Grant Application Process Overview
by Libbie Freed, UW PhD 2006
- Overall support of your graduate studies: (NSF, University,
Mellon, Jacob Javits fellowships; T.A. and P.A. ships, etc.). Its
worth keeping in mind that though finding funding that looks good on
your c.v. might be ideal, sometimes paying the bills is also good.
- Pre-dissertation research: (Scott Kloeck-Jensen, Dibner, etc.)
- Dissertation research: (NSF, University, Fulbright, area-specific
- Dissertation writing: when you put it all together.
Things to do Ahead of Time and in General:
- Think about your topic: To get dissertation research funding,
you often need to have a fairly well-developed topic a year ahead of
time. This includes not only having at least a basic grasp of the relevant
historiography but also knowing what sources youll use, where
they are, how long itll take to do the research, and how much
itll cost. To avoid the 5th-year doldrums, start thinking about
your project as soon as you can.
- Develop your resume: teaching experience, conference or workshop
participation, publications, and other professional experience (languages,
technical skills) can all make you a more attractive grant candidate.
- Cultivate potential references: no one can write you a glowing
reference if they dont know who you are, what youre interested
in, or the quality of your work. Take classes, and talk to people.
- If possible, go on a preliminary "fishing"
trip to the relevant archives/etc. before you write major
grant proposals. That way, you can speak intelligently about why you need money to
spend more time there.
- Have transcripts and other relevant documents on hand, so you
dont have to scramble at the last minute. Getting a copy of your
U-W graduate transcript is fairly fast & easy (rm. 123, Peterson
Bldg. during business hours); but you may want to keep a copy of your
undergraduate transcripts, other grad school transcripts, GRE scores,
and (for a few grants) your high-school diploma on hand.
- Know what signatures will be required.
- Compose your c.v. and keep it updated. Ask faculty/other students
what an academic c.v. should look like.
How to Start Looking:
- The Grants Information Collection at Memorial Library is a great
place to start. They offer workshops, and paper and online resources for
finding funding. Located on 2nd floor Memorial (by the reference desk),
or on the web at:
- For international funding, check out the International Fellowships Office of the U-W International Institute, 328 Ingraham Hall or online at:
- Ask people: faculty, other graduate students (especially advanced
students), and so on. Go with your interests and skills: ask about funding
for people with your geographical, topical, and chronological interests,
as well as your background and skills. (examples: minorities, women,
Eastern Europe, etc.)
- Newsletters and Webpages often have grants/fellowships news:
HSS, SHOT, and the dept. bulletin board.
Tips on Applying:
- Keep an eye out for which grants you may want to apply for;
talk to people whove applied before, find out when the deadlines
are, and (if possible) look at some successful applications.
- Apply for every grant/fellowship you can. Really. Even if the
application requires a lot of time/effort, the potential payoff is usually
well worth the invested time.
- Start early if you can. Read through the application guidelines
so you know exactly what you need to do.
- Get feedback on your draft.
- Read the "Writing a Successful Grant Application" essay by Dave Lindberg.
- Know the audience/panel that will read your proposal. Is it
a local panel?