Timex Clock with Copper CasingEveryone has a good idea; but not all ideas are fundable, and not everyone has the commitment to succeed in grant-application writing. Every research project begins first with a need, and then comes the idea for the research project. It is important to understand that need drives the activities of the research project. And it is the need that will get the idea funded. In order to ensure success, you must ensure that your idea fits the basic need of the funding agency, conforms to their mission statement, and that others, besides yourself, think that your idea is fundable. 

  • There is a need in your field and you have an idea for a solution to this need. 
  • Stop and Consider: Double check that someone, other than you, thinks that this is a priority. You need to assess your idea’s potential for success and modify it if necessary. Ensure that you have the capabilities to pursue this line of research, practically speaking. Do you have the resources? Can you justify the approach? You have funding for preliminary data? Do you have enough time to commit to this?
  • Stop and Consider: Now that you have done some research, is your idea original, irresistible, and fundable? Does it come from an established background but offer a vertical advancement and more knowledge to the field? Has the general need/topic been funded recently? Seek constructive criticism from your colleagues because the idea that spurs a grant application is so fundamentally important, you need to do everything possible to ensure you have the best idea, the strongest foundation, to build upon.
  • Refine your idea based on critical feedback. You should have complete and total confidence in the foundation of your idea and project. Now that you have done some background research, you know the background in your field surrounding this topic, and you can make tough decisions on the ultimate shape and direction of your future research. 
  • Next, you need to identify several possible funding agencies who match your research idea:
    • Your idea should immediately fit into the funding agency’s mission statement,
    • The agency should have recent award winners in your localized field, and
    • You need to be qualified to submit an application to the agency for research funding.