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UCL Public Engagement Blog



Get that Grant: top tips for funding applications

By ucwetca, on 18 January 2018

This week we hosted our first Public Engagement Network meeting of 2018, our 10th anniversary year. As part of our celebration of this anniversary, we will be hosting Public Engagement Network meetings that broaden the conversation about what public engagement is like at UCL and what your vision is for the future of this work.

This meeting focused on our Beacon Bursary and other internal UCL funding schemes. ‘Get that Grant’ featured head of the Beacon Bursary panel Laura Cream, Bursary awardee Sara Joiko Mujica, Katherine Welch of Public Policy and myself, lead for funding within the Public Engagement Unit. As a group we discussed our top tips for applying to these funding streams, which included:

  • All of the presenters agreed that clarity of language is of the utmost importance for a funding application. With many of the funding streams you will apply for, the application is the only piece of information the panel can use to make a decision. Do not use impenetrable academic language!
  • The importance of reading the guidance was also discussed, along with ensuring that your application is within the remit of the scheme you’re looking at. We reflected that we occasionally receive applications that have clearly been copied from other schemes. Laura highlighted that it’s easy to spot this, so make sure you articulate your project appropriately for each scheme!
  • Sara discussed many of the key lessons she learned from the Beacon Bursary procedure, and it was particularly striking how starting from the need of her public group (migrant parents), and highlighting this need in the application further helped her argument for why the project was important.
  • Projects that had existing relationships or groups identified beforehand, tended to be more successful. Using intermediaries like charity or voluntary groups to reach out also allows funding panels to see that you’ve done some practical preparatory work for your project. Have a partner in place or a good sense of who that partner is, and make sure you tell us about that in the application.
  • Katherine emphasised the importance being realistic in your application, both in terms of time and money that you are requesting. It’s important to take risks and be experimental when appropriate, but ground this in realistic expectations and plans.
  • Finally, we all agreed that speaking to someone within the relevant team about your application, and doing so early, can massively help your application.

Funding is a cornerstone of our work, and it creates opportunities for UCL staff and students to make a change to their work, and a change to public, community and patient groups. We were delighted to have this opportunity to discuss potential applications and approaches, as part of the Public Engagement Network.

Please ensure you read our guidance and application forms for Public Engagement Funding. Funding is also available through Grand Challenges, Public Policy, Global Engagement, and Knowledge Exchange and Information. The Patient and Public Involvement bursary scheme is also now open.

UCL Public Engagement Network sessions bring together all kinds of people who are interested in public engagement: whether you’re an old hand or a complete novice please bring your experience and questions to what we hope will be lively, thought-provoking and participatory sessions.

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