You can take an academic to a grant-writing workshop but…

The poster describing the University of Kent Grants Factory won first prize at the ARMA conference in Southampton last week. I have put a pdf of the poster, which is brilliantly drawn by Phil Ward, on the resources page. The remainder of this post is the poster abstract.

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This poster describes a programme that helps researchers learn what a fundable grant proposal looks like – and how to write one.

It is easy to convince an academic colleague that a fundable grant proposal must be clearly structured and well written. It is almost impossible to get the same academic colleague actually to produce a clearly structured, well-written proposal.

The ‘Grants Factory’ approach achieves this through training sessions led by senior academics with personal experience of grants’ committees. It was developed at the University of Kent and was the springboard for a forthcoming handbook The Research Funding Toolkit (Aldridge and Derrington 2012), see www.rftk.eu.

The training sessions include the following elements:

• Insights from successful researchers who have evaluated hundreds of poorly written proposals
• Informal, small group format
• Discussion of writing technique and style
• Group work on actual proposals

The Grants Factory acts as a catalyst for the formation of an engaged network of funding applicants with a positive, realistic and resilient approach to winning research grants.

The Grants Factory has run at Kent since 2009 with 8-10 oversubscribed sessions each year, repeat attendance, testimonials from funded alumni and a number of strategically important, high value grants for the University.

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