Review: Grant Writer’s Handbook

Writing for an audience that includes young scientists/researchers plus those who are established and experienced, authors Crawley and O’Sullivan do a good job of providing useful information.Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 8.18.01 AM

Not only is the information useful, but it appears in an easy to read format even including humor in the form of cartoons. Is a cartoon showing Sir Isaac Newton struggling with the the economic impact section of his gravity proposal (page 116) funny?  The audience will say yes I think, as did I.

Scientists, teachers, grant writers, university personnel, and teachers should find something of interest here. The topics range from developing ideas to drafting proposals to budgets to how to deal with reviewer comments to managing the proposal once you receive it. The authors have experience writing and reviewing proposals plus they conducted interviews with an impressive list of colleagues. In one location the book collects insights and tips from their experience and the experience of those they interviewed.

Responding to reviewer comments appears as an important topic in the book. Do not start your response with “Dear Idiots” as shown in the cartoon on page 163. What you should do appears on page 166 and includes:

  • Allow time to let your disappointment subside
  • Treat reviewer comments as an opportunity for improvement

You should not resubmit the same material without revising it based on reviewer comments.

Grants for instrumentation, travel, international cooperation, education, and knowledge transfer are specialized ways you could advance your research. The authors recommend you consider these as well as the primary grants you write.

Setting up a competition is yet another topic covered in this book. Conflict of interest should be a concern when deciding who reviewers should be for the competition. Panel reviewers can be a good way to go. If you cannot afford to bring reviewers together a desktop review can be the best option.

You should also be aware that groups such as NIH and NSF provide guides on how to write proposals.

The Grant Writer’s Handbook: How to Write a Research Proposal and Succeed by Gerard M Crawley (Author), Eoin O’Sullivan (Author) Paperback 252 pages Publisher: Imperial College Press (November 28, 2015) ISBN-10: 1783267593

By Jeanette Evans

Note to readers:  A version of this review is scheduled to appear in Technical Communication.