Common Reviewer Questions for Grant Applicants

  1. Have you considered collaborating with…?
    We have so many groups and resources; it is very common to overlap with existing programs. Have you investigated whether others are doing something similar and made an effort to collaborate? If not, why not?
  2. Has this been done before at UVA?
    Has this great idea been attempted before?  If somebody tried this previously, was it a failure? Was it successful? Learning from the challenges of previous attempts is valuable and shows that you have done due diligence.
  3. What exactly will you use the funds for?
    Be able to defend each budget line item – can the project be completed without certain items? Avoid asking for a nice, round number without clearly stating the why (salary/wages, equipment, fees, etc.).
  4. How many students will be involved or impacted?
    How many students do you expect to be a part of the program? How many faculty? How many staff? Be sure to quantify the impact: “We will accept 45 student members, pay for 15 members to attend conferences, and hope to increase these figures by 5 each year.”
  5. This year, we have a lot of [insert theme] applications. What makes yours particularly unique?
    Many years, applications tend to revolve around a certain theme, such as entrepreneurship or diversity. Out of all of these, what makes yours different? Does it have an impact on the student experience? Does it improve the research caliber of UVA? Does it make us a leader in the area?
  6. How will you become self-sustaining? What other funding sources have you secured or are you seeking out right now?
    Explain potential avenues for securing future funds. Have you looked into other grant opportunities? Have you explored corporate sponsorships?
  7. Can you do the project with less?
    If we eliminate certain line items, or only provide funding for the first year, can your project still be successful? How will you measure/quantify success? What is your expected time horizon for the project before you get results you can analyze?
  8. Who will lead the project once you graduate?
    Bring new leadership to the meeting – Trustees feel a lot better when they know a succession plan is in place.
  9. How well has this initiative performed at other schools?
    Explain the successes and failures of similar programs elsewhere.
  10. How do we compare to our peer institutions in this regard?
    Do your research on other flagship state schools, but also comparable private schools to check if this is something UVA is lagging behind in.