"There is no grantsmanship that will turn a bad idea into a good one, but there are many ways to disguise a good one." - Dr. William Raub, Former Deputy Director, NIH
Grant Writing Tips
- The research question must be worth asking. Is the question relevant and original?
- Know the granting agency. Do they fund projects in your area? Target the proposal to the agency's objectives or to the particular call for proposals.
- Learn about the review committee. What kind of expertise is represented? Assume that the reviewers are in a somewhat related field, not an expert directly in the area of the proposal, and write the grant accordingly.
- Learn from others. Examine successful grants in your area.
- Start early. Allow plenty of time for writing, gathering signatures, obtaining CVs of co-applicants, and rewriting.
- Support the proposal with strong preliminary data. Show that your plan is feasible.
- Follow granting agency instructions exactly.
- Write for the reviewers. Your grant should be clear, to the point and enjoyable to read. This document summarizes scoring criteria for SSHRC Insight and Insight Development grants.
- Have a colleague(s) review your document for the science. (Internal Review)
- Have a "lay reader" proofread your document for spelling, grammar and to ensure that you have followed the agency's instructions.
- A strong CV is important. If applicable to the granting agency, the "most significant career contributions" section is critical.
- The budget should be realistic and well-documented. Pay close attention to the budget justification. For Information on rates for travel and hiring students on Tri-Council funding applications and see more detailed budget information below.
- The Art of Grantsmanship by Jacob Kraicer
- Grant Writing Resources (a collection of resources including help with Foundations - Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, UWO)
- Research Western - Proposal Preparation
- Guide for Proposal Writing (National Science Foundation)
- Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal - S. J. Levine
- NSERC's Peer Review Manual
- CIHR's Institute of Genetics - Guidebook for New Principal Investigators
- Social Science Research Council (U.S.)- On the Art of Writing Proposals
- Walters, M. W. (2009) Write an Effective Funding Application. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press.(Available at the Business Library, Western - Call Number HG177.W35 2009)
- Smith, N.B., Works, E. G. (2006) The Complete Book of Grant Writing: Learn to Write Grants like a Professional. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks. (Available at the Education Library, Western - Call Number HG177.S63 2006)
- Basic Budget Tips
- Check the guidelines for the individual agency to ensure that you don't ask for things that are prohibited.
Links to Tri-Council documents:
Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide – applies to NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR
Tri-Agency (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) Use of Grant Funds
- Hiring students
- Mileage and Subsistence Rates for Western Travellers
- Travel and Accommodation - Use the most economical means of transportation that is convenient. There are many web sites offering discounted travel and hotel rates, and Western's Travel Management vendor, FMC Travel, may be of assistance.
- Costs of Web Pages, Online Conference Registrations, and other Technological Services
These costs are not covered by the Faculty of Education so must be included in your budget estimates. Please consult with the eLearning and Technology Centre for estimates of costs.