How to write a winning grant-application

External fundings is what fuels most research-groups of any size. In that sense we are very organic, we expand and retract with the amount of external support we are able to rise. And hopefully, the external support is based on a judgement of how good and original the idea for the project is, if it is doable or if we are just trying to sell a bundle of fantasies, and also on how good we are who want to do the research project. Every funding organisation have their own internal and external experts, but these are generally the guidelines they are following when selecting projects to support. Which identifies application-writing as a key component of running a research-group. How do we do that? With some experience, it should be possible to identify the most successful patterns.


So what experience do I have? I do, for example, have experience with last-minute writing. We did that for an international application for Ph.D. students some years ago. The project-idea was around for some time, but in the end 4 or 5 of us wrote the application in less than one week, at the very last moment. And that went well, it was granted support with very high scores. A similar situation occurred with a major research-project a few years ago. We had the idea for some time, but the deadline for submission was right after X-mas, and thus we only spent a few evenings writing it up and submitting it. Counting the minutes till the online portal would close. That went well too. When trying to identify an application where we started to actually write and do the work well in advance, there is such case where we put in a lot of work for several months. But that one did not get funded, so it is no good to compare with the other once. Actually, maybe I should not explore these experiences further, as the interpretation may appear to be somewhat demoralizing when advocating organized and planned applicational work.

Here we go again…