The SSP Guide to Writing a Grant

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A: Development phase

  1. Build the best team and make sure they are fully engaged at all stages of the grant – clearly identify roles and tasks of the team in submission and operation of the grant. Meet in person for at least 1 day.
  2. Get the vision clear.
  3. Build on preliminary data, previous work (clearly demonstrate in CfS)
  4. Appropriate scale – ambitious but not too ambitious, achievable in the timeframe, careful costing (n.b. cheaper grants are not more successful)
  5. Talk to funders, home institute, colleagues, specialist facilities where required
  6. What has been funded in previous rounds e.g. GOTW

B: Writing phase

  1. Why now, why you, what’s innovative – is this proposal highest international significance and state of the art (not incremental), compelling story.
  2. Summary at beginning of case for support add a schematic overview of grant
  3. Clear hypotheses and deliverables clearly linked e.g. via workpackages 
  4. Doesn’t need to perfect in first draft getting it down is important.
  5. Clear signposting to address the call or criteria of funders – ensure you have read this before writing (if you do not fit do not apply). 
  6. Special care with the summary inc. those elements reviewers see first or are likely to use in rapid review
  7. Transparent – e.g. description of methods and their appropriateness for expert and generalist.
  8. Figures need to be useful, clear and self-contained, attractive.

C: Submission

  1. Give yourself time – 6 months standard grant, you need time to reflect
  2. Independent and critical review – expert and non-expert
  3. Print grant before submission – what do reviewers see first, easy to spot key points e.g. bold, ensure overall presentation is appealing
  4. Letters of support – identified in proposal, provide clear role and identify resources and active participation provided by the partner, not generic, demonstrate previous or ongoing engagement. Get them early.

D: Post submission

  1. Polite and considered response to reviewers addressing each point supported by data and literature – identify and reject reviewers before submission within the team
  2. If not funded, be resilient, reflect think again resubmit.

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