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Interprofessional Practice Based Research


A set of strategies to help you prepare a strong grant application

Sept. 30, 2019

Tips to help you draft a strong grant application

You have an awesome and impactful idea for research project, leadership has indicated their support for your project, and key members of your research team have been identified. You also found a call for grant applications that can help fund the project – now if only you had a fairy godmother to write a strong grant application for you...

The IPBR team has created a set of tips for preparing a successful grant application … you might even say the IPBR team is like your fairy godmother!

1. Start early and set timelines
Grants typically have several components and requirements. In addition to various written sections, there are often additional requirements such as departmental approvals or letters of support required to complete the submission. Reach out to the individuals whose approval or support you are seeking early on to also allow them enough time to complete the tasks you may be asking of them. Once you have identified all the application requirements, create a realistic schedule for completing various portions of a grant in order to ensure you have left yourself enough time to complete each section. Consider setting yourself an earlier deadline to complete the grant than the actual submission deadline. This will provide you a buffer should any hiccups arise.

2. Look at what was funded before
Grant agencies often provide lists of previous award recipients. In some cases, agencies post abstracts of past and ongoing research, which can help you to identify what critical project elements have helped to make an applications successful. Use these pieces of information to get an idea of the types of projects the granting agency is interested in funding. See if there is a common theme among these projects, and whether you could highlight this similar concept in your own grant application.

3. Ensure your methods and aims are well matched
While this may seem straightforward, a common flaw in many grant applications is the inclusion of additional methods that do not match the study’s aims, or the listing of aims that are not addressed in the methods. Ensure that each aim is clearly matched to a method. Avoid providing a vague methodology outline that attempts to provide a blanket explanation on how to address multiple aims. Having a well-focused study methodology directly linked with each specific study aim will demonstrate to reviewers that the study is well thought out and organized.

4. Ensure you can clearly articulate the impact or benefit of this proposed work
While you may see the relevance in your study, and the impact may seem large to you, the benefit of this study may not immediately stand out for reviewers. Remember that your grant application is not the only one a reviewer is looking over – they will likely review several interesting projects. Clearly outline the impact or benefit of your proposed work. This reduces any guesswork needed on behalf of the reviewer, and will immediately show that there is a clear purpose to conducting this study.

5. Polish your prose, dot your i’s and cross your t’s
You have spent so much time refining your idea and preparing your application – do not let typos and improper prose tarnish the quality of your grant application. An application riddled with grammatical errors will not be as easy for a reviewer to read compared to one without such errors. Poor prose can obscure your project goal for the reader. Have someone review your application – consider asking an individual who you trust, perhaps a person who works in health care but not in your specific field. Remember to ask this person early on so they can make time in their schedule. This person can help you identify areas where clarification or revision are necessary, as well as point out more minor errors that you may have missed.

Connecting with IPBR

The Interprofessional Practice Based Research program at St. Michael’s Hospital assists nurses and health disciplines professionals at St. Michael’s engage in the identification, implementation, and evaluation of best practices through research. The program also offers a Small Grant Application, which includes $5,000 in funding over two years, project mentorship, and a community of practice. The grant application is open to nurses and health disciplines clinicians at St. Michael’s Hospital. Additional details on the grant are available on the intranet. The current call for applications closes at 11:59pm October 24th, 2019.

Read more IPBR blog entries