It’s the age old question, ‘what makes a good grant application?’ Wellcome Trust have recently issued guidance on how to write a good Wellcome grant application, and the good news is that their guidance is useful for almost all grant applications regardless of the funder.
The guidance is summarised below, but you can find the full guidance on the Wellcome Trust website here: https://wellcome.org/grant-funding/guidance/how-to-write-wellcome-grant-application
Before you start to write
- Check you are eligible – Read all guidance, considering information about eligibility and suitability, what is being offered, how to apply and deadlines.
- Gather all the information you need – Get as much advice as you can, ask other people if they are willing to share their successful and unsuccessful applications with you, contact Research Development and Support early in the process so we can guide you through the application and internal approval processes.
- Make sure your proposal is competitive – Discuss your ideas with your sponsor, mentor, and/or senior colleagues. Get input from colleagues who are inside and outside your research field. You should think about the following, and take it into account when you write your application:
- Your research proposal including the importance of the research question(s), the quality and feasibility of your proposal, how creative your idea is, your knowledge of the research area, teamwork and why a collaborative approach is the best one.
- You as an applicant including the timing of your application for the stage of your career, your track record and experience, your contributions to the research area, your career development, your autonomy and ownership of the project.
- Your research environment including how the research environment will support you to do the research, any opportunities for development the host will provide, how you will contribute to a positive and inclusive research culture.
Writing your application
- Give yourself plenty of time – It’s really important that you avoid rushing your application. Allow plenty of time ahead of the deadline.
- Other timings that matter – Allow enough time for your application to be approved and submitted by the ‘authorised organisational approver’ at the host organisation. Make sure you’re aware of any deadlines at your organisation that could delay this.
- Make your application easy to read and understand:
- Aim your proposal at people who have specific expertise in your field as well as those who have broader research experience.
- Provide a balanced overview of the background, rationale and supporting evidence. Refer to appropriate studies by others and use preliminary data, pilot studies and/or scoping research to support your research question(s).
- Give enough detail that reviewers can understand what you’re proposing, how it will be carried out and whether it’s feasible.
- Request research costs that are necessary for your project. Make sure you’re aware of what you can and cannot ask for.
- Use a title that is specific and reflects the importance of your proposal. Structure your writing with clear headings and subheadings.
- Write in clear English and avoid technical jargon where possible. Keep abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum – define them when they’re first used.
- List all references consistently, using the format requested.
- Use diagrams and figures where appropriate.
- Check your spelling and grammar
The above has been amended from guidance originally published on the Wellcome Trust website