6 Tips Education Grant Writing Process

Office of Education Scholarship, Department of Family & Community Medicine

Start Early

Many successful grants will have been thought about, discussed, and potentially even drafted well before the call for applications published. Don’t underestimate the importance of starting early – not just to develop your project but to complete all of the administrative requirements.

If grants require departmental support, there may be an internal competition (e.g. EDF) that begins well before the submission deadline.

If you are seeking funds from multiple departments, then you may have two internal screening processes prior to application.

If you require ethics approval, timelines on these may be very long and may also require an internal review step.

Ask for advice from successful applicants

Successful applicants may be able to give you tips about the specific grant in question or about how to tailor your application to a specific grant. You could ask to read their successful submission(s) to see how they focused their ideas in the limited space provided.

You may also want to ask previously successful applicants to review and provide feedback on your grant application. Give them lots of time so that you have time to implement their feedback prior to submission. It is reasonable to allow 2-4 weeks for others to provide feedback and many departments enforce this.

Don’t make assumptions

Don’t assume the review committee knows your work, or your field so avoid jargon & explain all acronyms. Assume that they don’t know the background material to your study, so refer to the literature and provide references. Make sure you know the literature and background prior to submitting your grant proposal, do your homework before applying for funding and place your proposal within the context of the current literature in your field.

Understand your audience

Know what the granting agency is about. For example, the EDF is intended to move the Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s strategic objectives (innovation, impact, integration) forward as well as the Departments’. Your proposal and grant application should address them both.

Read the criteria

There is nothing worse than submitting a proposal only to find that you missed a crucial step and your submission is ineligible. What day and at what time is the submission due? Is it noon? Is it midnight? Is there a page limit?

Ensure that all components are received well in advance of the deadline and are submitted to the process correctly. What information do you need to provide? A budget? A letter confirming matched funds? Ethics? Do you have all of these pieces in place?

Many EDF proposals submitted do not follow the published guidelines. Pay close attention to what is allowed and disallowed in the funding criteria and if you have questions, ask. For example, the EDF disallows resourcing hardware or catering through the Temerty Faculty of Medicine grant money (although it could be allowed through the department match).

Write well & edit often

A well-developed project written poorly may not easily be understood by the review committee. Writing, editing and reviewing is a repeated cycle that takes time, input and considerable thought. If you would like someone to review your draft proposal for writing and editing or if you have any questions, please contact our office at dfcm.edscholarship@utoronto.ca.