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Hints on Writing a Successful Grant Application

Tips for Success


Applicants should state 3–5 specific aims and state the hypothesis, where relevant, upfront. Reviewers will be asking themselves the following questions when they read each application:

Research Award:
  • Is the hypothesis clear?
  • Will the hypothesis be tested?
  • Will the experiments be performed and interpreted carefully?
Fellowship Project Award:
  • Is the applicant clear about what they will be doing over the course of the year in terms of their research and clinical program?
  • Is the applicant clear about how the training will improve their skills and abilities when treating patients with retinal diseases?


Applicants should acknowledge competing hypotheses, funding opportunities and time constraints. What are the pitfalls of the approaches proposed?

Attention to Detail

Applicants should carefully check the Letter of Intent (LOI) and Full Proposal for errors, e.g. references not correlating with text, spelling mistakes, etc.

Timelines and Resources

  • Notify your institute's administrators that you are making an application in good time before the application is due.
  • Internal institutional approval is often multi-layered and can be time consuming.
  • Please ensure, before you commence your application, that the Awards Terms and Conditions are acceptable to your institution to save you unnecessary work.

The Budget

  • Ask for the minimum amount of money you need to do the work. If you overestimate the budget, the reviewers are likely to cut it by more than the overestimation.
  • If you are just beginning as an independent investigator, do not ask for the maximum amount. Show the Grants Review and Awards Committee that you can complete a good small project in the first instance.
  • Make certain your application is internally consistent. Your budget must agree with the activities you propose.
  • Justify everything. Do not assume that anything will be obvious to the reviewer.

Advice from the Grants Review and Awards Committee

  •  The rationale and objectives must be clear
  •  Include any supporting / preliminary work that has been completed
  •  The protocol should be detailed and scientifically robust
  •  Include justification of numbers of animals or patients (i.e. sample size calculations)
  •  Describe how your findings will be relevant to the field and discuss what the clinical application could be
  •  Include a detailed breakdown of the budget and costs
  •  Ensure that your project is achievable within the time frame
  •  Be clear and concise
Want to apply for the Global Ophthalmology Awards Program?
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