The confidential nature of research grants poses a challenge for new writers and researchers who are unfamiliar with grant proposals. The best way to learn how to write grants—by far—is to start writing grants as part of a team with experienced grant writers. This allows one to learn while doing under the tutelage of those who have honed their skills writing proposals for a variety of projects and funders. And, as I have said before, serving as a peer reviewer should be a required experience for every writer of grants.
For those unable to enter grant writing through these tried and true avenues, or for grant writers seeking to better understand what a funder’s “ideal” proposal looks like, sample grant proposals can prove quite valuable…and extremely hard to come by. For obvious reasons, these proposals are confidential. Getting a mentor or a colleague to share a proposal can seem a major victory, until you start asking yourself some key questions: Was this project funded? What were reviewers’ comments? What worked (and is worthy of emulation), and what did not? How old is this thing?
For all of these reasons and more, vetted samples of funded proposals can be invaluable to new writers of grants. Fortunately, some researchers share their funded proposals via funders’ web sites. After all, funders want applicants to understand what they are looking for so they can receive high-quality proposals.
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