Get feedback →   Presenting your work to colleagues orally, formally, or informally reveals gaps. Receive suggestions and re-write.

Don’t promise something you can’t deliver, “find the cure for HIV/AIDS for 25.000USD”: no!

Re-read the guidelines.

Think like a reviewer

The reviewer will:

  • Read first your summary and/or scientific abstract (and will be delighted if this is clear, concise, complete and accurate)
  • Look for the rationale and justification for all aspects of the study to be provided in the application (without needing to assume it or have prior knowledge)
  • Carefully compare your aims with the work you are proposing
  • Have in mind the remit of the funding stream
  • Think in terms of ‘fixable faults’ and ‘fatal flaws’

Grant proposal review criteria

OVERALL IMPACT → reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of your proposal’s powerful influence on the research field involved, in consideration of the following five core review criteria:

Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Investigator: are the PIs, collaborators and other researchers well suited to the project? Do they have the appropriate experience and training? Have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? Do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise? Are their leadership approach, governance, and organizational structure appropriate for the project?

Innovation: Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions proposed?

Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies and benchmarks for success presented? If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for protection of human subjects from research risks justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Environment: will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment, and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?


  1. Illegible proposal
  2. Not persuasive
  3. Untidy presentation or many spelling mistakes: formatting is important!
  4. Unclear or vague
  5. Lack of planning
  6. Budget problems
  7. Omission of supplemental materials
  8. Weak recommendations
  9. Lack of compliance with deadline
  10. Unrealistic start date.
  11. Pleading poverty or emotional appeals.
  12. Unfollowed guidelines: you should respect the page limitations, method of submission, section order, paper size, page margin.

funding process

Did not receive funding

The most common outcome is to be rejected, it is part of the learning process.

Please ask the reviewers for feedback, as to why it was rejected. And use that to modify your proposal and send it again. Sometimes you must send the proposal on several occasions or to different agencies.

Received funding


But be aware that the work is just beginning, be attentive to reporting requirements. Most agencies do not send additional funds until your midterm report is received.