you (and your team) are the best suited to conduct this research project.
- Be organized: Make sure you have enough time to write drafts and get feedback, get all institutional requirements completed days before the deadline.
- Write clearly (but not at first): When starting, write as much as you can and getting your ideas out on paper. After writing you can edit and move content around later. When revising your draft, make sure each paragraph only includes 1 idea per paragraph. This will help structure your paragraphs, and write more clearly.
- Emphasize the right information in the right place: Include general information at the start and end of the proposal and at the start and the end of each section and paragraph, while placing details in the middle of the proposal and each section and paragraph.
- Think like a reviewer: When revising your draft, make sure to put on your reviewer glasses and ask if it’s clear, and if you have addressed all their questions. Look for any sections that are lacking details or that aren’t clearly addressed.
- Get frequent feedback and support in grant development: Besides having your co-investigators, PI or peers to review your proposal, you can also get support from the RTDO in developing and reviewing your proposal. If you are having difficulties in writing the whole draft, get feedback in chunks and send smaller sections for feedback.
Grant writing resources and workshops
- “Peer Review Manual” SSHRC
- “Peer Review Manual” NSERC
- NIH – How to Write a Grant
- “R01 Countdown: Tools for Writing Concise and Compelling Grants”Stanford Digital Repository
- “Grants and Funding Resources” SFU
- “Grant Writing Tips” Western University
Sex & Gender
- Handbook for Planning and Writing Successful Grant Proposals, Peg AtKisson
- The Zen of Proposal Writing: An Expert’s Stress-Free Path to Winning Proposals, Kitta Reeds
- The Only Grant Writing Book You’ll Ever Need, Ellen Karsh, Arlen Sue Fox