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Mireille Consalvey draws on years of experience to present a 13-step checklist for success.

Article source: Nature, Mireille Consalvey

After almost nine years working in a university research office, shepherding approximately 1,000 applications through to submission, I have witnessed many researchers make the same mistakes, time and time again. Drawing on these lessons, I present a checklist on how to maximize the chances of success with your application.

Many of these points will seem obvious, but most unsuccessful applications I’ve seen have failed to tick off at least one of these.

• Check the grant’s scope. If the funder is not looking to support the kind of work you do, then you will fall at the first hurdle, no matter how good the science itself is. Familiarizing yourself with the purpose of a fund or call for proposals is time well spent, and a really good way of doing so is to seek out successes from previous years, details of which are often available online. Ask colleagues or your institution’s research office if they have examples of successful applications involving that particular fund.

• Read the grant guidelines. This will save time in the long run and can help to identify any questions or issues ahead of time, rather than on deadline day. Each funder will have its own rules around eligibility, as well as how to format and structure a proposal. I have seen countless researchers overlook a rule that deemed them ineligible to apply for a particular grant. Even if you are familiar with the grant in question, it pays to refamiliarize yourself with the rules each year. They also form the basis of the assessor guidelines, and are a road map to a successful proposal.


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