What is a grant?

What is a grant? By definition, a Grant is –

An exercise in persuasive writing 

that conveys your ideas to a funder

to get money to do something

Grants can be for many different things including:

  • Research
  • Clinical practice or service delivery
  • Training, Fellowships, Career Development
  • Education, curriculum development
  • Buildings and Equipment

As a postdoctoral fellow, you are most likely applying either for a Research grant, or some form of training/fellowship/career development grant.

The goal of a grant proposal for RESEARCH is to obtain financial sponsorship for your project

A Research grant proposal is NOT –

  • A research manuscript
  • A review paper
  • A progress report
  • A thesis

Research grants have certain elements in common:

Element Implications for You
Must be responsive to the mission of the funder Know the funder’s mission and goals
Communication is organized according to specific rules Get the directions, read the directions, follow the directions
Presentation must be logical Provide information (what, why, how) where and how reviewers expect to see it
The work must be feasible Demonstrate that it is possible to complete the project within given time frame, budget, available resources, and personnel
Reflect state-of-the-art and best practices in the field Up to date and cutting edge
Must have an impact Must move the field forward in some way or meet the need of the funder

Writing a research grant proposal requires special and sometimes new skills. It will be challenging, and the first time will be the hardest.

Writing a grant forces you to organize your thinking: 

  • Research idea (Specific Aims)
  • How you will execute a project (Approach/Methods)
  • A set period of time and money (Timeline + Budget)
  • Location and resources (Environment)

Scientific grant writing takes practice and skill so you should:

  • Learn about grant writing and other kinds of scientific writing
  • Practice letting others review and comment on your research ideas (and vice versa)
  • Start writing and submitting grants – it’s the only way to truly understand the organization, format and process


  1. Appreciate it for all your efforts that you have put in this.

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