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QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“Money alone sets all the world in motion.” -- Publicus
Syrus (42 B.C.)
“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial
reasons.” -- Woody Allen
F R E E Dissertation Consultation
Kick Start Your Summer Writing!
the month of May, Successful Academic Coaching is offering a limited
number of fr*ee initial consultations for graduate students who would
like help with the dissertation process.
your consultation today.
Tips for Getting Grants
If you want to become a successful academic, you need find outside
funding for your research on a consistent basis. In the sciences, grants are
a necessity. In the social sciences they are indispensable. In the humanities,
grants and fellowships are increasingly important. To get tenure, and
then gain a national reputation, you must follow the money.
Here’s how to get funded:
Start Early – It is never to soon to seek outside support.
From the first years of your graduate school career, apply for fellowships,
awards, travel funds and small stipends to fund your research. The
amount of money may be small, but you’ll gain grant writing
practice, confidence in your ability to generate ideas, a track record
future funders and tenure track lines on your C.V.
Start Small - Don’t just hit up the big guys. Major sources
of support, such as the NIH, only fund about one in ten proposals,
and this percentage is likely to decrease as government funding
to drop. Look for small foundations or seek funds from within your
university. The big guys are much more likely to give money to
already conducted a funded pilot study.
Be Realistic – Begin
with small projects and pilot studies. The most common criticism
of beginners' grant proposals is
that the aims are over ambitious. As you describe your project
colleagues and mentors, always ask whether the project seems
Speak to Your Audience - The most important part
writing is developing an idea that matches the goals of the
emphasize this point enough.
Get Feedback – Show your grant to as many
colleagues as possible. Seek mentorship to write the most
fundable proposal possible.
is where procrastinators fail: in their frantic scramble
to meet the deadline,
they miss the chance for feedback from senior researchers.
Find Role Models – Talk to the people in your department
who are most successful at getting research money. Look at their
grants. Ask if they’ll read drafts of your proposal. Do they
have pointers for you?
Keep it Short – The more succinctly
you can explain your plan the better. Reviewers tend to be top
people in your field who
busy. Make sure that each sentence is written clearly
and to the point.
The Bucks are in the Details – Of course,
any misspellings, grammatical mistakes and awkward sentences are
distracting and unprofessional.
Read each section aloud to make sure that it flows.
Have someone with a copy editor’s eye for detail read through
your final version. If you are a non-native English speaker, get
Follow Instructions – If there is a page limit,
stick to it. Don’t try to sneak by with tricks like eleven
point type. Most grant proposals follow very specific formats.
Make sure you follow
the rules to the letter.
Get Help and More
Help – Most new grant writers are most
intimidated by planning the budget and determining
appropriate statistics. There
are people at your university who can help. Find
them. Having a savvy statistician on your grant can be invaluable,
and most tier one universities
have staff to help with grant writing.
a Copywriter – Use section headings to highlight your
plan. For example, instead of the headline “Subjects,” write “Subjects:
Pregnant women who are HIV Positive.” Instead
of “Rationale,” write “Rationale:
Reducing maternal-fetal transmission of HIV.” Take
advantage of the opportunity to create compelling “headlines” in
your proposal subheadings.
Expect Rejection – Most
proposals are turned down the first time, even
those submitted by the most experienced and
successful people in your field. In my experience, the difference
and unsuccessful academics is their resilience
in the face of setbacks. When
you are rejected, read the reviewers' comments
carefully. Then read them again. And again.
advantage of the insights and suggestions
senior colleagues. Then resubmit, resubmit
Go For It!
RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE WEEK:
Writing Well" by William Zinsser, is a classic book on writing
non-fiction that you should read and reread. After "The Elements
of Style" by Strunk and White, it may be the most important
resource to help you use clear, compelling language in your grant
this book at Amazon.com
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