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Preparing Your Grant Application

Where to Begin

It can be difficult to know where to start when navigating the requirements for a new grant. It is prudent to start within your department to ensure that they will support your application. Contact your department head, dean and/or associate dean of research to discuss your plan, and get feedback. If your research plan is not yet ready for major granting organizations, you should also explore the University's internal funding opportunities, which are designed to help lay the foundation of major research projects. You may also be eligible for faculty-specific seed funding programs, matching funds or other awards to support the development of new proposals. Before completing the application, be sure to have well-thought-out objectives and a clear research plan. This will make the process of preparing the grant application to proceed more smoothly.

Once you have your plan outlined, let us help! ORIS frequently hosts information sessions or workshops that will aid in crafting your grant proposal. See upcoming workshops & events by visiting our events and workshop page, or contact your research coordinator.

No one is an expert at everything, so it is important to have sufficient expertise on your research team to demonstrate to the review committee that your team has the necessary capacity to complete the work you propose. Since knowledge mobilization, knowledge translation, and technology transfer are important objectives of many funding programs, it may be prudent to invite collaborators or include letters of support from individuals or organizations who resolve to quickly mobilize new knowledge/technology into practice and/or policy. For example, if your application deals with privacy issues, including a letter of support from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada may demonstrate to the reviewers that activities and outcomes of your research will impact privacy policy.

Every granting agency has slightly different eligibility requirements. Ensure that you review these fully before beginning your application.

The University of Windsor requires all grant applicants to hold adjunct status at a minimum in order to be eligible to apply for grants.

  • Consider the audience, e.g., committee members/reviewers must have enough information to evaluate the significance of your research
  • Originality and contribution to the advancement of knowledge/field of study
  • Quality of the literature review, if applicable
  • Appropriateness of the theoretical approaches/framework
  • Appropriateness of the research strategies/methodologies
  • Suitability of plans to communicate research results
  • The nature, extent and benefit of research training

ORIS routinely offers workshops to help you develop particular grant applications or sections thereof. We also host regular writing retreats during which you can work on your grant proposals (or research-related manuscripts) and receive just-in-time feedback from ORIS consultants! For details, read our monthly e-newsletter or email announcements, follow our social media feeds, or monitor our workshop registration website.

Take advantage of the expertise in ORIS. We get to know the major funding agencies well and can readily interpret their jargon. We can pass on tips that aren’t obvious in the application instructions.  We may have excerpts from successful applications to share. Moreover, we are wordsmiths with skill in grant writing! Meet with us or email us your rough drafts well in advance of the deadlines, and we will offer our suggestions for strengthening your proposal, including its organization, persuasiveness, clarity, and cohesiveness.

We strongly recommend that you have your proposal reviewed by at least one peer in your field or discipline, and consider his or her feedback for your research design. If you are not sure who to ask, reach out to your ORIS contact.


  • Clear and precise objectives
  • Objectives: communicate the link between your project and the sponsor’s goals
  • Clear theoretical framework or conceptual approach
  • Explain and justify methodology (where appropriate), establish a relationship between objectives methodology and budget
  • Define all key terms or concepts
  • Include a complete literature review, if applicable
  • Append a bibliography
  • Ensure that the application follows the sponsor’s guidelines
  • The budget should be appropriate, reasonable and fully justified
  • Always refer to the agency’s guidelines for a list of eligible expenses
  • Expenses must be calculated correctly
  • The budget must be feasible and will support your proposed research
  • Peer-review committees rely on your past record of achievement as a means of predicting future performance
  • Quality and significance of published work or relevant experience
  • Originality and impact of previous research
  • Importance of other scholarly activities (e.g. academic conference presentations)
  • The recentness of output and consistency of output
  • Managing a project of applicable size and scope
  • Training of students or future researchers 
  • Clarity: application is well written, well organized and free of errors
  • Originality: application is challenging, interesting, ambitious yet feasible
  • Importance of research is clear
  • The impact is stated clearly

Many funding agencies now require that you include a statement addressing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in your application for funding. ORIS offers extensive resources on how to develop EDI practice in your lab, both live and on-demand. Your Research Coordinator will assist you in crafting a statement, however please note that ORIS does not offer boilerplate text for EDI statements, as they must reflect the actual practices and goals of your research program.

  • Application is “premature”
  • Project is too ambitious
  • The methodology is inappropriate, or too vague
  • Theoretical rationale is lacking
  • Project is not adequately contextualized
  • Budget is not feasible

We strongly recommend that you have your proposal reviewed by a colleague and consider his/her feedback.

Additional Resources for Preparing Grant Applications