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 to stop writing, whereas my normal situation is that I find it impossible to start.
I suppose it should be no surprise that a real question from a real person is a very potent stimulus. And the complete absence of questions and people isn’t. Maybe there is a research project in this…..
It’s worth reading the chat, not just for the wise words of the expert panelists but also in order to see what other people who are applying for research funding are thinking and worrying about. The chat is archived here and Claire Shaw has distilled the advice of the panel into ten tips here.
Reflecting on the chat, it occurred to me that many academics wander unwittingly into the trap of the never-ending grant application. I think it happens if you start to write a grant application before you are ready. It’s a version of catch 22. You can’t write a grant application if you aren’t ready. And you can’t get ready to write a grant application if you are trying to write it instead of trying to get ready.
So my next post will be about what you need to do before you commit to writing a grant application. It’s about how you will know that you can finish the job in a few weeks and avoid falling into the trap of the never-ending grant-application.
I think I’m ready to write about this. I’ll post by the beginning of next week.