Experienced grant writers understand that the market for research grants is competitive. This can often seem like your department is missing out on thousands of potential dollars perfectly suited to your research goals.

However, the strength of an application is not the only factor in earning funding.

In fact, we’ll cover a few vital tips for increasing your research grant opportunities. As a result, you’ll ensure that your department is receiving more than adequate support for accomplishing its goals.

1. Network

Considerable funding can be found in relatively unknown places; new organizations, projects, or funding initiatives are always being created or renewed. Therefore, applicants should consider making an effort to broaden their network of potential funding sources.

For example, follow organizations that relate to your department or project on social media. This is an excellent way to be first in line to new grant announcements.

Beyond this, members of your department should be encouraged to pursue conferences, workshops, and extracurricular organizations. These events may present new sources of funding that would otherwise go unnoticed.

In other words, don’t fail to neglect the relational aspects of your position.

2. Cast a Wide Net

Often, research grant applicants suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to targeting funding sources; it is vital to remember that your area of research is not the only criteria in pursuing potential grants.

For programs with substantial student researchers, keep in mind that funding is available for researchers at every career stage. Fellowships for non-faculty members are an often overlooked source of funding. The same is true for extracurricular grants such as programs supporting underrepresented demographics, training grants, or pilot grants for theoretic projects in early stages of development.

Emphasizing the importance of finding and pursuing funding should be an ordinary part of inducting student or non-faculty researchers into your program.

3. Consider the Impact of Your Work

As researchers, we enjoy considering ideas in ways outside the traditional realm of thought.

It is important, however, to remember that many potential grants are offered by individuals or agencies inexperienced with the complexities of our research areas. What may appear a novel hypothesis to us, for example, may be lost on a funding source without the requisite experience in the area.

This is why grant writers should remember to put their applications in the context of the big picture. In other words, what can this research eventually produce? How can the world be different? What do we have to offer by pursuing this line of inquiry?

By adjusting your requests with this manner of thought in mind, applicants will be sure to produce far more influential applications.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of the Long Shot

In a similar vein, strongly open-minded applicants are likely to find grant opportunities in seemingly unlikely places. It is not uncommon for agencies to award grant funding to applicants with only tangentially related research areas.

In some cases, a recipient may even come from a field wholly unrelated to the targeted audience for the grant.

Obviously, applications must still be strong to warrant consideration, but a substantial amount of funding can be secured by looking into sources outside your immediate subject area.

5. Work With Grant Agencies

Remember: Grant sources want their funding to go somewhere, preferably to a recipient that best complements the agency’s vision.

So, it’s completely appropriate to contact the organization offering a grant to learn more about what the offerors hope to achieve, what manner of recipient they desire, or what elements to your request make your application strongest.

Additionally, communicating with a potential funding source increases rapport. For a competitive grant, offerors are likely to look favorably on an applicant showing an initiative to learn about the agency’s wishes, wants, and goals.

Even if your department is passed over, you’ve likely secured a valuable resource for future funding initiatives, or opportunities for other areas of your organization.

Use these Tips to Discover More Research Grant Opportunities

Securing grant funding can be laborious, particularly for specialized research areas.

However, following these five valuable tips in your grant acquisition process will greatly improve the odds of finding the right source.

With dedication, an open mind, and a willingness to consider new avenues of potential funding, departments will be well-equipped for securing grant-based support for their research.

If you’d like to learn more about enhancing your research administration efficacy, consult our knowledge base at Axiom Research Compliance.