Researchers and grant writers are frequently cautioned to make sure they have enough time available to craft a well written application in order to maximize their chances for funding. I am often asked,
How much time do I really need to write a grant?
The answer depends on many variables. Fortunately, NIH provides a comprehensive resource for strategic planning to secure funding. Even if you are seeking non-NIH funding, the steps outlined and time management information provided about qualifying for funding, designing a project, writing the application, submitting the application, what to do if not funded, and how to manage a grant to retain your funding are worth review. Remember that good organization and planning ensure a competitive edge and will allow you to produce your best work.
Keep in mind that NIH (per the information gleaned from their website) notes that successful applicants:
- Set internal deadlines and work together with individuals in their organization to meet them. I encourage you to speak with your Grants Office early in the process. The Grants Office can assist you in developing your budget as well as developing other required components of your application.
- Determine what type of application works best for research (e.g., training, basic, translational) to be funded.
- Are realistic about the time it will take to complete each aspect of the application process and plan accordingly. I encourage you to consider the additional time required when you include collaborators or subcontracts in your project.
- Develop a realistic timeline that includes draft application deadlines and allow enough time to meet them. I encourage you to be mindful of holidays and office closures when developing your timeline. In addition, remember that electronic portals and equipment can fail. Add in some time for potential technical difficulties when creating your timelines for application submissions.
To assist you in developing the recommended timelines, NIH provides resources at Strategy for NIH Funding for all phases of funding. I’ve provided their timelines (SOURCE: NIH NIAID) below for your quick reference. Details are provided via the links included for each part.
You may also want to review how submission cycles affect the timing of funding at Timing Factors That Affect Your Application and Award.
Planning Timeline: For details on the action items shown, see Understand Timing.
Writing Timeline: For details on the action items shown, see Understand Timing.
Submission Timeline: For details on the action items shown, see Understand Timing.
Assignment and Review Timeline: For details on the action items shown, see Understand Timing.
Resubmission Timeline: For details on the action items shown, see Understand Timing.
Funding Timelines: This part has three timelines: funding decisions, renewal, and staying funded. For details on the action items shown, see Understand Timing.