Applying for funding

To progress your research career, you need to communicate your ideas in a compelling way to secure funding. If you are new to writing grant proposals, a good place to start is to speak to your colleagues or principle investigator to learn about their best practice. The following three tips might also be helpful:

Ensure your research fits funder criteria

It is essential that your grant proposal fits the remit of the funder you are applying to. Take time to read and understand the scope and remit of different funding schemes before deciding where to apply. It is also good practice to speak to a Research Funding Manager at the funder before you even start to write your application. This can help you understand what they are looking for, whether you are eligible to apply for the grant, and if your research meets the scheme’s criteria.

Seek critical friends to review your early applications

This might be a supervisor or a colleague in the lab, but it can also be helpful to ask someone who is familiar with the grants process - but less familiar with your work - to read it. This will help you to uncover new angles on your research question, potentially from other disciplines, to anticipate potential objections and to benefit from having multiple proof-reading opportunities. You need to make sure that your proposal makes sense to reviewers who might not be experts your field. If appropriate to the application scheme, ask colleagues to help with mock pitches or interviews.

Leave plenty of time for applying

Grant submissions are hard work, even after the writing is complete. Ensure you leave plenty of time before the deadline to complete tasks such as completing eligibility fields, uploading large files and obtaining host institution or collaborator approvals in the electronic grant submission system. Your institution’s research office will often be able to help with this and will have plenty of experience, so make sure you use this support. 

Find more tips from Nature on writing proposals with these secrets to writing a winning grant

For more information on where to find funding, take a look at our Finding Funding pages.