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Grant Writing Considerations . Sean Gallagher. Three key things. You Your science Your proposal. You. Start during your PhD, i.e. now Don’t wait till you’re finished to write up, publish now Track Record. You. Conferences Awards Scholarships Grant writing for your boss experience.

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three key things
Three key things
  • You
  • Your science
  • Your proposal
  • Start during your PhD, i.e. now
  • Don’t wait till you’re finished to write up, publish now
  • Track Record
  • Conferences
  • Awards
  • Scholarships
  • Grant writing for your boss
  • experience
  • Significant contribution to science
  • Community involvement
  • Conference organisation
  • Self-promotion – how do you do it?
  • (without being seen to be arrogant)
  • What is ‘relative to opportunity’?
your science
Your science
  • How well do you know your science?
  • Do you have a strategy?
  • What’s the common theme?
  • What is the big picture?
your science7
Your science
  • How does your science rate internationally?
  • Is it stamp collecting?
  • Are you competitive?
  • Are you at the forefront?
  • What strategies can you employ to get there?
your science8
Your science
  • How valuable to society is your science?
  • How do you find out?
  • Why should it matter?
your proposal
Your proposal
  • Why apply for funding?
  • How does the university benefit?
  • What is the peer-review process?
1 ambition
1. Ambition
  • impression of importance – a combination of content and perception

→this project is worth doing

  • there should be some measurable health outcome
  • Aims & hypothesis – strong & bold & profound
  • active, exciting – “doing, not being”
  • Means to an end: attain, evaluate, obtain, assess.

→use determine, develop, design, establish…

  • avoid unnecessary repetition
  • turn negatives or shortcomings into opportunities. “challenges that need tackling” or “problems that need solving” – if possible, set up your prop such that this can be achieved or partly achieved.

→ this leads to innovation.

2 structure
2. Structure
  • Title
  • Short intro (1/3 page) (SMH level)

- outline broader theme

- relevance/importance

- stats (% and numbers)

- humanise

- key issues/hot topics of area

- problem

→ Aims & Hypothesis

  • Strong, bold
  • 3 Maximum
  • Ambitious

→ project

→ you

  • Linchpin for the whole proposal
  • Not too many – 1 per aim
  • Bold
  • Fact-in-waiting
  • In the positive
  • Background relevant to the aims
  • what’s relevant?

→ what does the assessor need to know to understand this proposal?

  • keep literature review to what is needed
  • Build your case
  • Keep tight
research plan
Research Plan
  • Clear and strong link between aims and methods

→“to achieve the aims, the project employs a three-phase strategy…”

  • Bold key words in aims and repeat them in headings of relevant phases
  • Use an accepted method
  • No clangers
outcomes and significance
Outcomes and significance
  • Don’t forget it!
  • Short-term and longer-term outcomes
  • Health outcomes
  • Impact
  • New knowledge
  • National Research Priorities
  • 2/3 page
4 layout
4. Layout
  • Sub-headings
  • Diagrams
  • Graphs
  • Flow charts
  • Photos
  • Dot points
  • Short paragraphs
  • Rule of thumb

→ there should not be a single page of just text

what is your point
What is your point?
  • Subheadings – use them to convey information
  • E.g. Exercise

→ Lack of exercise leads to obesity

  • Pack the punch at the beginning of the paragraph

→ space saver!

brownie points
Brownie points
  • Finish your proposal in less than 9 pages!
5 innovation
5. Innovation
  • What is it? Or What is a project?
  • It can be the ‘what’
  • It can be the ‘how’
  • Problems or obstacles are opportunities to be innovative
  • Not just the outcome but the process
how do you show innovation
How do you show innovation?
  • Not just once or twice in the prop
  • The whole document should have a feel of innovation
  • new, novel, for the first time, break new ground, innovative, never before, etc
  • But how?

→”The challenge will be to solve X. To achieve this, we will use a new method…”

one last point on innovation
One last point on innovation
  • What problems are you solving along the way to achieve your aims?
6 new knowledge
6. New Knowledge
  • What new knowledge are you creating?
  • Who will be interested in this new knowledge?
  • Think beyond end-user and your field
  • Think about other fields
  • Think wider impact
  • Think laterally
knowledge is your currency
Knowledge is your currency
  • Try to avoid “understanding, address, consider, investigate”
  • Knowledge is the currency
  • Talk about creating new knowledge orcreating new science orcreating new medical knowledge…
big picture
Big picture
  • Who will be interested in this new knowledge?
  • Educators, clinicians, researchers, health planning services, W.H.O., drug companies, manufacturers…
  • What perception are you creating?

→ connected with the big picture or 60 hours a week in the lab?

7 impact and significance
7. Impact and Significance
  • ‘NOW’ factor

→ why should this project get fundednow?

  • Impact – end-user

- field of research

- other fields of research

- wider

  • (what new knowledge are you creating?)
  • Urgency – crisis

- worsening problem

- small window of opportunity

  • Strategic – will this project lead to bigger and better things?

→i.e. more research

8 return on investment
8. Return on investment
  • Self check
  • Now, with an objective eye, ask yourself:

→”Is the NHMRC going to get a good return on their investment?”

9 pilot studies
9. Pilot Studies
  • Key results – showing that aims are achievable –proof of concept
  • Method – it works
  • You – you have learnt from the pilot and are proficient, skilled-up.
10 track record
10. Track Record
  • Relative to opportunity
  • Don’t be a whinger or negative. Instead be positive:

→”In addition to the papers reported here, I teach 3rd year physics, supervise 5 PhD students and am actively involved in the running of the department…”

  • If you don’t say, they won’t know

→ sickness, parental leave, caring duties

  • select a few seminal papers and mention the citation/year rate for them (even if outside 6 years). Add one line of comment about the paper.
  • demonstrate wider interest in your work - “my work has been cited in several fields, not just biochemistry, such as…”
  • do NOT include ‘submitted’ papers. put “manuscript submitted” or “manuscript in preparation” in your progress reports
  • do NOT ‘inadvertently’ put in an extra year of your papers – keep to the maximum of 6 years
  • be careful about book chapters – have they been reviewed?
  • avoid “leader”, “pioneer’ type labels – demonstrate by outcomes such as awards, prizes, elected to this board or that council, etc.
  • don’t be too grandiose about achievements but rather use more impersonal statement of fact.

→“Our group developed this method, which is now being used in labs in Cambridge and MIT.”

how to get started
How to get started?
  • Apply for internal funding
    • Faculty
    • Sesqui
  • Apply for New Investigators Grant
  • Be an associate investigator on projects
  • Come and see me
  • Read Research Office Bulletins