Make the Internet Work for You

It’s probably no surprise to hear that you can find a variety of tools and tips on the internet to assist you as you prepare a grant application. But, like any internet search, you need to know how to weed through the useless or inaccurate information to get to the really useful stuff.

We’ve compiled a few tips to help guide you in this process.

  1. Look at the date of the information. Unless the piece was written in the last year or two, be cautious of the advice provided. It’s true that some resources, such as The Art of Writing Proposals, provide broadly useful information that remains relevant even years later. However, advice or tools relevant to specific funders may no longer be accurate. For example, the National Science Foundation revised their review criteria fairly recently, so resources written prior to that time will not reflect these new philosophies or policies. This leads to tip #2…
  1. Verify any information you find by using the funder’s own guidelines and program solicitations. It’s a common strategy to search the internet for sample applications, but because proposal guidelines change from time to time the current format may be different. Deadlines may also change from year-to-year, as could the number of awards to be made, funder’s target interests, or any number of other details.
  1. Consider the source. If you are a grad student, a blog post on grant writing written by a tenured professor or senior researcher may be helpful, but you may not be eligible for the specific funding opportunity discussed or the criteria for review may not be relevant to someone at your stage. When possible, seek out advice provided by those who would be considered your peers.

Happy surfing!