Success factors when applying for grants from impact driven public funding agencies

Dr Stefan Forsaeus Nilsson - Research Advisor, Grants Office, Chalmers University Of Technology

Academic researchers often find it challenging to submit proposals to impact driven funding agencies with mixed (academics and stakeholders) evaluation panels. This may stem from lack of experience in describing research in terms of societal value, combined with non-academic evaluators applying different yardsticks in assessing proposals than what are common in regular peer-review.

In an attempt to unveil what is actually important, an analysis was made of the feedback on 260 proposals submitted from Chalmers University to the Swedish funding agency Formas (seeking sustainability relevant projects in the domains of environmental protection, agricultural industries, and the built environment) during 2015 – 2017. Correlations were studied between scores on individual criteria, decisions to approve/reject, presence and character of co-applicants, level of seniority of the main applicants, etc. In addition, a rudimentary text analysis was done on the written comments received.

Findings include that applying in solitude severely reduces chances for funding, and that academic seniority is favoured beyond what is reasonable to expect based on track-records of applicants. In conclusion, this type of analysis provides data for improved grant writing and enables more substantial advice to researchers, and is thus a valuable tool for a Grants Office.

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Room Pentland
Time 11:30 - 12:45
Date Tuesday 5th June, 2018
Theme Developing Research Proposals
Style Workshop
Speakers Dr Stefan Forsaeus Nilsson - Research Advisor, Grants Office, Chalmers University Of Technology

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