Checklist for a Winning Grant

  • Have you found out about the scheme in relation to assessment criteria, eligibility of all applicants, priority areas, average success rates, average value of grants, duration of funding, length of proposal and special instructions?

  • Have you allowed sufficient time to write, review and gain feedback from peers, mentors and/or Research Services?

  • Have you included a central, important, original question, goal or hypothesis? Is there a rationale for this?

  • Is your research plan organised and logical? Is it definite, yet flexible? Does it lead to a solution?

  • Is your project feasible and realistic? (Not excessively ambitious or grandiose)

  • Do you possess and have you highlighted a better than average track record, a pilot study or evidence of preliminary results?

  • Is your budget reasonable, believable and justified? Have you included well-argued reasons for requested equipment, consumables, maintenance and other items?

  • Does your project have integrity? (No plagiarism, exaggerated claims, overlap or 'double dipping', selective referencing)

  • Does your application carefully adhere to the guidelines, rules, format (margins, font size) and the funding objectives of the scheme?

  • Is the presentation of your proposal sound? Have you used short paragraphs, frequent headings and clear diagrams?

  • Is your writing simple, direct and concise? Does it flow logically? Are there any flaws in your argument?

  • Have you checked for any evidence of poor expression, grammar or spelling errors?

  • Have you obtained feedback concerning your proposal or critical review from peers?

What Makes Proposals Uncompetitive

Research proposals are uncompetitive or fail because they lack such qualities as originality, rationality, simplicity, clarity, feasibility and integrity.

Other reasons may include:

  • The expression is poor and project aims are unclear;

  • A weak hypothesis;

  • The project lacks innovation;

  • The steps and processes in the project are flawed;

  • The project is unlikely to lead to the stated outcomes and there is insufficient evidence that the project is achievable;

  • The milestones and the timeframe are inappropriate;

  • There is insufficient evidence for including novel approaches;

  • There is inadequate demonstration of the Chief Investigator's experience and/or productivity;

  • There is insufficient time dedicated by the Chief Investigator;

  • The applicant fails to meet the needs or requirements of the funding agency.