29 May 2012 1 Comment
The previous post in this series addressed the issue of how I assess track-records on grant applications. It talked about a range of X-factors that I look for when assessing applications with (typically) excellent research CVs.
This post focuses on project feasibility and whether the project sounds like it’s going to work.
On one level, it’s a dead obvious question: Can the project be done?
It is, however, an aspect that depends entirely on the evidence presented in the application that:
- The team (or individual) is good and experienced;
- The budget’s credible and appropriately linked to a methodology that has integrity; and
- The project itself has significant intellectual rigour and vigour.
One of the trickiest balancing acts that I find with grant applications is demonstrating innovation and creativity in your research without sacrificing feasibility.
This can sometimes boil down to a question of ‘do you have a Plan A and Plan B?’. If we’re talking about the honest face of research, we’d have to admit that things don’t always work. The project direction that’s so assiduously planned may go awry in the first six months when the research team implodes or the data doesn’t do what you’d like it to. Research is often exploratory, which introduces doubt about what its real final outcomes might be.
If you were being completely honest, you’d have to say that the project may not work.