Writing funding applications is a useful skill for students, staff, and faculty, as well as for anyone working at a non-profit organization. Grants and other funding requests are like contracts and exist between a funding organization or institution and a group or individual. Often grants are specific sources of money awarded for particular activities. Fellowships provide funding to individuals for a variety of reasons, such as travel or dissertation completion, and research proposals allow scholars to explore a particular hypothesis. Funding proposals of all types necessitate creating concise project summaries and tailoring all application materials to the funder. Please click on the type of funding opportunity below to learn more.
Research proposals are common in academia and normally present a research question or hypothesis that, if investigated, will add to the body of knowledge in a certain field. Though the outcome might be unclear at the beginning of the research, the main goal of such a project is to disseminate the knowledge gained. These proposals tend to involve a more specialized, scholarly writing style and be longer than problem grant applications. They often include an in-depth literature review and showcase the principal investigator’s credibility. Anyone submitting research proposals should find grant information targeted to this particular type of funding as the expectations and documents required can differ greatly from a more “typical” grant.
Problem grants are extremely common in the non-profit world and normally include a problem statement outlining a community issue or need. The main goal of such projects is improvement in the lives of a specific group of people. Problem grant applications must anticipate any possible problems up front and demonstrate the likelihood of much more immediate results than in a research proposal. Such applications should also address sustainability of the program after funding has expired. Problem grant documents often involve an explanation of the background, history, and mission of the organization asking for funding. These types of funding applications are quite prevalent and are what most people refer to when they talk about “grants.”
Fellowships are frequently found in academia and normally provide funding to an individual: to conduct a research project, to complete a degree, to travel, etc. Fellowships can be offered on the departmental, university, state, national, or international level. Requirements, eligibility, and documentation can differ widely but must always be tailored to the granting organization’s mission and focus. Often a personal statement, explaining the fellowship applicant’s background and qualifications, and a project proposal are necessary. Fellowships can be an excellent way for students to fund some or all of their education. If unsure where to begin, students should check with their advisor, department, or school to locate the most appropriate support services and funding opportunities. In addition, potential applicants should pay attention to fellowship and funding information in journals and newsletters in their field of study.