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What makes a good grant application?

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Presented by Siân Aggett and Michelle Jimenez at the Public Engagement Workshop, 2-5 Dec. 2008, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa

Presented by Siân Aggett and Michelle Jimenez at the Public Engagement Workshop, 2-5 Dec. 2008, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa

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  • Version of slide 1 for fellowships in general. Pictures show (left to right): Microbiology assays at the Vietnam Major Overseas Programme. 3-D molecular graphics viewing. Dr Henry Mwandumba, former Clinical Training Fellow at Malawi Major Overseas Programme, with flexible bronchoscope, Blantyre. Rationale for pictures: Meaning of fellowship. A fellowship is designed to support a person to undertake a piece of research. The grant must match the background, skills and aptitude of the person with the project which may involve the use of simple lab assays, high-tech computer-based structural research, or sophisticated clinical interventions.


  • 1. What Makes a Good Grant Application? Si â n Aggett and Michelle Jimenez with a little bit from Laura Harper and a lot from you!
  • 2. “Good writing will not save bad ideas, but bad writing can kill good ones.” Jacob Kraicer The Art of Grantsmanship
  • 3. Lifecycle of an application Preliminary application Peer Review Funding Committee Full Application Interview Committee 4 – 6 months for external review & process (Where necessary) Decision (in some of the larger schemes)
  • 4. MSc/PhD training Fellowship schemes for Developing Country researchers* Research Training Fellowship Intermediate Research Fellowship 10 yrs Post-doc 3 yrs Post-doc 5 yrs Post-doc PhD *which aim to stimulate and foster research on public health and tropical medicine Senior Research Fellowships Principal Research Fellowship
  • 5. The P’s Process
    • Person
    • Project
    • Place
  • 6. Person
    • Good basic knowledge
    • Demonstrable potential
    • Show how the fellowship is a career step
    • Closely involved in formulating and writing the proposal
  • 7. Project
    • Novel, interesting, relevant, asking the right questions
    • High scientific merit
    • Clear aims, objectives, study design
    • Realistic, achievable
    • Risks, contingencies
    • Must provide valid training; not an extra pair of hands
    • Guidance from supervisor is critical
  • 8. Place
    • Which host laboratory?
    • Supervision, expertise, facilities
    • Additional skills, new ideas, fresh challenges
    • Training acquired – generic, specific
    • Other training elsewhere?
    • If not moving, why?
    • Mentorship – monitoring progress, assessment
    • Record of supervisor/mentor
  • 9. Livestock for Life
    • £30,000 - £250,000
    • Public engagement scheme linked to Animal Health in the Developing World (AHDW) scheme
    • Three themes: Stakeholder Engagement
    • Education and Training Policy and Advocacy
    • Two Rounds, 19 projects funded
  • 10. People Awards
    • Up to £30,000
    • Exhibitions, events, debates, art projects and drama
    • Fast track
    • Biomedical focus
    • Wide range of organisations
    • Encourage partnerships, collaborations and innovation
  • 11. Public Engagement-People Awards People Awards Education “ Arts” Events & Debates Exhibitions Science Festivals Plays & Films
  • 12. Projects should…
    • Be novel or innovative
    • Consider Social, Cultural, Ethical and Historical Issues
    • Use different creative forms as tools of communication
  • 13. Stop Talking!!!
    • Activity
    • 30-40 minutes in committees
    • Read 4 applications and the scheme guidelines
    • Together decide which 2 applications to fund
    • Assign a note taker- Note any observations/ recommendations that come out of the process
    • Assign a Chairperson
    • Discuss these within group 5-10 mins
    • Feedback
  • 14. Have we covered?
    • Interesting, important area of health research
    • Value for money
    • Appropriate target audience
    • Good evaluation plans
    • Good project summary
  • 15. How do I make sure I have a good project summary ?
    • Most important section in your application
    • First part read
    • Sets first impression
    • Write it last
  • 16. Did you get these ones?
    • Clear aims, objectives and rationale
    • Realistic timetables/objectives (SMART)
    • Should be "a joy to read"
    • Well-focused, clear, well organized and accurate
    • Important, significant, and worth supporting
    • – this needs to be spelled out
  • 17. Thanks!