Thursday, February 02, 2017

Ten Reasons Why Your Grant Proposal May Suck

Dear Scientist,

Thank you for your application to the Victor von Frankenstein Grant and Residency for the Advancement of Science.  We had an overwhelming number of applications this year.  Out of the many competitive applications that we received, yours unfortunately was not among those selected for further consideration at this time.

Many applicants fail to advance in the award process because of common pitfalls.  Be sure to review the following list:

  • We consider only those grant proposals in which some aspect of realistic science or technology plays an integral part. 
  • Your proposal isn't quite right for our labs.  When submitting applications for grants and residencies, it's always a good idea to take a look at the work we do.  (Hint:  Super-string theory is so late 1990's.)
  • The main idea in your proposal was featured in last month's edition of Scientific American.
  • We're much more likely to accept a lusty rocket proposal if you are an actual, lusty rocket scientist.
  • We've already accepted a grant proposal just like yours.  Only it wasn't yours.
  • Some topics have been so overworked that it’s virtually impossible to wring new research from them.  Does the world really need another genetically modified guard shark with a death ray?  Or talking cats?  Or a mutant virus that turns victims into shambling heaps of flesh?  Don't get us started on dirigibles.
  • We're looking for fresh young researchers who will push the accepted boundaries of research and science.  
  • We're looking for established researchers who will give our residency program a sense of gravitas.  
  • Your proposal is about research scientists researching research scientists.
  • Your past proposals have prompted us to program our submissions software with a filter for your e-mail address so that we can automatically send you this message after a period of time maximized to coincide with the closure of the reading periods of other grant programs.  It also saves your abstract for our holiday joke reading.  

Alas, the volume of grant applications prevents us from providing detailed responses on an individual basis.  You are welcome to guess which reason(s), if any, apply.

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