Not Funded This Time?

It happens to most everyone. Don't be afraid to take reviews, consult program officers, and resubmit in the next competition. Proposal writing and grantsmanship is a learning process that is honed with experience and includes not only good science, but understanding the psychology of the reviewers. Reviews help you better position for the next submission. It is important to stay in touch with the program officer to learn as much as you can for the next attempt. It is perfectly legitimate to tailor your research proposal to fit within the goals of a funding agency; however, if your research isn't a good fit for a particular program, don't try to force it to be. NSF and NIH receive over 70,000 proposals per year. Did yours have what it takes to stand out?

In today's competitive funding environment, it is very common not to succeed on your first attempt. Resubmitting your proposal does increase your success rate provided you take into account the review information. NIH offers practical advice for resubmitting your grant.

Consider taking advantage of the Research Development office! We offer valuable assessments and critical reviews of your grant ideas and development process and can improve you competitive advantage on your next submission.

Be aware of common mistakes, errors, and oversights:

  • Did you fail to support hypotheses?
  • Did you fail to explain how data will be analyzed or how results will be interpreted?
  • Did you fail to cite pertinent research findings? Did you include preliminary data you may have generated?
  • Did you include too much technical jargon or write clearly for all reviewers? Avoid writing as if audiences are intimately familiar with your field of research.
  • Did you make sweeping generalities?
  • Did you SELL your idea? Did you have a "Wow!" factor, or would the reviewer have said so-what after reading your proposal?
  • Did you explain how your research will fit with your long-term goals and how it aligns with other research being conducted in your field?
  • Did you fail to read and follow the guidelines?
  • Did your summary or abstract clearly address the funding agency's agenda? Was it concise? What did it lack?

Need additional information? Check out an article by Karen M. Markin in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "The Buck Starts Here".

Don't write a grant only you want. Write the grant the agency wants to fund. The trick is to find the agency and funding mechanism that fits your idea.

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