Managing rejection – part two

In yesterday’s post, we looked at the initial moment your application is rejected, and how to digest what’s happened. Today’s post will look at what to do once you’ve reflected on the feedback.

For your own sanity, the first thing to consider is whether it is worth pursuing further, or if time has moved on and it’s time for something new. Whatever, you decide, you know that time and planning is a big factor. Like a research project, you also need to map out your application preparation as a project, to ensure you have sufficient time to craft it into a fundable bid. If you need partners, this needs even more time to find the right ones, develop the relationship, and ensure it’s trusted and beneficial to the research.


To be blunt, most funders will not accept a resubmission. Funder success rates are low enough without old applications being repeatedly submitted. You also shouldn’t expect a different result from doing the same thing. Funders will expect a substantial change to an application if you’re going to submit the same research as a new bid. If the only changes you make are in response to the reviewer comments then you’re 99% more likely to be rejected again, and possibly before it’s even gone to reviewers. If a funder has a ‘no resubmission’ policy, they will chuck out anything that looks like one (they know the tricks too, and so you can’t fool them by swapping personnel or changing the title).

If a funder does allow resubmissions or has invited one, you’ll need to declare this upfront. If you thoroughly revise the application, take the advice of your peers, and resubmit, you could be successful.

Submit to different funders

You may be tempted to submit to another funder. However, beware! The funder may have a whole different approach, criteria, priorities, and schemes. Remember that you tailored your application originally for a specific funding call or a funders priorities. You will still need to substantially revise your application. If you start moving sections to fit into new ones, you may undermine your message, and your research becomes unclear. We’re back to using the crowbar again.

New idea

If you decide that you want to make a fresh start, do think about the tips given above and in yesterday’s post, and employ these to your next bid.

Alternative funding opportunities can be found on Research Professional. All BU academics have an account.

In RDS, we can help you review your feedback and determine what steps you should take next. We’re building a bank of funder feedback and ensuring that our training and development for research reflects the most common weaknesses identified. More information will be provided in Friday’s post, written by Research Facilitator, Alex Pekalski.