Drafting a grant proposal it’s not an easy task. It is a pain staking effort which takes up a lot of the writer’s time. Make your life easier with the tips from Linda Jansen. She is a research policy advisor at the faculty of History, Communication and Culture. In a bit less than a month, Jansen along with other experts will give an introductory workshop on how to obtain a NWO Veni grant.

1. Start well in advance

“Do not underestimate the time you might need not only to draft the proposal, but also to edit it and keep it within the word limit.” Linda suggests to start in advance with every aspect of writing a proposal, “Take more than enough time to activate your network, go through your planning and eventually your writing. Make sure to contact eventual external readers well in advance too, as they will be probably busy themselves. External proof-reading is an important step in one’s revision process, hence it must be planned in the earlier stages so that it can be taken into account during one’s writing process.”

2. A research proposal is not like any other text

“Writing a proposal differs from writing a scientific article, for the public is much more diverse.” underlines Linda, “The writer must take into account that the commission who evaluates the proposal has different educational backgrounds and expects the writer to touch upon diverse elements throughout his/her paper. Hence, it is important for the writer to discern common knowledge from what should be further elaborated on. Make sure to get both ‘non-academics’ and academics to read your proposal to help you evaluate what is actually common knowledge or what is not. Seemingly, ask academics with different expertise to read the proposal.”

3. Take into account the evaluations criteria

“Calls for grant proposals usually describe what elements applicants and proposals will be judged on. For example, Veni-grant applicants should show inspiring enthusiasm for research and/or technology. Also veni proposals are expected to include innovative elements and show potential to make an important contribution to the advancement of science. “Linda highly recommends to check whether your proposal corresponds to every desired aspects before sending it in.

4. Explain what your research brings to the table

“Keep in mind that any research will be considered upon this criterion: what does it add to the current debate? You need to contextualize your research with the existing literature. Make the connection clear between previous researches and your own, in addition clarify which are the expected results. By doing this, you show to evaluators and committee members that you are aware of current developments in your field of research.”

5. Be specific with your content and planning

“Sometimes, applicants tend to forget to insert essential information because they find the info so evident. During the planning phase, writers must remember to insert every little detail no matter how obvious it might sound to them. Every little aspect must be thought through and adequately explained. It is very difficult to hide one’s short comings once they are on paper. So-called empty words, like elements, aspects, components, and structure that carry a vague meaning or sound out of place can provoke questions uncovering things that are still unclear to the applicant.”