Success in securing research funding depends on the ability to write a clear, convincing research grant proposal.
Over the years, we have helped thousands of Asia-based researchers gain funding through editing and enhancing their proposals. We have summarised our experience in the checklist below to help you perfect each section of your proposal and increase the chance of securing your targeted funding.
Abstract and introduction
- The abstract and introduction should be more concerned with why the research should be done than with the details of how it will be done. At this stage, only provide a broad statement of the research methodology.
- It will be read by non-experts so must be written in non-technical language, with no jargon or field-specific terminology that is not fully explained.
- It should convince the reader that the project is necessary and important, and that the research team will be able to accomplish it.
- The abstract should provide an overview of the proposed study that ‘sells’ the idea to the grant provider.
- The objectives should be stated clearly, usually in point form.
- The introduction provides an overview similar to (but not repeating) the abstract – it should state the problem to be solved, why it is important to solve it, and how the proposed study will do so.
- Use the same kind of funnelling technique as in writing the introduction to a paper: move from the general area of concern to the specific problem and its proposed solution.
- Be explicit about the potential impact: what insights will it provide, what benefits will it bring and who will be the beneficiaries? Be specific: it is not sufficient to state that it will be ‘useful for practitioners/policymakers/researchers’, you must state what, why and how it will be useful.
Literature review and methodology
- The literature review / background should demonstrate your familiarity with the field by outlining the current state of research. Rather than just mentioning studies, provide a critique that shows you have not just read the literature, but understand the strengths and weaknesses of the theoretical arguments and research methodologies.
- Demonstrate how your research fits into this picture: how will you develop the theoretical basis, rectify the methodological shortcomings and overcome the challenges?
- Always run a final literature search before submission to be sure you haven’t missed a very recently published paper!
- The methods section should not only describe the design of your study, but also provide a rationale for the design. You must convince the reader that your design is the most appropriate way to address the research question.
- Plenty of detail is needed here to demonstrate the viability of your proposed design. It is not helpful, for instance, to say that you will recruit a large sample of participants if you cannot convince the reader that you have a feasible means of doing so.
- Be clear about what has already been done and what will be done under the funded part of the research. It is common for researchers to carry out preliminary research work, but authors do not always make it clear when they are referring to work already carried out.
- Demonstrate a clear data analysis plan; it is not sufficient just to mention a technique or procedure.
- Finally, make sure you provide a realistic schedule and budget.
We hope the above checklist helps you in preparing your research grant proposal.
If you would like the help of a professional editor we do offer a research grant proposal editing service that is trusted by many of the top research faculties in Hong Kong. Simply contact us with your inquiry or submit your proposal online to get a customised quote. We also encourage university faculties and departments to get in touch to discuss wider cooperation at what is always a busy time of year.
If you’d like to get an idea of who we have helped and what we might be able to do for you, you can check out our case studies showcasing some of the research grant proposal projects we have collaborated on.