Portrait of a woman seated in a boat with a fishing rod. Author: Collins, Tudor Washington, 1898-1970, photographer. License: CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en). Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Grant Capture Strategy

This sixth session has taken place on April 6, 2022. The main topic of discussion has been grant capture strategy. We have discussed our plans for developing our research grant application strategy within the next 3-5 years.

Prior to the session, we were tasked to work in pairs by exchanging a research proposal that we are working on at the moment or a recent proposal that was not successful with plans to resubmit it and give/receive feedback. In the session, we agreed that we found this task very useful because you get the opinion from somebody with fresh eyes who sees it from another disciplinary angle which can be very informative.

We have begun the session by reflecting on and drawing out lessons from our research leader interviews. We have been divided into groups to exchange our ideas and then we have shared them in the bigger group. Our group has agreed on the following common points:

  • It is important to follow your personal story and intuition.
  • Read as much as you can - be updated with your field.
  • Take a win-win approach, of mutual benefit, facilitating conditions, and getting inspired by others.
  • Be open-minded: travel the world, experience different cultures and ways of thinking, and have an interdisciplinary mindset.
  • Build a team.

Next, we had an interesting follow-up discussion about planning vs randomness/serendipity. We reached a consensus that it is as important to plan as to be open to seeing opportunities. This has been a nice way of wrapping up the theme of research leadership and moving on to grant capture strategy. We have also talked in smaller groups about what research leader we are or want to be looking at what we are good at and what are our gaps.

For the second block of the session, we have first discussed keeping our eyes open for new possibilities. For example, a new UK policy statement has been launched named Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA). We have then worked in smaller groups to discuss what is our strategy over the next 3 to 5 years to scale up our grant submissions. In the group, we have talked about not failing as a signal that you are not trying hard enough. We have also mentioned that a good strategy seems to be starting with smaller grants and increasingly attempting for bigger grants. There are still some external factors that are out of our hands: for example, the reviewers of your grants. Overall we seem to have plans and think the long run is useful.

We finalised the session with a quick round of discussion of what we are going to present at the next FRL session, which is about pitching a research network or collaborative project.