Steps for Wining a Research Grant

To maximize your chances of winning these grants, systematic efforts are needed during the preparation of your proposal
Steps for Wining a Research Grant

Imagine if you have research aptitude and you are aiming forhigher goals in research, then what should you do to accomplish your passionfor research! There are a number of ways to remain in touch with research. Theresearch enthusiasts after completing their degrees need to focus on newresearch grants that will make them productive (vis-à-vis research) andfinancially self-sufficient. As interest in research is growing in ouryoungsters in recent times, it is high time that proper guidance is given to themso that they achieve their innate research goals. While discussing this matterwith new aspirants, I observed that most of them seem to be unaware about thepreparation of competitive research grants and also do not have proper guidanceto take right directions in research. In the West proper training is given toyoung researchers to compete for the research grant. Unfortunately, we do nothave any professional training in our part of the world to guide buddingresearchers in order to make them eligible for competitive research grants.However, in recent years funding agencies and voluntary grant experts havetaken some steps to build confidence among youngster to write innovativeresearch proposals. In last 20 years Govt. of India has also taken variousinitiatives to inculcate scientific and research aptitude among youngsters, andfor achieving these goals there are various schemes for various age groups. Tomaximize your chances of winning these awards/grants, systematic efforts areneeded during the preparation of your proposal. It is important to note thatchances of acceptance of particular research grant are very low as hundreds ofproposals are in the pipeline and therefore it is important that your proposalshould be extremely good enough to impress the experts.

Grant writing varies from one discipline to another, and onemust be aware about various criteria for different subject areas. It isimportant to mention that research intended for arts needs differentassumptions and criteria than the research that is intended for medical andpolicy making (applied research). However, there is a common framework for thepreparation of research grant across the disciplines. In this write-up I willprovide some tips for young researchers, which are essential for winning aresearch grant.

1.            Creationof Innovative Ideas: One of the primary requisite for making innovativeresearch is the generation of ideas. The creation of the human intellect is oneof the inherent capacities of human beings which has helped humans to discoverfire in ancient time, to invent the steam engine during the beginning of theindustrial era and more recently to invent most sophisticated artificialintelligence. The beginner in research should make sure that no one else canbeat you in designing an idea. It is pertinent to mention that mere possessionof academic degrees doesn't entitle one to hold or create ideas. Sometimes,extraordinary ideas can emerge from layperson which can be transformed into ifproperly channelized into an industrial application. During the 19th and 20thcentury, the USA used the ideas of a layperson to boost their inventions.Following the ways by which you can formulate a brainstorming idea:

             Aninnovative idea only exists in your mind. You are the owner of your ideaand you need to express this human intellect into an invention. Always stick tosingle most important idea which has great significance

             Yourtask is to present the idea in a fundable proposal. This aim can be achieved ifyou have identified the applications of your idea.

             Identificationof problem is one of the important steps in designing an idea. The solution ofa problem must be also addressed while proposing an idea

2.            Generalsteps for preparation of Research & Development Grant proposal: Asindependent funding is important for carrying out innovative research, there isneed for budding researchers to compete for R&D project. As researchersfrom our part of the world are not economically sound, the importance of thefellowships is important for carrying out innovative research. For making yourcase strong for R&D, one has to make proper planning. Writing a grant isjust like playing a game; one has to get the guidelines, read them and followthe norms. The grant agency always wants you to identify answers which haverelevance to your proposed project. You have to communicate and address 'What',Why', 'Who', 'How', and 'When' of the proposal.

Following are the steps to make attractive and catchyR&D Grant proposal:

             Thetitle of the proposal is very important and make sure your title is thereflection of whole proposal. The title should be catchy, creative and concise.It is important to use keywords that show the novelty and innovativenessof the proposal.

             Theproposal summary is another important step where the grant applicant canattract the attention of reviewers. In proposal summary, applicant candemonstrate that the need is pressing. It should be a story telling bybuilding your case drawing to a logical conclusion.

             Theobjective of the proposal is an essential feature which can draw the attentionof fund provider about your aims and ambitions. An innovative and well thoughtout proposal has either couple of goals nor several objectives relatedto the goals

             Designingof methodology or study design is another important step for R&D project.It is essential that you demonstrate all the steps necessary to complete aproject with each flowing logically from the previous to the next.Pertinently, 2 out of 5 proposal are being rejected because of poor formulationof methods.

             Theoutcome and opportunities of the proposed proposal is an essential feature ofyour proposal. It is important for the applicant to mention thespecific, measurable and realistic outcomes of the project.

             Tomake more attractive and novel, you need to mention whether there is anopportunity for creating new intellectual property (IP). In addition, there isneed mention which aspects of your project have the potential forgetting a patent.

3.            Revisionof your proposal: Revise your proposal at least three times to check errorsmade at different steps. Systematic revision of your proposal will lessen thechances of any major mistake that may hamper the selection of your proposal. Itis always recommended to revise and proof read your proposal on hard copy.

4.            Seekexpert opinion: It is must for new comer to take advises from the expert whileframing a proposal. It is better to seek suggestions from an expert beforesubmitting your upcoming proposal. It is also pertinent to mention that youshould always trust few experts who have good understanding with you and areready for help. In some cases experts having overlapping research interest withyou will never guide you (properly) in order to win a research grant, and alsokeep in mind you should not share your concept proposal with a researchcolleague whom you don't trust.

5.            Rejectionof proposal is not the end. There are only 10-15% chances of acceptance, and insome research schemes chances of acceptance is very low. Under suchcircumstances one should keep in mind that rejection of your proposal is oncards. Once your proposal is rejected, one should take positive steps toaddress all the queries raised by the reviewers, and try to amend as persuggestions made by experts. The more you try, the more are chances that yourrevised proposal will be accepted.

In conclusion, there is an urgent need to transform academicresearch into the applied endeavor in order to utilize the innatepotentialities of young researchers into positive direction. It is alsoimportant that budding researchers need to learn the language of grant writingso that they can pursue research independently. Let us hope that our thinktanks will work towards this direction and take important decisions towardsharnessing the human intellect of our region.

Dr Ummer Rashid Zargar is Assistant Professor (Zoology),Govt. Degree College Anantnag

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