Let’s face it: global health funding – whether it’s academic, government or private – is competitive. There are many more proposals out there than there is money. That can sometimes translate to a competitive research environment where researchers might be hesitant to share their ideas widely before their funding is secured and the project embarks. Other times, researchers are uncertain about their developing ideas and cautious about sharing their plans with colleagues for fear of criticism.
We’d like to convince you to take a different approach: don’t be shy! Share and seek feedback as widely as possible. Our Proposal Development Resource include perspectives from experts around the world and many of them emphasize how important it is to get advice from friends, colleagues and peers before submitting your proposal to the funder.
For example, Melba Gomes from the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at WHO, says in a short video that you should not be shy to seek advice from experts as early as possible in the process of developing your proposal. Gathering feedback from experts in multiple disciplines will help you hone your idea, make it understandable to informed reviewers outside of your specialist area, and will lead to a better, clearer grant proposal.
Aisha Yousafzai from the Aga Khan University in Pakistan says to get as much feedback as possible from colleagues, mentors, fieldworkers and others as early as possible in the process of developing your proposal. You will get a wealth of input coming from a range of people and this will help you sell your grant application to the funder. When you have a draft proposal ready, use these friends or colleagues as a test – if they don’t understand what you are proposing to do, you need to improve your messaging, Aisha says.
If you are looking for like-minded colleagues to share and develop your ideas, consider joining the LinkedIn Global Health Innovation group. Grand Challenges Canada created this group for the specific purpose of connecting global health professionals when preparing global health proposals for us or any other funder.