Build a successful grant application

Successful grant application writer

by Justine Tomlinson, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Here is my experience in building a successful grant application. With a background in community pharmacy, and in terms of research I’d only ever been involved with company audit and practice questionnaires. Starting my PhD was a challenging experience for a number of reasons; the main one being that I needed to prepare a grant application for funding. I absolutely did not know where to start or what I required in order to give myself the best chances of being successful. It all felt rather overwhelming!

I decided to attend the RPS’ two-day Research Proposal Writing workshop (early 2017) facilitated by Professor Felicity Smith, to see what I could learn in the way of ‘grantsmanship’. The different sessions within the workshop touched on absolutely everything that I needed to know to begin building a successful application – from creating a sound research plan to enlisting co-applicants and utilising public and patient involvement effectively.

The small group size was great. This meant there was time to discuss everyone’s ideas and develop personal action plans. It was encouraging to be able to talk about my own research with like-minded individuals and get feedback from the RPS research team and Felicity. We also had the opportunity to speak with other pharmacists who had won grants and were embarking on their research journeys. Hearing from them was truly inspirational.

Following the workshop, the RPS research team have continued to provide an amazing amount of support. It took me four months to build my application for the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit competition. I put everything into practice that I learnt during the workshop and I am pleased to report that I have been successful at stage one of the competition. I am continuing to utilise the knowledge and skills from the workshop to build my stage two application (outcome due early 2018).

If you are struggling to get started with your research grant funding application then book onto our two day Research Proposal Writing workshop, led by expert Professor Felicity Smith of UCL School of Pharmacy.

 

Grant application success!

Kristina Medlinskiene, previous course attendee

Writing a grant application for the first time is not easy to say the least (or maybe it never gets easy). I recall my very early start on this endeavour with very rough knowledge of what it may entail. The RPS two-day research proposal workshop gave me clarity but it also raised many more questions about issues I hadn’t even thought about!

Patient public involvement group? Advisory group? Before the workshop I had not thought about forming these groups or had any idea how to do it. Methodology? Theoretical framework? Detailed costs of the project? Just a few things that I needed to find answers to.

The format of the two days stimulated thinking about your project and the grant application. Most importantly it gave me a direction, a sense of ‘right, this is clearer now’. By the end of the two days I had a preliminary action plan with identified crucial tasks that I needed to address first.

The two days consisted of presentations and workshops covering various topics from how to build a case for the funding application, to the data processing and analysis. Whilst some topics were covered briefly, I read more about it in the book provided and referred back to it for some quick pointers.

Personally, the biggest benefit of attending the two-day workshop alongside the workshops was networking. You not only get a chance to meet and hear experiences of pharmacists who have gone through the process but also ask them for advice later when you are writing your application and get stuck! They were incredibly helpful.

As I have learnt writing a grant application requires a lot of commitment, persistence and some sleepless nights. Get all the help you can, even if it means pushing barriers of your confidence!

If you don’t know how to start writing an application, these workshops could be what you need. They helped me with my application writing.

The RPS will be running a research proposal writing workshop on the 6-7th March 2018. See our events page for more information and to book your place. This course has very limited numbers so please don’t hesitate and secure yours now. We want to ensure you get the grant funding you deserve by writing a successful grant application.