Author Archives: Andrew

Tell them; then convince them.

When writing a grant application you need to be direct.  Begin each paragraph with its main message. Then use the rest of the paragraph to convince them that the message is true. In the book we refer to this style … Continue reading

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Committees and Referees

The Journal Nature reported yesterday that scientists have complained that there is a mismatch between expert referees’ evaluation scores of research grant applications and funding decisions.  Different interviewees claimed that this mismatch either does or does not indicate either a … Continue reading

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Reshape Your Draft Grant Application

Last week I explained how to tell if your grant application is misshapen. Here I describe how to get it into shape. Let’s start with the most difficult kind of draft to deal with, one in which it’s hard to tell … Continue reading

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The misshapen monster and the zombie grant

What do you do when your grant application (or your colleague’s) turns out to be a misshapen monster? How do you even know if it has? Can you tell if it’s just a little bit deformed? Read on. This post … Continue reading

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Research Grant Cookbook

Is there a recipe for the 10 key sentences? This post is about an easy way to work out how to write the 10 key sentences that define a grant application. There are two reasons I think it’s worth writing … Continue reading

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The Summary: Your Direct line to Committee Feelgood

Not many people realise that the summary section on your grant application is a direct line to the most influential member of the committee that decides where it sits in the funding priorities. You can make this person feel really … Continue reading

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Aims and Objectives: What you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.

Aims and objectives provide an excellent framework for the case for support in a research grant application. A well-written case for support states an overarching aim based on a big research question. It shows how this big question gives rise to three or four smaller questions … Continue reading

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Put Some Meat in Your Feedback Sandwich

This is one of a series of posts with advice for people who review grant applications for their friends and colleagues. It is also intended to encourage people writing grant applications to review what you have written before you ask a colleague to … Continue reading

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Review a research grant-application in five minutes

This post tells you how to do a five-minute review of a research grant application. If you are asked to comment on a grant application by a friend or colleague, you should begin with this five minute review. In 95% of cases … Continue reading

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Get the Framework in Place – Quickly

In this post I want to describe the framework of a grant application. Its components are the key sentences in the case for support that define its essential message. I will explain what the sentences are and how you use them … Continue reading

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Are you ready to start?

In this post I will tell you how to decide whether you should start writing a grant application. In essence it’s about how to check whether you have a viable, fundable research project before you go to the trouble of … Continue reading

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Be Prepared

In this post I want to tell you how you can be prepared to write a grant application quickly and with minimum effort. Last week I warned you about the trap of the never-ending grant application. This week I am … Continue reading

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The trap of the never-ending grant application

This post outlines my theory of the trap of the never-ending grant application. There’s a very old joke about a tourist, driving in Ireland, who asked the way to Dublin. “If I were driving to Dublin” was the response, “I … Continue reading

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How Kent Beats the Research Funding Odds

When I participated in a live chat about grant-writing a few weeks ago, I was surprised at the widespread – and forcefully expressed  – view that HE managers want academics to write reams of pointless grant applications which face inevitable … Continue reading

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Guardian Live Chat

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in a live chat, on the Guardian Higher Education website, about how to write successful grant applications. It was very interesting for me because the rapid flow of questions made it impossible for me … Continue reading

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Writing by Numbers: the Case for Support in 7 Easy Steps.

This post is a step by step guide to writing the case for support in a research grant application. It describes the structure of the generic case for support and tells you what steps you should take to write it … Continue reading

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Writing the introduction:- Getting your Foot in the Door

This post is about the easy way to write the first part of the generic case for support for a research grant application. As I have explained in a previous post the first section of the case for support should … Continue reading

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Assert-justify Style:- Why and How?

Grant applications should be written in what we call assert-justify style. The first sentence in each paragraph carries the message of the paragraph. The sentence makes an assertion or statement. The remainder of the paragraph justifies or explains the statement … Continue reading

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We have a problem: writing the second part of the case for support.

This post is about writing the section of the case for support that convinces the reader that the research project you propose to do is really important and deserves to be supported with a grant. In the book, we call … Continue reading

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Describing your research project.

In this post I want to discuss how to build up a full description of a research project. The description of the research project is the last and biggest part of the generic case for support. Its length should be … Continue reading

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