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Assessment Tool

Grant Readiness Self-Assessment

Reviewing Your Idea

  1. Is your research agenda in an area about which you are passionate and would enthusiastically spend the next three to five years?
  2. Is your research agenda sufficiently distinct from that of your graduate advisor to enable you to establish an independent career?
  3. Is your research area or project in an exciting, vigorous, high-impact area of scholarship (rather than an area that has already been well-researched, where most progress is incremental?

Determining Fit

  1. Do you know your department’s expectations regarding external research funding?
  2. Does your project advance the funding agency’s goals? Is your project right for the funding program?
  3. Have you researched the funding agency for which you are preparing the proposal?
  4. Have you reviewed the strategic investment plans, research roadmaps, reports and workshop results of the agencies you are targeting for funding?
  5. Have you obtained and analyzed background information on the target funding agency to determine whether or not the research idea is a good match for the agency?

Research Positioning

  1. Has the funding agency already funded a research project that is identical or very similar to the project you are proposing?
  2. Is your research agenda in an area that is currently funded by government agencies or private foundations, or is it likely to be funded soon?
  3. Have you determined which projects an agency has funded at comparable institutions?
  4. Have you contacted principal investigators of funded projects of funded proposals to (a) discuss their project and proposal strategies and (b) request copies of their proposals and reviewers’ comments?
  5. Have you identified and contacted the agency’s program officer to discuss the research idea?
  6. Have you discussed your idea with colleagues who have been successful in obtaining funding from the target agency or who have served on review panels?
  7. Do you know what other scholars are doing in your field and can you address how your work complements or differs from theirs?
  8. Is your project a tight fit with your institution’s priorities?

Assess Your Resources and Institutional Support

  1. Have you identified resources at your institution to help you develop a competitive proposal?
  2. Do you have access to institutional data on research environment, infrastructure, facilities, alumni, student demographics and achievement, etc.?
  3. Do you have the resources required to conduct the proposed project (i.e., physical infrastructure, equipment, facilities, start-up funds, consultants, research environment, administrative, fiscal and managerial support, etc.?)

Principal Investigator Qualifications

  1. Do you have the necessary education, qualifications, training, expertise and resources to carry out the proposed project as an independent researcher?
  2. Are you up to date on the existing scholarship in your area?
  3. Do the quality and quantity of your preliminary data indicate that the proposed project is likely to be successful?
  4. Do you have a strong publication record that supports your chosen research area or in a closely related area? Have you published in the last five years?
  5. Do you maintain active connections to scholarly communities beyond your home institution?
  6. Have you attended/presented at national conferences?
  7. Have you served on a grant review panel or a journal editorial board?

Colleagues and Connections

  1. Do you have connections with neighboring community colleges, high schools, local industry, local museums, research labs, R1 institutions if yours is not, underserved populations that could be involved in your proposed project?
  2. Do you have connections to your former graduate advisor, postdoctoral advisor, or colleagues who could contribute technical expertise to your project?
  3. Have you developed a network of reputable contacts in your field who can serve as references and/or suggested reviewers?
  4. Have you introduced yourself to researchers outside of your own institution in your field who are well funded?
Last Updated: 3/6/17