Review “Murder Most Foul: How Not to Kill a Grant Application By Vid Mohan-Ram”

“People who write usually do not know the facts and people who know the facts usually cannot write” (Miss Fromsett). This sentence is a metaphor for most of the scientist because most of them failed to get funding for their research. Scientist, the one who “know that fact but they have trouble writing and selling their ideas” (Ram, 2000).

Struggling with research funding and/or grant application is a familiar topic nowadays. Many people attending a seminar, a workshop and other talk about how to get a research grant. I have participated in a workshop about “scientific writing” by Indonesian Student Association in Wageningen (PPI-W), how to write a popular scientific writing. Diah, the speaker, said that “to write is playing a conundrum,” we have to think how to solve the problem. Not too easy but also not impossible thing to be done.

Grant can be explained in different terms. Ram explained that research grants are an umbrella for the scientist to compete for their career and existence. However, not every applicant have a change to be “the one”. This is because many candidates made mistakes by “overambitious research plan, incoherent, or too diffuse”  (Ram, 2000). If it is reflected the possibility between research grant hunter and the availability of financial support, there is a big gap. This gap due to the different age, career path, experience and hindsight which mean that newbie of research grant hunter have to be prepared earlier to compete with another researcher.

As the result, numerous of the applicant (mostly newbie) cannot or fail to have a grant. Beside they have minim experience also this problem due to the applicant cannot explain or discuss “the potential obstacles will be dealt with and cannot explain why the studies are being done in the first place” (Ram, 2000). Some of the researcher too shy to put another research to validate their ideas event though this is also a good start to convince reviewer by supporting research and literature.

Also, to be selected in research grant, Cheryl New, a president of Polaris, a grant consulting firm said that “be clear, be organized, be detailed, avoid jargon-say what you mean in clear and simple language.” Also, she recommends “give enough detail that a reader can see clearly how you intent to go about your research.”

“Project titles: the sweet smell of success” (Ram, 2000).
People often think that the title has no pre-eminent important, I ensure you that this is a 100% terrible ideas. The tittle is the first impression of a grant application. The title should be the whole ideas that in shortly explain and inform the readers to have an insight and understand what is the project about. “Project titles should be clever but not cutesy (New and Quick), stimulate thoughts and sound sexy (Klaus Nüsslein)” in Ram, 2000.

If you are interested to read the full version of this article, kindly check on sciecemag. Ram also mentioned that in this article to be continued…

Thank you

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