Lecture 3. “Commandments” for writing grant proposals
In this part I’d like to present you the “commandments” for writing grant proposals:
  1. Don’t even start thinking about writing the proposal with lots of question marks in your head. You need to set out: 
  • a clear idea;

  • a set of strategic priorities & preferences;

  • a detailed plan of activities, their content & schedule.

All these have to be developed together with your partners, based on the analysis of the specific problems & the environment you live in.

  1. Choose the right programme/donor for your project

Analyse the priorities of the programme to check whether your project really meets them.

Read through the experts assessment criteria, so that you could refer to them while drafting.

Check the list of projects already selected – you will see what is really behind the words.

If you could meet some current beneficiaries, it would be perfect.

  1. Reflect the guidelines in the descriptions

Learn them by heart.

Interpret them, so that you will get a real understanding of what it means for your project.

Make sure they are clear in the application.

  1. Show the experts you are an expert in the field selected

Convince the experts that what you have just written is a reality, not a fabricated poem that you’ve written to get the money.

Refer to regional, national & international reports and publications to confirm your orientation, know-how & contacts

Try to develop an experimental/innovative approach in the given area.

  1. Experts are only human – don’t make them irritated

They are usually reading hundreds of application forms.

They need to receive a clear and well-structured text.

  • Be concrete & brief, answer the questions

  • Don’t refer to unconfirmed information

  • Don’t contradict yourself

  • Don’t promise something you will not be able to realise

Remember that they usually do not know your institution or partner consortium. If you forget about the important information, they don’t have knowledge about it.

  1. Language quality should be good, but nobody expects you to be a native speaker if you’re writing in a foreign language. What can you do to improve it:

  • find a balance between sophisticated and colloquial language;

  • find and highlight keywords;

  • use your copyrighter skills: develop some sexy titles.

  1. Time will be your enemy during the process of application writing:

  • start early and plan it carefully;

  • make sure you put all the valid documents in order;

  • ask other people to read it through before submission to track the content, logic & language mistakes;

  • triple-check everything – it’s so easy to make a mistake, especially in those huge, international calls for proposals

  1. Don’t get bored while writing. If it’s boring for you it will be boring for the others

  • Make breaks and comebacks while drafting.

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