In Blog

At the start of the year, we launched our “fresh look” grant editing service. We have already started working with many of you and look forward to learning the outcome of your proposals later in the year. Meanwhile, IEL’s Director and senior editor Dr. Neil McCarthy has put together a three-part blog on “How to write winning grant applications”.

About Neil

Before finding out what Neil has to say in part one of his blog, let’s find out why he is ideally placed to provide IEL clients with some useful hints and tips on successful grant writing!

Many of you will know Neil as a senior editor with Insight Editing London (IEL), but he is also a Lecturer in Immunology / MRC Career Development Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine at Queen Mary University of London. Neil is Research Lead in The Blizard Institute’s Centre for Immunobiology, as well as Infection and Inflammation Lead in the cross-faculty Centre for Predictive in vitro Models. He has secured more than £1M in personal research funding to date, including research council grants, via charitable sources, and through various commercial projects. Let’s hear what Neil has to say, in part one of his blog, “The Wisdom of Crowds“.

The Wisdom of Crowds

“An excellent piece of advice for all aspiring grant writers is to START EARLY. On too many occasions, I have been asked to provide feedback on a rough draft proposal when the planned submission date is only a week or two away! Constructing an excellent grant takes a lot of time, and ideally a large amount of feedback from both specialist and non-expert reviewers collected along the way. This is vital to ensuring that you put forward the best possible case for support.

Following on neatly from this last point – do not listen to ALL the advice you are given simply because it has been offered. This may seem counter-intuitive, but remember that not all input you receive will be *good* advice. An important part of your job as the applicant is to discern the difference between a constructive / valid point and other comments that may be less valuable or even harmful to your case. When writing my own fellowship proposal, I received feedback ranging from ‘this looks great / submit right now!’ all the way to ‘you should start again with a blank sheet of paper’ (in both cases, these were comments on the final proposal that was ultimately submitted and funded). So, always be wary of extreme opinions – whether strongly positive or negative – since often these are unlikely to provide much useful information to help enhance your application.”

Stay tuned for part two that discusses the importance of “Time, Team and Tools”!