When writing proposals, it’s important to inform the reviewers what impact your project will have on your field of study. For competitions where reviewers are within your field, it may be easier to explain to them how your innovative ideas differ from the current literature. However, funding competitions often use reviewers who are not experts in your field. To ensure that they understand your project, use the following tips as you write your proposal:
- Introduction: In the first paragraph, directly address the significance that your project will have on your field and provide reasoning/examples as to why this is the case
- Literature review: Explain the most important work relevant to your project and distinguish how your work advances or differs from this literature
- Project Design/Description: Use lay language and reduce technical jargon when describing hypotheses, methods, and prospective results; ensure that you spell out all acronyms.
- Timeline and Conclusion: Provide detailed information in your timeline to address any questions of feasibility non-expert reviewers may have; reiterate the “big picture” ideas of your project and talk about how you will report your work, whether through journal articles, book manuscripts, etc.
Whenever you are writing a proposal, it’s also important to solicit feedback from multiple sources. While your advisor can give you an expert’s point of view, utilize peers and GradFund to provide feedback as non-experts.