Writing an abstract for a grant proposal

Remember that it is not enough to gather lots of data: How long will each step take? What will you do with your data?

Writing an abstract for a grant proposal

By Vid Mohan-Ram Jan.

writing an abstract for a grant proposal

Grant reviewers may confess the same of application abstracts that are filled with wonderful ideas but lack practical, nuts-and-bolts details. A good abstract is like a postcard-sized reprint of a famous work of art: It captures and illustrates the entire research picture without leaving the reader puzzled or confused.

In their efforts to spruce up and dress the body of the research plan, many grant applicants--postdocs and faculty alike--often fail to include essential pieces of the abstract, such as research data and methods.

The key to designing a winning grant application is to start off with a well-rounded, concise summary of your whole application: To accomplish that in a few hundred words, however, takes skill.

Ellen Barrett, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Miami School of Medicine suggests four key components of a well-rounded abstract: The abstract should introduce the reader to the problems you are addressing, the overall hypotheses you are testing, the main techniques you will be using, and your overall experimental plan.

What do you intend to do? Why is the work important?

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What has already been done? How are you going to do the work? The abstract should provide succinct answers to all such questions. In an abstract, those hypotheses should describe "your overview of the mechanisms underlying the process you are studying, not just your prediction" about how experiments will turn out, she says.

Barrett warns against writing abstracts with the assumption that your hypotheses are true--a costly error that "has doomed many applications," she says. What many applicants do is simply cut- and-paste the first two paragraphs of the introduction into the space set aside for the abstract, he discloses.

Dog Walker or Cocktail Talker? Lucas suggests beginning with a four-page description--a "concept paper summary"--of what you want to accomplish. By adding more specific detail to this document, you end up with a draft of your research plan.

Conversely, by "boiling it down," you wind up creating a concise research abstract that fits with and reflects the entire research plan. This practice keeps you focused and "helps remind you what the point of your research application is," Lucas says.

It helps you become disciplined, too: Word limits on abstracts forces you to delete, rephrase, and chop up information that is not essential to the abstract, says Lucas. Bergeson used such writing techniques for a grant application due the following May, just 6 weeks after the workshop.

It worked--his application was funded. Lucas lets his eager scholars in on a couple of insightful anecdotes: With writing, simply set aside time to "walk the dog": Sit down and write every day and soon writing will be as natural as handling radioactivity. Bergeson agrees with her: Fisher directs the team of referral officials and administrators who process and review applications at the federal funding agency.

By virtue of having to handle tens of thousands of submissions every year, she is sensitive to mistakes that scientists continue to make--especially when it comes to writing in plain English. Keywords Perhaps Not Key Fisher tries to dispel the commonly held belief that shrewd keywords win over the hearts and minds of reviewers and officials: Fisher makes another point that "if an award is made," the description "will be public information" deposited in the federal CRISP Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects awards database.

Generally, the primary and secondary reviewers report their analysis and give it a rating or predetermined classification. The remaining reviewers must also rate your application, and unless they have previously scrutinized it, they may pass judgement only on what they read in the abstract.

If you can bring those--vision and the big picture--together in your abstract, your next grant application could be out of this world!

writing an abstract for a grant proposal

For many young scientists, the research plan itself can appear to be an alien landscape! Next week we begin a series of head-first plunges into the nitty-gritty of your actual research plan: How to structure it, what reviewers are looking for and what irritates them the most.Affordable Papers is an online writing service which has helped students from the UK, US, and Europe for more than 10 years.

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Writing Grant Proposals That Win, Fourth Edition offers step-by-step instructions and clear examples of how to write winning grant proposals. It offers practical guidance on how to: Express the need for the project, Describe objectives and activities, Outline an evaluation plan, and more.

How to Write a Grant Proposal. In this Article: Article Summary Sample Grant Proposal Documents Getting Started Writing Your Proposal Adding Required Support Documentation Finalizing Your Application Following Up Community Q&A True grants can be very difficult to find and harder still to get.

It may not be easy to find the right grant, but when you do, properly completing the grant application. Proposal Writing Is Its Own Genre. The writing required for a research proposal is not like other, more familiar, forms of writing. Readers of your proposal want to know. While our foundation has held firm, we pride ourselves on continuing to modernize the curriculum and our teaching practices.

The prestigious Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education is a nod both to our history and to our future, recognizing WPI’s project-based curriculum developing leadership, innovative problem-solving.

Grant writing example to help write a grant. Abstract (Do Not Exceed Words) This proposal supports the long range math teaching improvement vision of The University of XYZ.

Grant Guidelines for AFSA, the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association