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Published 3/1/2010

Tips to increase the quality of grant applications

Do you want to improve your program’s chances of being awarded a fellowship or residency funding grant? The following suggestions—provided by Rhonda Taira, director of grants management for the OMeGA Medical Grants Association—should help:

  • Start early so you have time to collect the information you need to complete the application, proofread it, and ask for help in case you encounter problems.
  • Reviewers evaluate applications based on the answers to the questions asked—not on what you want to tell them. Answer the questions first, incorporating characteristics that you think help make your program special and worthy of a grant.
  • Be concise so that your answers fit in the character and page limits for online application answer fields. Although you may be able to use documents that you probably already have at your fingertips, you may have to edit this existing information. You may find it helpful to draft your answers in a separate document and then cut and paste your final version into the application system.
  • Take advantage of help bubbles and guides. Help bubbles are electronic tips that you see as you move your mouse over the document. They can help guide you through an electronic application system. Online help guides may include general application suggestions, clarifications for specific questions, and technical support. For example, OMeGA provides online help guides for both fellowship and residency grants.
  • Pay attention to expenses. Grant applications are pretty specific about what expenses can be covered. Programs must be compliant with guidelines issued by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA), as well as state laws.
  • Ask for help, if you need it. Usually, an e-mail address is provided. Describe your issue—attaching any visual aids (such as screen shots) that you think might be helpful so the right person can be ready to help.
  • Meet the deadlines. Applications for grants through OMeGA, for example, will be accepted until 5 p.m. CST on Wednesday, March 24.

Remember, however, that following all the rules still doesn’t guarantee that your grant will be approved. The ultimate decision in any case depends on an independent, unbiased review of all applications by the board of directors and the review committee.