Applying for grants

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 23 November 2016


See also Applying for sabbaticals | Awards for academic librarians | Budgeting in research | Research Portal for Academic Librarians | Scientific writing

Applying for grants is not the kind of activity academic librarians (or health librarians for that matter) engage in with any regularity or frequency. However, with an increased emphasis on the scholarly output of academic librarians, that may be changing. Research grants can be an extremely important outlet for academic librarians and their institutions in order to fund new, worthy research and projects of merit. Applying for a research grant especially as a principal investigator is a learned skill. Unfortunately, many library schools do not teach student librarians how to apply for grants, and librarian-focused monographs on the topic are in short supply. Consequently, some grant applications are not always written in a thorough enough manner to win a grant. The key is to ensure that the research project and what you hope to accomplish by conducting the research are clearly stated. Many librarians already have some of the key skills to be successful grant writers; an ability to research and synthesize information; a commitment to assess community needs; a collaborative attitude. Clearly, what is needed is a synthesis of these skills and applying practical knowledge of the grant process to the project at hand. This wiki entry and the larger Research for librarians - portal will help you to win financial awards for your projects and your institution. Examples, templates, and checklists will be listed in an attempt to lead you through the grant cycle. Incidentally, most grant applications ask for the same information: a cover letter, proposal summary (or summary of problem), an organizational overview, statement of needs, project description, methodology used, budget, evaluation process and supplementary materials in appendices. These various component parts of the grant application also form part of your planning and allow you to adapt, modify and replicate content for multiple grants.

Components of a good grant proposal

  • Clearly expressed, well-written and well-organized
  • Demonstrates how a project will result in innovation or add to the literature
  • Includes specifics about your experiment or observations to show planning is thorough
  • Helps reviewers understand your proposal; lists project organization, content, laboratory and other inquiry-based experiments
  • Shows groundwork is laid and illustrates why what you are proposing is important
  • Clarity of expression helps to describe, in a limited number of words, your project and exactly what you plan to do
  • Demonstrates you have knowledge of current scholarship practices and how they are relevant to your study design; include current research in teaching and learning practices
  • Does not fail to adequately describe all components of your project
  • Demonstrates you have a time frame; show you have done adequate planning and have realistic time frames
  • Includes examples to illustrate, for example, your innovative approach; describe your plans to continue project beyond the funding period


  • Collect, manage & review applications with ease. FluidReview is a simple, flexible & dynamic application management system for grants, scholarships and awards

See also Top Grant Management Software


Key websites & video

  • Research agenda for library instruction, information literacy, bibliography of research methodology resources and more for librarian researchers
  • Association for Library and Information Science Education offers many awards annually
  • Research topics and the focus is on evidence‐based practice


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