How to: Get that Research Grant! (Part 2)

Research plan & preliminary results

The easiest part to start with is the research plan as it is the part which you should be well acquainted with. Due to space limitations, you will need to write in a succinct manner while keeping your introduction general enough so as to not lose the attention of the panel committee. Your research plan should be started off with a short (1-1.5 pages) and general introduction as to what is your main goal and then lay out no more than 3 key aims in a bulleted sentence style. Continue on to the bulk of the research plan, your methods and plan of operation. Make sure each suggested step or methodology is directly related to one of your 3 key aims - there is no sense in making an experiment which will not bring you close to completing your aim, right? I recommend that each methodologies section should start with a logical explanation of what you want to achieve with this methodology, then layout what have you done so far (preliminaries) and then finish off each section with detailing what are the additional steps required for completing this research path and bring you closer to establish your aim. You should elaborate on each major technique or research avenue you are planning to take so it will be clear that (a) you have a clear idea how each avenue will advance your research toward your goal, (b) that you know your way around technically and (c) that you have alternative strategies to tackle dead-ends. You should be aware that some agencies, mostly American, expect you to spill-out all the data you have so they will know you have already started your research and are in the process of establishing firm results within the field. In contrast, some European agencies might find too much preliminaries as hint that you are in the middle of an ongoing project and that there might be little else to do. In such cases, you might want to give only some of your promising preliminaries and elaborate on the steps required to complete your research.