"Start early, start small, involve others" Take home messages from the SHW ECR grant writing group

Published: 20 September 2023

An overview of learning from the inaugural meeting of our newly-formed grant writing group for ECRs

The first session of our ECR grant writing group, an initiative started this year by the SHW ECR Career Progression Sub-group, was held on 13 September 2023.

Photo of desk with diary, pens and calendar

Four ECRs from across SHW talked through the creative process of developing their successful grant, from having the initial idea/research question to developing it into a project that would take x number of months/years to complete.

The presenters reflected on their experiences of developing a grant idea and provided several useful tips for ECRs who are interested in developing their own grant idea. The take home messages from the session were:

  1. Start early! If the deadline is three months away, you’re probably not going to have enough time to put together a competitive application.
  2. Start small – there are pots of money that you can apply to that will cover conference costs etc. Applying for these will give you good experience and will make you more competitive when you apply for bigger grants.
  3. Involve others – ask peers and more experienced colleagues to give you feedback on your idea and proposal. Ask people who have successfully won funding to review their application. If your project focusses on a particular community/patient group, connect with relevant organisations to get their input on the idea development.
  4. Take advantage of available resources like grant writing workshops or groups offered by SHW or the University of Glasgow.
  5. Systematic reviews are helpful (but not essential) for idea generation.
  6. Try to identify benefits from your project beyond basic outputs of the project. For example, skills you will learn, students who could work on the project and so also learn skills, collaborations between institutions, potential benefit to the community.

The next session of the group will run at 10am on Wednesday 11 October 2023 and will focus on "Knowing what support is available and choosing a funder". The session will begin with a presentation from Alison Purdie-Gore (Project Coordinator) from the MVLS Research Support Office. She will provide:

  • a brief overview of what funding body schemes are out there and which accept applicants with different levels of experience e.g. x years since completing PhD
  • tips on how to choose a suitable funder or adapt your project to the funding body’s criteria
  • internal selection processes and timelines.

This will be followed by a Q&A.

Kirsty Dunn
Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

If you have any topics or questions that you would like Alison to address in her presentation, please send them to kirsty.dunn@glasgow.ac.uk by 29 September 2023.

First published: 20 September 2023