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filling to word count

December 2, 2021

Carmel Meredew
Proposal Manager

When searching for grant writing tips online, you will likely find an abundance of resources explaining the importance of sticking within the word limits of applications and providing tips and tricks to help you tackle the tight restrictions you may be faced with(see our blogpost “Less is more” for our specialist advice https://bit.ly/3lv9OTo). However, whilst many applicants do struggle to restrict text to within these confines, others can wrestle with the issue of filling up the available space and need just as much support to maximise their text and boost the strength of applications.

As a rule, we encourage all applicants to aim for the maximum word count for applications (these are provided in competition guidelines e.g., Innovate UK SMART grants ask for a maximum of 400words per question). With no defined minimum word count, applicants are free to provide minimal responses, but we believe the strongest applications use much of the space available to convey their project details adequately to the assessor and boost their chances of success. In a similar fashion, compelling applications tend to make full and effective use of the available appendices. These offer a hugely useful resource to present your project to the reader through text, tables, images, and diagrams. Think, advanced technical specifications, impressive biographies detailing the “who’s who” in your project team and company, visualisations of management reporting lines, and thorough competitor analyses.

Don’t be shy! Your application is your one and only chance to show off. Prove the eligibility, prowess, and innovativeness of not only your technology, but also your team, and your proposed project plan. Provide the assessors with in-depth evidence of why your team in particular is the most appropriate team to deliver this project and its key deliverables and outputs, on time and on budget. It may be helpful to view your application as a sales pitch, aiming to confidently present your proposal to investors and provide reassurance that their funds are wisely injected into your opportunity.

Check those assumptions. Don’t forget to share your work with your critical friend, be that someone else within your team, a trusted companion, or an external partner. It can be exceedingly difficult to critique one’s own work, identify missing data or information gaps, and recognise errors. Remember that although the assessor is experienced within your industrial field, they may not necessarily be an expert in your specific technology area. So, what is clear and comprehensible to you as an innovator, may need further explanation and even simplification(and subsequent word usage) to be effectively evaluated by the assessor.

Quality & Quantity - a balancing act. Whilst we always advocate for maximisation of the allotted wordcount, it is also vital to reiterate the importance of remaining selective about content and maintaining the quality and readability of your text. Try not to bed out text with “waffle” in efforts to increase the length of your narrative. Aim to boost word usage by adding valuable detail and not through unnecessary verbosity. Although this might appear like a real feat, by sticking with a scientific concise writing style, and focusing on relevant content, you can master the balance of quality and quantity in all your grant applications.

As always, the grant writing team at Inventya is here to help and can offer full-service grant writing or scaled back critical friend support to polish a winning application. Feel free to get in contact to discuss your project and funding journey. For more information contact us here.

December 2, 2021
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