What are grant reviewers looking for when they review their stack of submissions? How can you increase your chances of impressing them?
A reviewer will usually have 10-20 grant submissions to review in detail and defend to the rest of the review panel. They are expected to go into each application in detail, checking references, budget details and rating the strength of the application against the other submissions they have been asked to defend. To increase your chances of being successful, you need to think like a reviewer.
For starters, your application has a better chance at being successful if it is easy to read and follows the required format. Make a good impression by submitting a clear, well-written, properly organised application.
- Significance. Does the project address an important problem in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? If successful, does it have the potential to make a real difference to the knowledge in this field?
- Investigators. Are the researchers well suited to the project? Do they have appropriate experience and training? Have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their fields?
- Innovation. Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice? Does it involve new concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions?
- Approach. Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems and benchmarks for success presented? How will particularly risky aspects be managed?
- Environment. Will the environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed?
- Feasibility. Is the project likely to be successful? Are the aims realistic? Have the investigators allowed for sufficient resources and time to see the project through to completion?