Step by Step Guide to Apply for a Research Grant

Writing proposals are a part and parcel of your research career. Applying research grants requires eloquence of a different level as your writing needs to be persuasive. Even minor inconsistencies can put your proposal on the rejection radar.

Here is a step by step guide to help you prepare your research proposal

Step 1

Scrutinise and Select

There are a lot of research organisations, yet only a few ones that will serve your purpose. Therefore, first of all you need to do thorough research and shortlist all the organisations which correspond to your area of research. 

Research funding opportunities can easily be found over the internet. You can also ask your Department chair, grants and contracts office of your university, or your colleagues for suggestions.


Apart from the universities, research grants are also funded by both government and non – government organisations.  As these organisations strive to promote further research and development in their respective areas.


Government funds usually last up to1 to 5 years. Following is the list of various US government organisations which help in funding - 

Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Afosr)
Office of Naval Research (ONR)
U.S. Department of education
National Science Foundation (NSF) 
National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
Army Research Institute (ARI)
Office of Naval Research (ONR)
Office of educational research and improvement (OERI)

Following is the list of non – governmental organisations in the US providing funding opportunities - 
World Bank
North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO)
World Health Organisation (WHO)

Step 2 

Preparing your Proposal

Before preparing a proposal, it is always advised to have a conversation with a few researchers (belonging to your department) who have experience in applying for research grants in your research area. They will always provide you with the best inside details.

Writing down a proposal

A proposal needs to be coherently written such that, it should convince the funding authorities that the concerned proposal is worth investing in. Keep the following aspects in mind while writing down the proposal - 
Intent – You need to mention precisely what your research will consist of. What exactly you want to achieve/conclude? The intent of the research should be clearly comprehensible to the reviewers.
Significance – Next, it is important to state the significance of your research to its respective field. 
Research Background – A brief but concise explanation should be made regarding the previous researches made in the respective field. 
Approach/Qualifications – Speak about your qualifications and the skills you acquire which make you well equipped to perform this task. Also, mention your novel approach (if any) you intend to adopt while performing the research work.
Budget Estimation – Provide a realistic budget for your intended research. Explain in detail about the utilisation of funds/resources in different areas of the research.

It is important to stick to the page limit for a research proposal as prescribed by the funding authorities. So, keep it precise and relevant to the maximum. 

After writing down the research proposal

You need to keep yourself updated about the deadline to submit your research proposal. Therefore, prepare your proposal as early as possible. Once it is prepared, follow these necessary tips -

Proofread - Never finalise a proposal without proofreading it. A research proposal with grammatical and typo errors will be highly criticised by the reviewers as unprofessional. 
Review – You can always ask someone from your own department or a specialist in your area of research to go through it. They might help you in pinpointing any error/flaws in your proposal which you would have overlooked.

Step 3 

Apply for a Research Grant

Once your proposal is finalised, you can submit it quickly. You can also send your proposal to multiple agencies. And for this, you will need to customise your grant according to the respective agencies' guidelines. Also, in some grant applications, you are required to enlist the name of all the organisations where you have applied for a grant. 


In this way, you will always have a higher probability of success while applying for grant. It is also likely that your proposal gets accepted by more than one agency. In such cases, you have the luxury to choose from the best available options.

Step 4 

The final revert

If you are lucky to get your proposal accepted in the first go, then you are good to go!

But, if the funding authorities reject your proposal, then you need not loose your heart. In fact, you need to rework upon the feedback from the reviewers and retry again. 

The only successful tip to get a successful research grant is to try until you succeed. Persistence is the key to success.

Category : Research
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