Whether you’re a scientist, university, or company, you often rely on grants for your future research and innovation projects. So, it’s very useful to incorporate future grant options in your long-term (career) development plan. But how do you determine which grant program is right for you at a certain moment in time? And how long do you have to look ahead to be able to flexibly plan your grant applications next to your busy everyday schedule?
Types of grants
Grant programs come in different flavours. From small, personal, or research group-centered projects to large international multi-disciplinary public-private collaborations and everything in between. Some grant schemes focus on a very specific topic, others are open-topic, or focus specifically on career development, product development, or societal impact. Each of these flavours have their own benefits and challenges. It may, for example, seem very appealing to you to extend your network and participate in a large, international consortium, but this is very time-consuming and might not bring you a lot of revenue. Conversely, a small grant may mean you can extend your research group or company, but these grants are often very competitive and only give you a few years’ worth of additional research time.
You can determine your research strategy in multiple ways. Of course, this is defined by your own interests, but it can also be driven by current or future collaborations, research lines within your company or university, or current societal events. Funding agencies also tend to follow certain scientific trends, so it’s a good bet to keep track of the literature and extract such emerging trends. Moreover, many big companies and universities lobby at funding agencies to make sure their research interests are reflected in the upcoming calls, so you can also find out current trends by approaching these people.
Look at your goals and the goals of the grant scheme
What empowers you as a researcher or company? Do you follow one research line or do you rather freewheel across themes and disciplines? Do you enjoy novel collaborations or rather continue existing ones? Grant programs have different features in terms of applicability, collaboration, and long-term goals, and are always driven by a certain agenda. Closely reading the history of a grant scheme in combination with a current call can really help you to determine whether it is suited for you and your research.
Career stage is a very important factor as well. Established full professors are not eligible for early-career personal grants and leading a large international consortium is not advisable when you are a young researcher or starting SME. Stepping in at the right time requires keeping track of (recurring) grant schemes for several different funding bodies, which can be time consuming next to your other activities.
Personalized Grant Plan for you?
Want to know more about your grant options? Feel the need to plan ahead more and anticipate future grant options? We can help you by detailing a personalized grant plan and alert you whenever an interesting new grant option comes along.
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