Drafting an application for a grant or an IIT (Investigator-Initiated Trial) can take an enormous amount of time and effort, so you want to be sure that your proposal has the highest chance of being funded. While there is always an element of luck, you can beat the odds by ensuring that your IIT stand out from the rest. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the critical factors that reviewers are looking for and how you can use them to your advantage to ensure your application is a success.

Highlight your Impact

Based on our experiences, most IIT of grant applications focus on “how” they plan to solve a problem but often skim over the significance of the problem or their solution. Keep in mind that funding is very limited, and only a handful of projects can ever be funded from the hundreds that are received. Reviewers are, therefore, looking for solutions to pressing problems that will have a long lasting impact. So, ensure that your proposal highlights the pain of the problem while showcasing the benefits of your unique approach. Of course, that is not to say that the scientific methodologies in your proposal are not critical. In fact, any project worth funding must, at the very least, have a robust scientific approach.

Put Together the Dream Team

“Who” said it is perhaps even more important than what is said. Reviewers are more easily convinced by applicants that are veterans and experts rather than those who are new to the field. They want to know whether the applicant will be able to execute the proposed project plan. In this regard, access to world-class facilities, expertise and collaborators, all of which is likely more possible with years of experience, helps bolster the applicant’s credibility. In other words, you will need the right team of experts on your application to make your proposal more successful. In some cases, the reviewers are blinded to the applicants to avoid any biases. However, more often than not, the team behind the application matters more than you think.

Add Images

Whenever possible, include an image, a chart, or a diagram in your proposal (and make sure they are high quality). Not only does it help highlight the main ideas of the application, but images provide a needed change of pace in a text-heavy proposal. It will also make your project much more memorable and stand out with the reviewers.

Scan for Small Errors

Nothing kills a good proposal than a few spelling or grammar mistakes. Fortunately, they’re easy to fix with an extra pair of eyes. Ensure that you get at least two other people to proof-read your work for any potential errors. They might also be able to give you some feedback that will improve your application. If that’s not possible, then we suggest using a dedicated proof-reading software like Grammarly. Don’t just rely on your traditional spelling and grammar function on Word; we’ve found plenty of times when it did not catch simple mistakes.

Think Like a Reviewer

When you’re reviewing your draft, try to see it through the eyes of the reviewer. What do they like? What do they want to hear? What questions might they have? It’s important to be critical of your work and address any potential issues because the reviewers will sure catch them. We know that getting an application funded is a herculean task and takes enormous amounts of trial and error, but remember, don’t give up. If you don’t succeed the first time, get better and try again. Good luck!

Need someone to proof-read your draft or give you a second opinion? Sengi offers various services to help you draft your next IIT or grant application.

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The Sengi team is led by Dr. Brad Hall, a vision scientist and expert medical writer. A regular peer reviewer for several medical and ophthalmology journals, Dr. Hall has authored a multitude of articles personally, is a successful grant writer, medical writer, and master of the art of simplifying data and statistical analysis. Since launching in 2015, Sengi has provided medical writing and biostatistics analysis expertise to SMBs and researchers around the world that lacked the necessary means to share their scientific breakthroughs outside of the lab. Sengi’s work has enabled these companies to put advanced technology into the hands of those who need them most.