Developing major research bids requires a touch of magic, says Funding Insight columnist Adam Golberg. Just make sure it’s not the dark art of necromancy.
A funder issues a major call for applications. It offers large sums of money to address major research challenges and requires an integrated interdisciplinary approach. It is likely that there are other requirements such as partnerships with developing countries, co-investigators in specific countries, stakeholder participation, co-funding, and skills and capacity development.
Research development staff scramble to assess their university’s capacity to respond to the call. Academics dust off old ideas and work out how they can crowbar them in, or explore new agendas. Someone will utter the fateful words: “We ought to be responding to this.” Hopefully, that someone has detailed knowledge of their institution’s strengths in this area, although sometimes that level of confidence is in inverse proportion to knowledge of the subject area.