How to write a funding proposal?

Do you have any innovative idea?

Pots of Money available for innovative projects, but Caution! No can lay hands  on them without knack for saleable idea

Dr. Shirshendu Mukherjee

Dr. Mukherjee holds Ph.D. in Microbiology, Degree in Law, Advance Course in Strategy Management from IIM Kolkata, Management and Leadership course from Business School University of Oxford. He has devised and formulated strategies for mitigating challenges and bridging gaps through impact funding. Before joining Wellcome Trust as Senior Strategic Advisor (India), Dr.Mukherjee was staff scientist at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB). Dr. Mukherjee manages the R&D for Affordable Healthcare in India, a £30 million initiative of Wellcome Trust in India. The initiative funds translation research leading to affordable healthcare solution in India and beyond.

Parthvee-jain

Parthvee Jain is an engineering graduate with her post-graduation and specialization in Food Processing and Nutraceuticals. Her interest fields include Biotechnology, Healthcare, Food Processing and Nutraceuticals. Connecting European Healthcare innovation leaders with the Indian healthcare system and pioneers, she is working with InnovatioCuris as analytical and result-driven marketing professional having experience impacting organizational performance through expert research, analysis and evaluating market and competitive conditions, current and emerging trends, and industry-specific solutions to ensure optimal position in the marketplace.

It was a crisp winter morning when a motely crowd of innovators assembled quietly in a conference hall of the national capital’s prestigious India International Center to learn craft of presenting their case before government bodies, philanthropists and other agencies for funding.

With a promise to give an encouraging platform to innovators and aspiring Startups, InnovatioCuris had organised the second IC Innovator Club meeting on November 26, 2017.

A medium height simpleton emerged on the scene and occupied center stage of the Sunday morning show, but patient listeners within split of seconds shed off doubts whether spending a precious Sunday morning in such a meet was rewarding or a mere waste.

The club meeting brought some big names of healthcare including PHFI, INMAS (DRDO), Amity University, IIHMR to name a few, under a single roof including experts from investing agencies, Startups, policy makers, academia and many more.

The members quickly envisioned pots of money for their dream projects mainly strategized to fulfill unmet needs of common people and the industry.

One should avoid the following for a positive outcome:

  • Putting two different applications at the same time to same funder.
  • Doubling the funder (two funders for the same proposal).
  • Diverse and varied application should be avoided, instead thematic calls are better.

Glued to a widescreen where slides were scrolled for thumb rules while applying to such bodies for funding, innovators lent ears to Mission Director who at an ease rolled out drill for a successful applicant.

Batting with a straight blade, he minced no words to articulate the harsh reality that there was no scope to dodge funders to siphon money from them on bogus facts and figures. No cutting of corners; no double play with different funders; no concealment of facts; no new sets of facts and figures for same projects with different bodies; and no lobbying were among many during his opening remarks.

Dr. Shirshendu Mukherjee, Mission Director of Program Management Unit, jointly supported by the Department of Bio Technology, Bio Technology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) –BMGF(BILL & MELINDA GATES) Foundation and Wellcome Trust unveiled points which play crucial role in attracting funds from various bodies.

In life of a researcher or innovator one important pillar for the success of his idea is getting the right funding. Innovation is not only about ideas.It’s about making the ideas happen and sometimes difficult to convert a good idea on to a paper.

The agenda of IC Innovator Club’s second meeting was to share the views and knowledge on how to write a research or a grant proposal so that the innovator is successful in bringing his innovation to real world by implementing ideas.

Dr. Mukherjee insisted that art of communication is trick of the trade as in the world of tearing hurry ambience and cut-throat competition no one has time to flip through bulky dossiers.

According to Dr Mukherjee, “Winning a grant is how compelling story (of your idea) you tell”. He said writing a grant application is like narrating a story with once upon a time to a happily lived ever after. By this what he meant was, it is important to narrate the beginning, ending and all the important milestones to the funding agency very clearly and in chronological order with a proper flow of events to take place for the innovation to happen.

Dr. Mukherjee beautifully divided the prospective challenges of innovation broadly under three stages: Discovery, Development and Delivery. Major challenges under the discovery stage being to understand the problem, limited market pull and push in non-commercial indications and lack of local research infrastructure. Under the development stage, he told the major challenge faced by an innovator could be the translation of the idea to the product. Adding to it, lack of local development infrastructure, complex IP and regulatory pathway also contribute to the challenges faced during the development stage of an innovation.

Dr Mukherjee also told “One should keep in mind the unmet need of the market and the funding space available for area of interest”. About the dedicated experts and advisors being appointed in the funding agencies, he advised participants to seek advice on the funding space relevance of their proposal through these experts.

According to the expert, few of the challenges that one can expect during his project/work could be regulatory, IP or IT related, business plan development challenges, challenges in developing business exit plan etc.

Dr. Mukherjee encouraged the participants by saying “A successful proposal is 60% science and rest 40% is the foresightedness” that is how accurately down the line one can see and plan.

Sharing about Program Related investments, Dr. Mukherjee made a bold statement which could make an enormous impact in the applicant’s life. He said, “The applicant should also do due diligence on the funder, it is not only the right of a funder to do due diligence on the applicant, but also the applicant should do due diligence on the funder”. He also discussed few points on how one can perform the above said task, like visiting their respective websites, noticing what they have funded in last two years and others.

Best approach for applying a grant is ‘Two funder approach’. Approach is also a crucial factor in determining the progress of the application says Dr. Mukherjee. Benefit of doubt always rests in court of applicant, meaning if one of the reviewers is in favor the application and rest are not then also the applicant would get a chance to defend his application at first.

Further discussing about the ideas and points to be taken care of while drafting the proposal application, views were discussed on how one can write a comprehensive application with a suitable title and an impactful abstract.

Budgeting is very important in every aspect of life and so is the case while writing a grant application. The budget should be exhaustive and self-explanatory says Dr. Mukherjee. One should be realistic in quoting the budget and should avoid any kind of hidden costs or inflation in costing.

Want to write for InnoHEALTH? send us your article at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: