Sunday, August 05, 2007

Grant Writing Easier Than You Think?

Executive Director Lain Shakespeare at the Wren's Nest in Atlanta may have it right. What do you think?
The Wren’s Nest » Ketchum: Wren’s Nest Wins!: "I don’t want to jinx myself, but it seems like grant writing is a lot easier than professional grant writers would have you think. Actual writing talent is way overrated–personality goes a long way, and nobody can tell your story better than you.

After you identify your grant and maybe perform a little research at the Foundation Center, all you’re gonna need is three things: passion, precision, and knowledge of your audience.

The last one is most important because each grantmaker has different rules. Learning these rules is like learning your manners all over again."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

# 40: Grant Writing for Scientists in Tight Times

Depressing news for scientists seeking grants -- reports that about one in five applications to NIH get funded. If you're a new grant-seeker, one in six. And, in Europe, 97% of new science-grant-seekers will receive rejection letters. | Special Feature: Grant Writing for Tight Times: Kotok: 27 July 2007

So, the quality of your application clearly matters. It must stand out from the crowd. As a scientist, your livelihood depends upon it. One of the tools the article suggests is the Ro1 Tool Kit:

In The NIH R01 Tool Kit, the Science Careers Editors provide new and experienced grant writers with tips on preparing grant applications for NIH's main research funding vehicle, the R01. This article updates one of our most visited pages, first written in 2001, to reflect new procedures for electronic grant applications and what we've learned over the last 6 years. The tool kit offers pragmatic advice for improving your chances with the NIH committee, called a study section, that reviews your proposal.
I don't write science oriented grant applications, but I believe in reading every piece of funder-specific advice I can find. If I were a scientist, I'd certainly check this out.

#39: How do you make maps for your grant applications?

Well, I've tried many mapping methods. Here's my current, and simplest method:
  • I get a google map of the area I want and choose 'Print' from the links on the right, above the map.
  • I don't actually print the map. I open "SnagIt" and take a picture. (I'll tell you about SnagIt in a minute.)
  • Then with SnagIt tools I annotate the map.
  • Finally, I save it as a jpg that I can insert into my document.
SnagIt is an invaluable screen capture and image editing utility from TechSmith. It's not free ($39.95 with a free 30 day trial), but worth every penny. I use it for everything from capturing error messages for tech support to writing instructions. And, sometimes, just to add captions to funny pictures for my friends.

You'll find a great series of SnagIt video tips at 24 in 24. Watch one or two and you'll appreciate both the tool and the SnagIt team.

What Grant Writing Books are on Your Shelf?

This news brief caught my eye.

Chronicle-Telegram » Off the Beat 07/28/07: "From the desk of Mike Kobylka…
Lorain Safety Service Director Mike Kobylka never likes to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes he thinks he should.

Sitting on the floor of his office are two books, one on top of the other. The one on the bottom is called “The Only Grant Writing Book You’ll Ever Need” while the one on top is “The Complete Book of Grant Writing.

He bought “The Complete Book of Grant Writing” first, but said he wishes he would have taken “the only book he’ll ever need” claim at face value.

“The other one was awful, but (“The Only Grant Writing Book You’ll Ever Need”) had it all,” he said.
— Adam Wright"

What grant writing books are on your bookshelf? Which are the ones you turn to on a regular basis?