Post #4 from Leslie, this time tackling the issue of writing a budget for your grant proposal.
Over the past few weeks, I have been giving tips on how to write a competitive Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork or Post-Ph.D. Research Grant application. Today’s topic is Preparing your budget: what is fundable and what isn’t.
We realize that it is not possible to estimate to the penny what the cost of your research might be – particularly since most applicants will be going into the field almost a year after they write their Wenner-Gren application. A lot can change during that time including the price of airfares, the cost of living, exchange rates, etc.
What we expect is that applicants do their best to accurately cost out their research at the time of application. We look at the budget closely to make sure that the request will cover the cost of the research and is not excessive. If your application is successful, we will work with you to insure that the amount awarded (within the grant maximum) will cover the costs of the proposed research. If you are in the fortunate position to receive grants from other institutions as well, we will also work with you to spread the costs of the research across your funding sources. It always looks good on your CV to be able to say that your work was funded by more than one agency – we will not force you to reject another funding offer to accept ours!
Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that the amount you request will not help or hinder your chances of funding — we do not prioritize applicants who request less money. We also do not arbitrarily cut the amount that you request. Our concern is that you have the resources to carry out your work and we rely on you to be the best judge of what you need.
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Our President continues her series of columns with more invaluable advice for building a competitive grant proposal.
The topic for this installment: Resubmitting a previously declined application and how to prepare a convincing resubmission statement.
Last time, I advised you not to despair (too much) if your grant application is declined for funding. No one likes to be declined, but it is a sad fact that Wenner-Gren only has funds to support about 15% of the Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-Ph.D. Research grant applications that we receive. However, the good news is that resubmitted applications have a significantly higher success rate than first-time applications. The simple truth is that applicants who seriously consider the reviewers’ comments and take the time and effort to rework their applications produce stronger and more competitive proposals.
To give you an idea of how significant this is, in 2011 the success rate for resubmitted Dissertation Fieldwork applications was almost twice that of first time applications (resubmissions = 23.0%, 59/257 applications; first time = 12.3%, 83/674 applications).
It is definitely worth the effort to resubmit – but don’t think that you will be successful if you simply resubmit the same application. Wenner-Gren puts considerable effort into reviewing proposals and we have a team of about 60 international anthropologists who help us do this. Our aim is to give constructive criticism to every applicant, and although you might not always agree with our funding decision, at least you know its basis. It is also very important to us to make our decisions in time for you to meet the next application deadline if you want. Our aim is to get you funded and into the field as quickly as possible.
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Our President returns with another installment of invaluable advice for building a successful grant proposal.
How to write winning answers to our project description questions.
This is the second installment in our blog on writing winning proposals for Wenner-Gren (Here is the first). Good and convincing answers to the project description questions are essential – they are the core of your application and its success depends on how well you answer these questions.
What follows is based on my experience in reading and reviewing almost 9,000 Wenner-Gren applications. Believe what I say here – I know what I am talking about. Remember that you only have limited space to answer each question. For the full page answers this amounts to somewhere between 700 and 750 words depending on how long or short your words are and how many paragraphs you use. Take some time to think about constructing your answers with the space limitations in mind.
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Wenner-Gren’s President, Dr. Leslie C. Aiello, with some invaluable inside tips and hints for those planning on applying for our Spring 2012 season.
Wenner-Gren’s spring 2012 grant season for our major programs is now underway (May 1, 2012 deadline).
Over the next few weeks I will be blogging with tips to help you write a competitive grant proposal. We would like to fund everyone who applies, but the reality is that we only have money to fund 12-15% of the almost 1500 applications we receive each year. My aim is to help you get into that top 12-15% and become a successful Wenner-Gren grantee.
I plan to cover all of the basics of preparing successful grant proposals for Wenner-Gren. Weekly topics will include:
- How to write winning answers to our project description questions.
- Resubmitting a previously declined application and how to prepare a convincing resubmission statement.
- The Osmundsen Initiative and what you need to know about this program to receive supplementary grant funds.
- Preparing your budget: what is fundable and what isn’t.
- How to be successful in our most competitive grant program, the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
- International anthropological research and the International Collaborative Research Grant
- Funding your conference or workshop: The Conference and Workshop Grant
Today’s topic is Basic Do’s and Don’ts in Preparing your Application. You shouldn’t ignore the following five points – you would be surprised how many applicants do so and run into trouble as a result. This information applies to all of our grant programs.
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