Grants are very common funding sources for scientific research projects. A grant can be for anything, such as supporting your department’s trip to attend an academic conference, or paying for student internships at your university.
Grants typically don’t require much money beyond what is needed to cover overhead costs, and sometimes even no cost at all! Because of this, it is not too difficult to obtain a small personal grant if you put in some effort.
However, asking people to contribute to your fund is usually not the best way to gain grants. This article will talk about other ways to get funding through scientific research grants.
Create a grant proposal
Creating a grant proposal is its own unique process that varies slightly from application to application. However, there are some general guidelines that can be applied to most proposals. To make your proposal stand out, keep it brief but eye-catching!
Understand the requirements of the grant you want to apply for before starting to write. The agency hosting the event will send these to you so after reading them, start writing!
Your proposal should include: title, summary, goal, audience, supporting documents and materials, acknowledgements, and questions/comments.
Present your proposal
After deciding what type of grant you want, it’s time to start thinking about how to get that money! The first thing you will need to do is present your proposal. This can be done via email or through an online portal like Grants.gov.
When presenting your proposal, make sure to cover all of the important components such as why this project is needed, what steps have been taken to ensure success, who will be involved in the project, and what results you expect to achieve. Make sure to emphasize the importance of these points clearly and concisely.
It is also helpful to include some examples of projects with similar goals to show how other people pitched their proposals.
Get your grant agreement
Before you apply for a research grant, you will need to get an official ‘grant agreement’. This is called a funding statement or proposal letter. It outlines all of the things that the recipient can expect to receive from you as well as how much money they are willing to give you.
It also usually includes what conditions must be met for the funds to be released (for example, the project has to be completed within a certain time frame) and what percentage of the grant will go to pay for the costs of running the project (usually referred to as direct cost).
The rest goes towards indirect cost schemes such as using shared resources at the university which reduce the overhead expenses. These are not directly paid for by the university but added into the budget via a negotiated deal with other departments and/or individuals.
Prepare for and during the grant period
During the application process, you will have to provide very detailed information about your research and what you want funding for. This includes things like project descriptions, potential outcomes of the research, how you will disseminate findings, and more.
Applicants are also asked to discuss past success stories or evidence that their current approach is successful. You may be asked to present these at an interview or via a document, such as a publication or presentation.
Interviews can be conducted in person, by phone, or over video chat programs like Google Hangouts or Skype. Depending on the style of the institute being visited, this could be face-to-face with a member of the scientific staff, a senior academic, or both.
In order to prepare for the interview, individuals should ensure they are well prepared and know the most important topics for discussion. These include anything from theories and concepts related to your field to personal experiences and introductions.
Track and manage your grant
Now that you have found an appropriate scientific research project, it is time to start tracking down grants! The second part of getting funding for your project includes gathering information about how to get a grant.
There are many ways to approach this. Some projects offer their own set of tools and resources to help you with your fundraising.
Finish your grant and post-research processes
After you have completed all of the necessary steps, it is time to actually get your research money! Most academic funding sources have an application process that includes submitting a proposal, gathering required documents and materials, and then waiting for approval or rejection.
Some organizations offer early stage grants that require no applications at all! Simply send in what you need and ask if they will fund you, which is great because you don’t have to go through the initial stages of the grant process to get started.
General guidelines: Don’t expect too much help upfront – most successful applicants already have some resources so they invest into their own projects first.
Share your findings
One of the biggest reasons people do not get their research funded is because they do not share their results. As mentioned before, being self-funded can be quite difficult at times, so it is important to understand how to manage this situation.
If you are able to gain some level of funding, then great! But even if you are still struggling, there are many ways to spread your research beyond yourself. You may be given an opportunity to present your work at a conference or exhibition, or maybe someone will invite you to discuss your work. Or perhaps you will meet other researchers who can help you reach more people with your work.
Whatever method comes up, just make sure that what you are sharing is appropriate for the audience and field of your research. If you are talking about medical treatments, ensure that others know about potential risks. If you are discussing nutrition, make sure that people see it as factually accurate rather than marketing material.
By being aware of such guidelines, you will avoid wasting time and energy trying to promote something that has little credibility.
Get your ideas out there
A grant is not given to you, you have to apply for them! If you are passionate about an area of research, share your ideas with us. You can do this in person, via Skype, or online forums such as Reddit or Facebook.
Presenting your ideas to people may be hard, but it will definitely get you closer to your goal. You could win some valuable feedback which helps you take your project next level.
Some tips: when presenting your idea, make sure it sounds professional and clear. Be concise, logical and engaging. Use simple language and pictures if possible.
And don’t forget to follow up! After your presentation, send someone from our Grants Team an email thanking them for their time and mentioning what you learned from the meeting. Make sure to keep things formal and natural.