Grantsmanship In Health Care and Nursing

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Care and Grantsmanship

Grantsmanship In Health Care and Nursing

What Is Grantsmanship,Job of Grant Writer,Good Grant Writing,Qualities of Grantsmanship,Nature of Grant Proposal.

What Is Grantsmanship

    Grantsmanship is the knowledge and skill needed to prepare a grant application. It is the art behind the science. It cannot make bad science fundable, but poor grantsmanship can keep good science from receiving the favorable review needed for funding. 

    Although good science is a necessary prerequisite for success in obtaining funding, good grant writing is what makes the good science shine. Indeed, many characterize good grantsmanship as a type of salesmanship.

Job of Grant Writer

    Everything a grant writer does to make the grant reviewer's job easier is part of good grantsmanship. The grant writer wants to impress the reviewer with the soundness, importance, and perhaps even the creativity of the science of the proposal. 

    At the same time, the grant writer must stimulate an excitement that turns the reviewer into an advocate or enthusiastic champion of the proposed project.

    Achieving a balance between generating such enthusiasm and sticking with a some what rigid formula in the actual writing is an artful enterprise. Grant writing itself is not particularly creative. Rather, grant writing can be viewed as a type of formula writing. Good basic writing skills are essential. 

    The grant writer must methodically walk the reader or reviewer through a well-constructed logical argument. The reviewer should have no question about where the grant writer is going. Moreover, a good grant writer anticipates the reviewer's questions and answers them before the question is raised.

Good Grant Writing

    Repetition of important content is a key aspect of good grant writing. An important point is worth repeating to ensure that a reviewer does not miss it. Repetition is also essential in the choice of words for key concepts. 

    Once a concept is named and defined, the grant writer should stick with the identified word, term, or phrase. Altering a phrase or using alternative terms in order to provide some variety only serves to confuse a reviewer trying to follow the specific ideas presented.

Qualities of Grantsmanship

    Good grantsmanship also requires the ability to handle criticism. Many more grants are written and submitted than are actually funded. Therefore, a good grant writer will sack multiple reviews from colleagues before actually submitting a grant to the funding agency. 

    It is wise to seek reviewers for a variety of purposes. Some should be familiar with the content area of the grant application to identify any important errors or gaps in content. 

    Others should be unfamiliar with the specific content area to protect against assumed knowledge by insiders and to determine if the grant is written in a manner that convinces a knowledgeable but otherwise uninformed reviewer about the worthiness of the proposed project. 

    Still others may be used for things such as grammar, editing, and typographical errors not found by computer spell-checks. The ability to handle criticism is needed to request and receive a brutal review and to respond to all concerns and criticisms without defensiveness.     

It is far better to acknowledge the concern from a colleague and be able to review the grant application accordingly than to have the very same concern raised in the official review and result in a poor evaluation and no funding.

Nature of Grant Proposal

    Although the specific proposal is the heart of the grant, grantsmanship involves much more than just writing the actual proposal. Good grant writers understand other aspects as well. For example, a cardinal rule is to follow the directions. 

    It seems simple enough, but it is surprising how many would-be grants writers neglect to read carefully all instructions for a particular grant application and to follow them faithfully.

Guidelines and Elements

    Most grant applications come with specific guidelines about such things as eligibility to apply, budget limits, allowable costs, page limits, margins, font sizes, section sequencing, the type of content expected, the number of references allowed, what may go into appendices ( if allowed), who must sign where and what, and so on. 

    It is imperative that the grant writer adhere to all the identified specifications. Some funding agencies will return grants unreviewed if the directions are not followed. Not following directions raises questions about the careful attention to detail needed to carry out most projects and thus may reflect poorly on the applicant.

    Another basic element of good grantsmanship is to know and understand the goals and mission of the particular funding agency to which one plans to submit the grant. For example, each institute in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a specific mandate to fund certain types of research. 

    Furthermore, each institute generally sets priorities identifying specific areas in which they are seeking proposals. Prior to writing a grant, one should investigate and determine which funding agency would be the best match for the intended project. The grant writer should specifically address the stated priorities and goals of the funding agency or foundation for support of the proposed project. 

    This is particularly true for foundation grants. A helpful strategy when making these arguments is to use the exact language of the program announcement or the foundation's mission statement. It is rarely in the grant writer's best interest to try to convince a foundation or other funding entity of a worthwhile project not clearly within its mandate.

    There are a number of references to assist a grant writer. One particularly useful book is the Grant Application Writer's Handbook by Liane Reif -Lehrer (1995). In addition to general information about writing and applying for grants, it contains extensive information about the grant programs of the NIH. 

    Over half of the volume is devoted to appendices, with useful resources, references, and information about the NIH, the National Science Foundation, and applying to foundations. Although some of the specific information quickly becomes dated, much remains valuable and timeless. 

    The NIH also publishes a volume titled Helpful Hints on Preparing a Research Grant Application to the National Institutes of Health that contains several useful and informative articles and presentations. It is available free of charge from the NIH website.


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