Getting in the Research Game: How to Begin the Grant Writing Process

| Research Blog

For those looking to get in the grant game, knowing where to start can be intimidating to say the least. Here is how to get started on applying for research grants:

Know what you are looking for.

While each grant has stipulations, going in with no clue of what you are looking for can be, at worst overwhelming and at best, a poor use of time. Think of what type of research grant you are looking for. Grants come in all sizes, from multi-year projects with extensions to small grants intended to help boost already existing projects. Knowing what length and size of grant you are looking for would be beneficial in guiding your search. This may provide insight into funding sources as well; you may look at different sources based on grant size or topic of research. NIH, for example, offers different types of grants that would benefit different researchers. Check out this chart to find what type of NIH grant would be a good fit for you: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/funding_program.htm 

Ask a colleague.

Find out from your colleagues how they first started applying for grants, or if they know of grants applications that are coming up. It sounds redundant, but don’t feel embarrassed to ask others for help. Whether your conversation is full of what-not-to-do advice or they recommend a grant you haven’t heard of, there is power in being well connecting with your colleagues.

Find out what grants are available.

There are several ways to do this:

Plan out your application.

When you find a grant that looks like a good fit, start to make a To Do List, based on the application date. Read carefully on what the grant application process requires, and then juxtapose that date against your personal work calendar.

Ask yourself:

Break the task into pieces.

Scheduling when you will work on your grant is paramount, whether that be writing an abstract or creating a budget. Breaking down tasks into sizable chunks and scheduling time to work on the application is crucial. There is nothing worse than a half finished application because of poor planning. As a faculty member, you have a lot on your plate. Make sure you plan out your grant application process to make the process run smoothly.