Grants Are Business

Those of you who follow my blog have probably noticed a lack of blogging of late–I am finishing my MBA, and there is quite a bit to do in these last weeks of the program. My first graduate degree was in biology, and the final weeks were actually much more relaxing than the months of research and writing that had preceded them. I am currently in a scramble to get things done, and to get done. So I will be brief.

In the MBA theme, I will share the key thesis of my grantsmanship strategy: A grant proposal is a business proposal. Boom. Pretty simple. But I am always amazed by how academicians want to resist the concept that they are, fundamentally, selling an idea and their team’s labor. There is some feeling among academics that the grant proposal is somehow more intellectual, more precious, than a business proposal. I’m here to tell you it is not. Rant, yell, cry, go through the five stages of grief, but at some point arrive to the realization that you are asking for money for your idea and a plan to create the end product . . . which is a business proposal.

Once you come to grips with the realization that a grant proposal is nothing more than a business proposal, you will be liberated and more efficient. At the highest level, if you are a strategic, efficient person, you will research the needs and perspective of the funder and have a much better understanding of the direction your proposal should take. That is, if you are strategic, you will do your research into what the funder is looking for and give it to them. This effect will ripple through all aspects of the development of your project and proposal, and you will produce a more competitive, fundable proposal. Boom.

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