How to Write a Grant – Part 3 – Main Body and Abstract Preparation

How to Write a Grant Proposal 

Part 3. Preparation of the Main Body and Abstract 

grant writing and preparation

The third part of my “How to Write a Grant” series is writing the main body and abstract of your proposal.  The main body may have alternate names, such as “Research Strategy” (for NIH grants) or “Research Approach.” This section usually requires three components: background/significance, preliminary data, and research plan.

For the background/significance section, during grant preparation, strive to maximally assert the impact of your proposed work. For example, if you are writing a small business innovation research (SBIR) grant application (offered by the U.S. government) on developing a smartphone application to help Alzheimer’s disease (AD) sufferers remember items, underscore the enormous cost of AD around the world. Also, emphasize how costs will continually soar ever higher with our aging society. This section should be about ¼ of the main body of the proposal. A good  research gant-writing service can assist you with this section.

Depending on the type of grant preparation, preliminary data may or may not be required. Whether it is required or not, think carefully about what to include. I have reviewed many grants, not requiring preliminary data, in which its inclusion was actually hurtful. Thus, even if required, limit the amount of data to only what is directly relevant to your proposed work. Many applicants make the mistake of trying to impress reviewers by a sheer barrage of data, even if irrelevant to the anticipated endeavor. This subsection should also be about ¼ of the total body.

The research plan should comprise about 50% of the total main body, and should describe detailed, achievable methods for the fulfillment of each specific aim (please see Part 2 of my “How to Write a Grant” series), and each aim should comprise one complete subsection of the research plan (especially for NIH grants). While your plan might be criticized for being too ambitious, overambition is much better than underambition. During grant preparation, spell out each experiment, or modality, to achieve each specific aim. For example, if you are writing an academic research grant on studying a new chemical for brain cancer treatment, Aim 1 might be to study the effect of the drug on brain cells grown in a dish. For that aim, you should explicitly explain in detail, and justify, how many cells per experiment, the dose and how long you will treat them (and why), how you will manipulate the cells after treatment, etc. For each aim, you should also provide contingency plans (i.e., alternative approaches) and potential pitfalls. A good bioscientific grant-writing service can greatly aid you in this process.  

Lastly, after writing the main body, I recommend going back and writing the abstract (alternatively named “project summary” (for NIH grants), “synopsis,” or simply, “summary”). During grant preparation, completing this section after the main research body will allow you to better summarize your precise ideas, and their relevance to human health.  Again, a good grant-writing service can assist you in writing an effective abstract.  

About the Author