The Challenges of Preparing the Perfect Grant Application

The Challenges of Preparing the Perfect Grant Application
Applying for grants and other forms of funding to support advanced research and curriculum development is an essential part of most academic and scientific careers. The direction and success of many a career depend on successfully attaining the money for innovative research and publication projects, so a great deal is at stake. Competition for the limited funding available for scholarly, technical and professional projects is fierce, however, and a perfect application is required to guarantee even a chance of success. Perhaps it is a deliberate strategy to weed out unworthy candidates, but grant applications can be rather complicated and detailed, and completing them well can prove far more demanding than their length would suggest.
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Often the process of reading instructions accurately, gathering everything that is required, providing the right information in the right places and organising the paperwork involved can prove daunting in itself, yet these are among the easiest aspects of producing an excellent application. It is essential, for instance, when applying for funding to make your intentions for the money you hope to receive absolutely clear to those assessing the application, and this leaves no room at all for errors and ambiguities. A budget or list of expenses is usually required, for instance, and it must be reasonable and carefully planned without any omissions or mathematical mistakes that might suggest you are unable to manage the funds. A timeline for the project is another standard element and it too must be both realistic and error free – simply entering the wrong start or end date, for example, can be disastrous if the funding body has strict rules about when a project should start and end.
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Writing the description of a research project tends to constitute the most difficult aspect of completing a grant application. Generally speaking, the description must not only meet any length and formatting requirements, but also be extremely well written to communicate your plans effectively, especially when those plans are complex, as they usually are. Your prose should be clear and correct, with all errors in typing, spelling, punctuation and grammar strictly avoided or entirely eliminated. Remember that if writing will form any part of the project (in a published book or perhaps a journal article), the writing you do in the application will serve as a demonstration of your skills, as will any additional samples of writing you need to provide.

Whenever you are preparing a grant application it is also wise to anticipate the potential diversity of the audience you are addressing. Although there may be instances in which every member of the committee considering an application will have specialised knowledge about the proposed project, this is extremely rare. With most grants, at least part of the committee assessing an application will not be specialists in the applicant’s field, a situation that makes the effective communication of complex and sophisticated information all the more difficult. An especially plain and concise style that can be readily understood by a general audience is required. Procedures and concepts must be expressed clearly and precisely in the simplest or most common language possible. Excessive specialised terminology should be avoided and if it cannot be avoided, it must be clearly defined so that all members of the committee will be able to understand your meaning. Ideas and processes must be explained carefully and thoroughly, but the focus should be on the most important points, which will produce an effective text for committee readers who may have very little time to consider your application.
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Finally, before a grant application is submitted it should always be carefully checked to ensure that all requirements are appropriately met and all information is completely correct. You will want to do this yourself, of course, and any co-applicants should also check all material to be included with the application and proofread every bit of text. However, it is usually a good idea to have at least one other qualified person look over your application as well. A friend or family member may be able to offer some useful input, but a mentor or colleague in your discipline is a better choice, especially if he or she has successfully applied for grants in the past. Another good option is a professional academic or scientific proofreader who will be able to apply expertise in language, specialist knowledge in your subject area and critical objectivity to help you perfect your application before it is read by that all-important committee.

Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At we offer the highest quality journal article editing, phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.

Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.

If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.

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