If your proposal is not funded, notify the Grant/Contract Development Office and immediately write to thank the funding agency panel for reviewing your proposal. Request the reviewers’ comments. Find out what the reviewers felt were weaknesses of the proposal, address those issues and plan to resubmit the proposal at the next deadline or submit the proposal to another program that funds similar projects.

If you have not already done so, this is an excellent time to send your proposal out to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission for external review.

Remember that developing and maintaining a strong relationship with the funding agency’s program representatives can significantly enhance your proposal’s chance. The same applies to proposals submitted to foundations and corporations. Your thank you letter when your proposal is rejected may be what gets you funded next time.

Most funding officials say that the best approach to take is to try again and keep on trying.


Improving Your Chances Next Time

If at first you do not succeed, pick yourself up from the ground, dust yourself off and try again. Most funding agencies are willing to provide you with information about why your proposal was not funded. If they do not automatically provide you with the information about your proposal, ask for it. When you receive the information back, review it carefully. It is a good idea to separate yourself from your proposal just a bit. Do not let your ego get in the way of accepting the review comments for what they are. Granted, you spent a lot of time preparing the application, but remember you are trying to get the proposal funded. Review the comments carefully and determine why the reviewers found the faults they indicated. Make a list of these points and then a list of things to do to correct them.

Transforming a rejected application into a funded proposal may require relatively minor revisions or wholesale revamping. According to National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation officials, many proposals have considerable merit but are unfundable for reasons ranging from lack of funds to lack of program fit. Some proposals are rejected because they do not address funding priorities. At NIH, many applications recommended for funding during initial evaluation by peer reviewers do not get funded the first time around. If an NIH review group finds an application scientifically meritorious but flawed, they often will recommend that the applicant make specific revisions and submit an amended application, which will be reviewed again, usually two cycles later.

The cardinal rule to remember in grant writing is that you will not get funded if you do not try. Do not be discouraged if your first efforts are not successful. Keep trying. Good luck!