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Writing an Office for Learning and Teaching Grant Kristie Broadhead

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1 Writing an Office for Learning and Teaching Grant Kristie Broadhead

2 Things to consider The assessors will often be reading up to 20 – or even more - applications at once. Keeping in mind that each full proposal is 10 pages – 20 x 10 = 200 pages = a lot of words to take in! Applications that are easy to read and “catchy” will inevitably capture the attention of the assessors. Think of it as a Miss World competition. To be successful you need both substance and style.

3 While the quality of your proposal is what you are ultimately being assessed on, the proposal needs to be presented in a manner that will excite the assessors. Keep it simple. Write your application as if it is going to be read by an educated layperson rather than someone who is an expert in your field. Avoid technical jargon. Keep it punchy. Avoid long, drawn-out sentences. Keep in mind that first impressions really do count! How to make your application stand out

4 How first impressions can make or break Those first few sentences can make all the difference to the way an assessor evaluates your application. The introductory part of your application should draw the assessor in, excite them and make them feel like they’re missing out on something great if they don’t read on. If the first few sentences don’t grab the assessors attention, they’re likely to experience the “eyes glazing over” effect – this could result in your application not receiving the attention and careful reading it deserves.

5 Ways to make your introductory sentences shine Keep it punchy and simple! It is in the introduction, more than anywhere, that long, convoluted sentences should be avoided. Brief anecdotes, quotes and excerpts of stories relating to your project or its background can be a way of giving the introduction a spark and differentiating it from the hundreds of other applications. There is no right or wrong way to write your introduction and everyone has their different techniques – just bear in mind the principles of keeping it simple, punchy and interesting.

6 Eye-grabbing titles The best titles are interesting, short and accurately describe the proposal. Many people find it easier to create a title AFTER they have finished writing an application – something clever and catchy will often spring to mind during or after the writing of the application.

7 Eye-grabbing titles If you come up with an idea of a title that you think is “lame” or “stupid,” jot it down anyway! Often after walking away and then coming back to your application with a fresh mindset, you will find that with a little bit of tweaking your idea will actually translate into a brilliant title.

8 Checking the readability of your application After investing so much time and effort into the writing of your application, you will likely be heavily invested in it and not in a great position to evaluate it objectively. Nothing compares to a fresh set of eyes! Make sure your application is read by AT LEAST one other person who has not been involved in the writing of it. Ideally, get someone to read your application who has no involvement in your line of work. If they find it to be easily understandable and interesting to read, then it’s likely you are on to a winner!

9 Making sure all bases are covered A brilliant title and captivating introduction will count for nothing if it doesn’t cover the areas required by the OLT. Both Seed and full proposals need to cover a set of areas (such as “value and need for the project” and “Approach and dissemination”) – these are listed on both our template and in the OLT guidelines.

10 Feedback on draft applications Give another person a copy of your draft. Identify the specific areas on which you would like feedback. The other person will spend 15 minutes reading your application and then provide feedback. Reverse roles.

11 Feedback could cover Was the title “interesting”? After the first couple of sentences did you want to keep reading? Did the application “excite” you? From what you read, did you feel confident that this was a viable project and one that will be of value to the University sector?

12 Considering the draft Are there signs of collaboration? How will the project make a difference? Are there creative dissemination strategies included? Has it addressed any of the University’s strategic aims? Has project management been addressed?

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