Tips on building a successful CBR application
In February 2022, CIHR and III hosted a webinar with information on how to apply for CIHR funding opportunities for community-based research (CBR) on HIV/AIDS and STBBI. Part of the webinar included past CBR Chairs and reviewers, and past CBR grantees who were asked to share some insights and tips on building and submitting a successful funding application.
We’ve highlighted some of those tips and suggestions to support your application process.
- Are you unsure on how to lay out your proposal?
- Use the evaluation criteria as your headers to walk the reviewers through your proposal easily.
- Complete all sections listed in the funding opportunity and address criteria explicitly rather than assuming the reviewer will know what you mean.
- Are you writing your proposal clearly and free of jargon?
- Writing understandable content so that your intent and rationale is clear to the reviewers is one recommended approach.
- Is all of the critical information in the body of your proposal?
- Don’t bury information that is required for someone to understand the work or the feasibility of the work (e.g., research timeline) in appendices.
- That said, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the optional sections to provide reviewers more information such as specific details that enhance understanding.
- If you are re-submitting your application, include responses to reviewers in a clear manner and outline how the application has improved in response to the input (e.g. Use the comments and questions as sub-headings and as space permits address each comment directly, etc.)
- What question are your trying to answer with your research?
- In your proposal don’t forget to frame that question, highlight the methods you will use, and highlight who you are bringing together to work on this.
- Are your partnerships authentic and meaningful?
- Where community members are not leading the work, demonstrating that community partners are fully involved in developing the research methods/question is key.
- Describe in detail the community engagement.
- Have you included letters of support from community partners?
- Are they involved in the research?
- Remember your CBR principles!
- Be explicit about how you are working together, how you will meet community needs, and what impacts will result from the research.
- Are mentorships part of your proposal?
- Mentoring relationships are a crucial part of CBR.
- Does your team have the right balance of experience, expertise, and representation?
- If so, are they included as principal investigators or co-investigators?
- Reviewers look at the CVs to see if the team has the right complement.
- Does your methodology address your research question?
- Could you pass this to someone and have them replicate the study?
- Make sure you have a strong scientific methodology.
- Does your budget align with to your proposal?
- For example, ensure you have allocated funds for community-based activities (hospitality costs for events, renumeration for community members) knowledge mobilization, etc.
- Become familiar with ResearchNet ahead of time and add your information as you go along – don’t wait until the last minute!
- Entering the budget is time consuming – leave plenty of time for this.
- Save frequently! ResearchNet will boot you out of the system after a period of inactivity (this tip is brought to you by CIHR).
Our guests also shared some final important insights for applicants to consider:
- Don’t get discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
- If you are interested in reviewing applications, CIHR is always looking for reviewers. It is a good way to see what’s on the other side of the grant application process.
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