How to Successfully Obtain Psychology Grant Funding
I have attempted to break down the steps for applying for grant funding into four basic steps for success. There are a limited number of funding opportunities available for undergraduates, but if you are able to obtain one, it will be a great addition to your CV. Note: these steps will work at any stage of one’s education.
1. Gain knowledge/skills
2. Gather information
4. Be persistent
Step 1 may seem obvious, but is a vital foundation for a successful grant nonetheless. Having connections with skilled faculty members who will supervise you and having access to the resources you need are vital things to convey to a grant review committee. It is important to demonstrate that you are capable of completing the project and doing so in a timely manner.
Step 2: Applying for a grant takes a significant amount of time and energy, so it’s important to maximize your chances for receiving an award by gathering as much information as possible. I think the three most important things are:
a.) the number of awards
b.) the number of applicants
c.) quality/type of past winners
Try to apply to opportunities that offer multiple awards. For example, it’s much easier to be in the top 3, than to be the very best. Item b.) is the reason I don’t recommend applying for scholarships/ awards from the big scholarship sites. Thousands of students could end up applying for these awards, so you have a much lower probability of success. It’s also important to look at the types of projects that have been funded in the past. For example, if a certain award generally goes to experimental studies and you want to do a secondary data analysis, then that award is probably not the best fit and it would be a better use of your time and energy to apply elsewhere. All of this will go a long way toward increasing the probability that you will receive the award.
Step 3: Keep a list of awards you are interested in applying to, then follow-through. Make sure you set realistic timelines to ensure you are able to meet deadlines. Edit and re-edit.
Step 4: Persistence is vitally important to academia. Manuscripts, presentations, and funding applications will be rejected (sometimes multiple times). This happens to even the best faculty members. However, each failure provides practice and information to learn from. Oftentimes rejected applications for funding include comments from reviewers that can be helpful for future applications.