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Spie Press Book

Grant Writing from the Ground Up
Author(s): Damon W. Diehl
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Book Description

A career in science relies on developing the skill to convince strangers to give you enormous sums of money.

So why do so many scientists write terrible research proposals?

Grant Writing from the Ground Up presents a step-by-step process to construct compelling grant proposals that rise to the top of a reviewer's stack.

“This book, without a doubt, will be a must-have for early-career researchers and for more experienced ones. I’ve attended quite a number of grant writing workshops and webinars; this book answers all of the critical questions in the most clear and straightforward fashion. Being a bit egoistical, I hope that my immediate ‘competitors’ will miss on this brilliant work, so I’ll have enormously larger chances to be funded.”
Ilia L. Rasskazov, The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester

Book Details

Date Published: 11 October 2021
Pages: 110
ISBN: 9781510647169
Volume: PM345

Table of Contents
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Map of Contents

1 Why Should You Read This Book?

2 Finding What Fuels You

3 Identifying Stakeholders

4 What Are Your Resources?

5 Finding Funding

6 Dissecting a Grant Solicitation

7 Call the Research Sponsor

8 Before Your Start Writing

9 Building a Scaffold

10 Choosing Your Approach

11 Intermission

12 Defining Objectives

13 What Do You Need?

14 Creating a Project Plan

15 Costs and Justifications

16 Letters of Support

17 Refining the Scope

18 Answers and Questions

19 Illustrations

20 The Rough Draft

21 The Revision Process

22 Submission

23 Keep Going

24 Conclusion

Appendix: What to Do When You Lose


Why Should You Read This Book? (abridged)

Every epic project known to humanity, from Stonehenge to CERN, has begun as a research proposal. You simply cannot have a scientific career without developing the skills to convince strangers to give you enormous sums of money. It was an extraordinarily convincing druid who proposed, "I would like to study the solstice, and all I need is for you guys to drag dozens of enormous boulders hundreds of kilometers without using wheels."

The problem is that smart people (and specifically smart people just out of graduate school) frequently write terrible research proposals.


Because a research proposal is not a lab report, and a grant is not a grade!

This book presents a step-by-step process for constructing compelling grant proposals. It is a workbook, so do the work—even if it sometimes seems a bit ridiculous. The only way to get all of your best ideas on the table is to dump everything out of your head and sort through the mess.

One final thing.

This is not really a "writing" book. (A grant proposal is not an essay contest.) My process of constructing grant proposals will definitely make you a better writer, but my goal is to help you win a Nobel Prize for scientific research, not literature.

Damon W. Diehl
September 2021

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