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The Nahrein Network


Fostering the sustainable development of heritage in post-conflict iraq and its neighbours


Developing Cultural Projects: 10 steps to writing a successful grant proposal

By Nahrein Network, on 2 April 2019

We have developed these guidelines in workshops for potential applicants to our own Research Grants and Visiting Scholars schemes. We hope they are useful for other grant applications too. There is an Arabic version of this document here (بلعربي).

Before you start writing:

1. Choose the right scheme

  • What does the scheme offer?
  • Will it fund the work you want to do?
  • Are you eligible to apply?

Read all the information carefully.

Contact the scheme administrator if you have questions.

2. Read the guidelines

  • When is the deadline?
  • Do you need to provide extra documentation?
  • Do you need to translate anything?

Make a list of all the things you will need to do.

Plan lots of time to do all of this.

3. Ask for help

  • Will you need a referee?
  • Will you need a translator?
  • You should always find somebody to read and check your draft

Ask them politely.

  • Tell them about the deadline
  • Ask them when they will need to see your draft
  • Put all these dates in your diary

When you write:

4. Describe and explain your project

  • What will you do?
  • Why is it necessary?
  • Why is it new?
  • Why is it important?
  • Who will benefit from it?

The answers may be obvious to you, but they will not be obvious to the assessors. Assume they know nothing!

5. Describe yourself, your team, and your partners

  • What makes you qualified to lead this project?
  • What experience do you have?
  • What extra training do you need?
  • Explain why you need each member on the team (if relevant)
  • Explain what your partners will do (if relevant)

6. Show how long your project will take

Think carefully about the different tasks in your project
  • Who will do each one?
  • How long will each task take?
  • Which tasks must be done first?

Make a simple timetable of work.

Some proposals require a separate timetable.

7. Justify the resources your project will need

  • What equipment will you need?
  • What materials will you need?
  • What specialist services will you need?
  • Why does your project need them?
  • What do you already have?

8. Show how much your project will cost

Make a simple budget including:

  • Each team member’s salary
  • Equipment and materials
  • Specialist services
  • Expenses for events, travel,  accommodation, etc.

Some proposals require a separate budget.

9. Describe the expected results of your project

  • What will your project deliver?
  • What difference will it make?
  • How will you know if it is successful?
  • What will be the long-term benefits?
  • Who will benefit from it?

Before you submit:

10. Check everything!

Send a draft to your referee, translator, editor, boss…

  • Ask for their feedback and use it

Re-read the guidelines

  • Make sure you have followed them exactly

Check your spelling and formatting

  • Make sure your proposal looks professional!


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