Helping researchers make their best funding applications

Jackie Senior, the Netherlands

Research funding is major international business and applications need to be submitted in clear, concise English to have the best chance of being awarded. Only 5 per cent of applications to many funding calls are successful, so editors or writers need to know what works best in this specific type of text. Applications will often require substantive editing and pointers on formatting.

An editor can ensure that a funding application answers these basic questions clearly: Why should this work be done? What are the direct or indirect deliverables? How will it be performed? Why do it now? Why should this particular applicant be awarded funds? Researchers often provide too much scientific detail and may omit an overview of their field or a socio-economic motivation for their project (valorisation). The research project must be described in a way that can be understood by a multidisciplinary assessment committee. Funding applications differ from research papers or reports in that researchers have to sell themselves as well as their ideas – and many find this difference challenging. An editor can help them to present their research papers, curricula vitae and personal web pages most effectively. I will also look at several categories of funding, including those to individuals and consortiums and those offered by large international bodies or smaller organisations with a very specific purpose. Each type of application needs to meet different content criteria.

Funding awards are important in advancing researchers’ careers, so providing editorial help at this crucial step is an expanding and profitable market for language professionals. And universities are increasingly willing to pay for such help because they, too, gain prestige from top awards.


About the presenter

Jackie Senior

Jackie Senior worked as an editor/translator and webmaster for two international research departments (Department of Genetics, University of Groningen/UMCG and UMC Utrecht) for 24 years. She now works independently, mostly on biomedical and geoscience texts. She started as a geologist at Shell (The Hague), but later worked as an editor for Shell Research (Rijswijk) and for Rabo Securities (an international investment bank). She taught the SENSE/ITV (Hogeschool Tolken en Vertalen, Utrecht) Editing Course for five years. Her editing/translating career spans 45 years. She was a founder member of SENSE in 1990, has served twice on its executive committee, and was appointed an honorary member in 2010.

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