It’s that time of year again when many of us are spending every waking moment working on some ARC grant application. I’m currently writing a Discovery Grant application and there are quite a lot of differences in this year’s application compared to previous years. These include:
- The section numbering. What was E is now C, and there are new letters F and G.
- More work! For example, in F13.3, each of the “Ten-best career publications” requires a 30 word description of the impact and significance of the publication. Each paper in F13.2 (papers from the last five years) must be aligned with a previous Discovery Project if applicable.
- No paper printout, everything is uploaded in the RMS system.
I am currently about half-way through and here are some things I’ve learnt so far which might help you in economising your time and effort:
- The budget part hasn’t changed much from previous years, so you can do what you always did. The only difference is that you do everything through RMS.
- First write down your objectives for C2, and use these as notional subheadings for C3 and C4.
- Then start writing “C3 Significance and Innovation”. I think of this section as the middle ground, and so what you over-write here usually spills over into C2 and C4. The C2 section gives the subtext and philosophy of the project without details on the background theory. The background theory finds its place in C3 because usually the significance, motivation, innovation and impact is better phrased within a story of the subject.
- C4 is really the “how to” part of the proposal. When you feel like you’ve started describing methodology in C3, move the material to C4, but don’t be afraid to write too much in C3. I find it difficult to separate the two sections while I’m writing. I think it is best to write a whole slab of stuff on a particular topic, and then separate them into the two sections afterwards.
- C2 is now much easier to write when you can see what examples and themes you will need to make C3 and C4 easier to understand and more cohesive. Be imaginative, write enthusiastically and do a lot of brain-storming with your C2 section. This is probably the most important part of the application. Your C2 should be understandable to another academic who may not be familiar with your discipline, but might be from an allied discipline (e.g., physics and chemistry, history and english literature).
If you are also hard at work on your grant proposal and have spotted some “things to be careful of” items, please comment below. Good luck!