19 May 2015 1 Comment
Congratulations! We have decided to give you a grant.
Unfortunately, funding is tight, so we have cut your budget to the bone. Sorry about that.
The funding agency
Sometimes, you can win only to lose.
One of the trickiest times for any research team is when you have to work out what you can do with a reduced amount of money.
The decisions that you make at this point will shape your whole project. They may also have repercussions for the team dynamic. If Professor Needs-Grant feels that they didn’t get their fair share of the loot, they can get grumpy. Their enthusiasm for the project may disappear, or at least diminish.
There are ways to improve this situation.
Before you submit the application
First of all, when you are designing your project, assume that you won’t be fully funded. After all, it is the norm for funding agencies to cut budgets so they can fund as many grants as possible. Assume that will be the case. Ask each of your research partners to provide the costing for their part of the project. This should include the correct figures for their time on the project, as well as the funds that they want to spend. Then talk to everybody about where things overlap and how different elements might be combined. Work out, with your co-researchers, what will happen if things get cut. Talk about what the project will look like if the postdoc isn’t funded, or if you don’t get all the fieldwork money.
Imagine the possibilities and talk about them with your team. Work out what is the minimum amount that would make a viable project.
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