Learn to put the ‘fun’ back into ‘research funding’ with Charlesworth Knowledge

One of the most difficult, challenging, and uncertain aspects of getting a research idea off the ground and turning it into an active project is paying for it. How can you maximise your chances of successfully funding your research? Our services, including grant editing, consultancy, and webinars (register here to view recording) can help you ensure that your funding applications are well-written, within word count, and a good match to guidelines.


Regularly generating research funding is key to career progression and ‘being successful’ as an academic (or at least being perceived to ‘be successful’). Universities, national agencies, and research institutes around the world are most likely to assess your performance on the basis of your publications (i.e., how many and, more importantly, where are they published? Which journals are you using and what are their impact factors?), your departmental service (e.g., students supervised, teaching load, administrative responsibilities), and funding won. In the upcoming UK Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), for example, the ‘impact’ of work within a department or research unit will be evaluated partly on the basis of economics. It’s important to try to maintain a steady flow of funding for your research.


Depending on your field, of course, the costs of day-to-day research might be astronomical or next-to-nothing. In some fields, like atmospheric chemistry, one experiment costs thousands of dollars, while in others, like palaeontology, there are few immediate costs other than traveling to visit museum collections or digging up dinosaurs in the desert.


The costs of your research as well as hiring team members and managing a project all need to be factored into applications and effectively justified as part of a proposal. Again, Charlesworth’s wide range of research grant writing support services can help. Don’t forget that the research publishing process also includes a number of ‘hidden costs’ that someone needs to pay for, including the article processing fees (APCs) that many journals currently charge for Open Access (OA). Ensuring that everyone can read your research OA is likely to be, or already it, a mandated requirement of most funding agencies. Our blog articles and training courses can ensure you are OA-compliant and understand the changes coming to academic publishing. Charlesworth is also a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).


Increasing numbers of academics are turning to non-conventional funding sources to ensure they have the day-to-day running costs in place for particular targeted projects. Perhaps you need support for an experiment or series of trials, a fieldtrip, or exploration project? One of the tricks of successful grant writing is making sure that your proposal is interesting. What is the key question and why should people care? Once you’ve developed this (and, again, we can help), why not take a look at one of the increasing number of academic research crowdfunding sites available? These sites offer you the opportunity to promote your research and give people the chance to get involved with your projects and, potentially, contribute to funding. There has been an upsurge in recent years in public involvement in science, including even crowdsourcing data like counts and surveys.


Crowdfunding your research in a targeted, project-by-project manner can be an extremely effective way of both remaining productive (larger, national or international funding schemes tend to run on fixed annual or bi-annual deadlines) and promoting your research, therefore maximising your impact. Work in this area has shown that crowdfunding can be a very successful approach, especially when people can connect with your work or because it’s a little unusual. More mainstream research is, in contrast, less likely to be funded in this way if people just get the feeling they are contributing to ‘business as usual’. In addition to simply publishing and securing funding, finding ways to actually measure the impact and reach of your research is critically important to career success. Imagine if you were able to tell your employer or promotion panel that 2,400 people read about your research on a crowdfunding website linked back to your own social media platforms and 130 of them actually contributed funding to get your project of the ground.




If you have questions about academic writing in general or grant writing in particular, Charlesworth can help. Our training courses (which can be booked via institutions), online materials, and blog articles contain numerous tips and tricks to help you navigate the global funding system and maximise your potential as a researcher. Indeed, our world-class English language editing services are designed to support your wider research and writing; why not run your next funding proposal through our grant editing and pre-peer review services, or get your writing edited and polished by one of our PhD-level specialists working in the same research field as you?


Did you know that Charlesworth runs an educational webinar at the end of each month? Why not sign up and learn something useful to advance your career?


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