- The process has become slower and more involved;
- The number of non-academics and admin staff on the panels has increased;
- Funders are finding it increasingly hard to get reviewers to look at applications. He suggested that funders were having to ask 3 academics for every 1 review they got back.
- The overall quality of applications had gone up. When he'd started roughly 50% of them were poorly written and/or unfundable. These days almost all were well formatted, well thought out, and over 90% were 'internationally competitive'.
With this in mind, some key messages follow on from this:
- Try and find out who's on the panel, and particularly who is likely to be your IMs;
- Get to know them, and, if possible, make them aware of you and your work;
- Take time to really work on your Lay Summary. This is crucial, as it is the first part (and sometimes the only part) of the application that the non-IMs will read. Make your project clear, important and achievable;
- Use clear formatting, a readable font, and make sure you avoid sloppy and avoidable typos and grammar;
- When responding to referees' statements, keep it succinct, courteous, and include new information if necessary.
If you're in the process of drafting an application, get in touch with us and well help you polish and prepare your proposal so that it has the best chance of succeeding with the panel.