Writing a project proposal is a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process, so how do you maximise your chances of success?
In previous articles I've gathered some of the many JISC resources with advice and tips of success.
The current JISC call for Learning and Teaching Innovation Grants is accompanied by a review of the first two calls by Dr Neil Witt at the University of Plymouth. The success rate for the calls is alarmingly low, in Call 1 just 2 out of 82 proposals were funded and in Call 2 only 2 out of 85. So what has been going wrong ?
Dr Witt analysed the collated marks for the bids and found that the vast majoirty were "out of scope". The criteria for being out of scope are listed below along side the number of bids that failed to compily in brackets.
1. The proposal must not duplicate existing JISC funded work. (Call1: 32%, Call2: 35%)
2. The proposal must not be part of the core institutional remit. (7%, 12%)
3. The proposal must not include the development or purchase
of learning material/learning content. (20%, 21%)
4. The proposal should not include the further development of an existing tool (10%, 6%)
5. The proposal should not include software and equipment purchase (13%, 13%)
6. The proposal must have the support of the lead institution and any partners. (18%, 3%)
7. The proposal must not be a direct resubmission of a previous bid to a JISC funded programme (4%, 2%)
8. Over length (this is an additional issue that will make a proposal Out of Scope)
In the current call the JISC have adapted their documentation to address areas of weakness identified by Dr Witt. Proposers clearly need to set aside significant amounts of time to read the appropriate criteria and ensure that they meet them, so institutional managers clearly need to make space for staff to write bids. My concern is that while academic staff in universities are expected to bid for funding as part of their job, this is not always the case for support staff or staff in further education colleges.
The JISC executive are well aware of these problems and reviews like these as well as bid writing workshops can really help staff write successful proposals.