Research is funded based on the likely significance of the contribution to knowledge. However, it’s tricky to know what that is prior to doing the research. In this post, I use the example of Fermat’s Last Theorem to draw out some of the issues and propose some strategies for tackling this in your research proposal.
I have been helping social science and humanities researchers with grant proposals since April 2005. In that time, how I approach the task has shifted. Those shifts have not been arbitrary. I am learning all the time. And I adjust my practice based on what I’m learning. I am not an editor. Or a grant [...]
In the current highly competitive environment, it is not enough to have good ideas. You need to be able to write a good grant proposal. Here’s what that proposal needs: Clear objectives. What do you want to achieve? What is your proposed contribution to the advancement of knowledge? Keep this brief. A one-sentence statement of [...]
Research grant competitions are competitive. Really competitive. While it is understandable to react by dampening your ambitions, this strategy is not very effective. Just like in the Olympic diving, you have to attempt a difficult dive to be in contention for a medal. If you knew you would have whatever resources you need, what would you really like to be researching?
Sketch out a plan of how that would work: what sources would you use? what questions would you investigate? where would you publish the results? I can help …
You want to apply for a grant. You go find the application guidelines and start drafting to those page limits right away. You get frustrated. How the heck are you supposed to write about this thing you haven’t done yet? You write whole books and 8000 word articles, why is a 6-page detailed description so [...]