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Tips towards securing research funding

Research teams depend on funding in order to be able to carry out their study and arrive at meaningful results. ITI Research Committee member Steve Eckert gives a couple of practical tips on how to optimize your chances.

What is the hardest thing to do when thinking about a research project?

I think most people would say that the hardest part is writing the protocol, and by this I think that they would be relating concerns to the development of a ‘materials and methods’. Indeed, it is easy to understand how critical the overall protocol is but I think it is more likely that the very first impression, obtained through the title, is the more critical concern. If a study has the wrong title, it could result in a less effective reading of the study – poor reading translates into smaller research budgets.

Why is the research study title so important?

The title of a proposed research article provides the reader/reviewer with an understanding of the subject and it demonstrates the commitment that the investigative team has to the study.

It is critical to make a favorable first impression; this is what the title does. This is the first contact between the research team and the research funding group and it is the first and only time that the investigators can put their idea out for assessment by the funding team. An unambiguous title that clearly and concisely conveys the research that is to be performed goes a long way towards capturing the attention of the funding group by providing a cogent reason why the research should be performed. It will also provide an opening view of the research question that the study should answer. So, if a study has the wrong title, it could result in a less effective reading of the study – poor reading translates into smaller research budgets.

Meeting funding criteria and more

The other thing that I think is absolutely critical is for the potential investigatory team to demonstrate an ability to follow the preparation guidelines provided by the funding group. Relative to the study itself, it is essential that the study identify all the factors that should be followed. There must be appropriate sample sizes and clear sample size calculation. The research team is important in that their previous experiences are likely to create a foundation for future investigation. A coordinated team will demonstrate the ability to collaborate in an effective way.