8 Tips for a Stronger Grant Proposal at RESI
Tips for Preparing Grant Proposals at RESI
At the Race & Ethnic Studies Institute we have multiple funding opportunities to help enhance your research. Whether you’re a faculty member, graduate or undergraduate student, we have research funding to take your project to the next level. We understand that grant writing is its own genre and in some cases, it is highly field dependent (grants for NIH, NSF, NEH, et. will all look a bit different and have different style/vibe). For our internal grants, we have some good general guidelines that we try to prioritize and encourage.
1.Write for the RFP (request for proposals). Sure, you might be able to adapt snippets from a seminar paper or something, but you should expect to really be writing for the audience for the specific grant for which you’re applying. That also means that you shouldn’t take something you submitted for a different unit’s program and resubmit it to us. It won’t fit our call and it will be obvious.
2. Be attentive to our research initiatives. RESI has some defined research initiatives (HSI Research Initiative and the Power & Inequality Research Initiative) and wants projects to fit clearly within one or both of those programs. Most projects that are critical or seriously take issues of power and inequality can fit. When race or ethnicity is merely a variable, the proposal won’t fit.
3. Explain outcomes, impacts, and next steps. We want to know that our funds can make a difference in the project and that there are clear plans for publication or next steps. Be explicit about those things and be persuasive about how our programs can help.
4. Use the RFP’s language for headers. We need/want everything to follow roughly the same format and use roughly the same language so that we can effectively compare apples to apples (or social scientific projects to humanistic ones). If you don’t use our language for headers, it increases the likelihood that reviewers will think you are missing the mark on some element of the proposal.
5. Avoid jargon and define terms of art. These are research proposals, and we get that you’ll have some specialized language. If you can’t avoid jargon, just be sure to clearly define your terms. But if someone from outside your specialty can’t understand what you’re proposing, then they aren’t going to positively evaluate your work. Most proposals have social scientists AND humanists reviewing. So be sure an educated, interdisciplinary audience can understand.
6. Clearly explain your methods. Even for folks who are in fields that are resistant to “methods,” you have methodological and interpretive orientation. Everyone should have some way of explaining inclusion and exclusion criteria – even rhetoricians, who have to make reasoned decisions about what texts to include or exclude and why. Justify those methodological decisions regardless of paradigmatic orientation to research.
7. Explain why you need the money you’re proposing in your budget. Why this amount? Why now? What other sources of funds do you have? Be clear on all of this and make sure that the things you’re asking to spend money on are appropriate for the grant (ask an advisor or ask RESI [email@example.com]).
8. Follow the directions and proofread. This seems like it should go unsaid, but it can’t. The easiest decisions we can make are proposals that don’t follow directions or are riddled with errors. Whether they’re late, or incomplete, too wordy/long, otherwise ignore the guidance we’ve provided, or evidence a lack of attention to detail, those kinds of submissions are the first ones cut.
Upcoming Funding Opportunities By Deadline
We support research projects without regard to methodological or paradigmatic orientation. Located within the College of Arts & Sciences, we recognize the value in approaching race and ethnic studies from all scholarly starting points.