Persuading Funders with Your Research Story

Successful grant writing is essential for researchers today. It’s a key skill that can unlock research opportunities and sustain innovative projects with supportive funders, and is one of the crucial avenues to achieving visibility in a crowded funding landscape. 

A skill researchers desperately need

The funding landscape is highly competitive, and the process exacting, which puts pressure on researchers to gain practical skills and experience that can make a difference. Yet these experiences often fall short. 

According to a survey of 456 researchers conducted by Nature Masterclasses, almost 90% of researchers consider grant writing a crucial skill, while 80% say they struggle and need more training; however only 21% who have taken a course were satisfied with it.*  

Researchers know the stakes for grant funding are high, yet haven’t had access to a satisfying learning resource that provides them with the skills to effectively write a compelling funding proposal. Until now. 

A unique approach 

Persuasive Grant Writing, a new course on the Nature Masterclasses training platform, uses a reimagined approach to grant writing that focuses on a topic often ignored by traditional training services: the use of narrative tools.

Developed through a data-driven, vigorously tested and peer-reviewed process, Persuasive Grant Writing provides researchers with practical tools designed to imbue a more engaging ― and funder-aligned ― narrative arc into grant proposals. 

Learning which grants to pursue and why is a high-value skill that researchers typically learn ― if they learn it at all ― through years of trial and error and many rejected applications. Persuasive Grant Writing teaches researchers how to tailor their applications to match with funders who share similar needs and align along common research goals. Researchers will be able to better understand funders’ objectives and craft their applications accordingly.

Similarly, the ability to frame your research within a clear, compelling storyline will help lift it off the page and engage funders with a more persuasive writing style. Strengthening your ability to build a narrative ensures that the design and potential of your research shines through.   

What will researchers learn?

The course will teach narrative tools that help craft grant applications that stand out from the competition and connect more directly with potential funders.

Participants will learn to:

  1. Articulate how narrative tools can improve the quality of their grant application
  2. Align their application with the requirements and objectives of its audience: the funder
  3. Apply narrative tools when writing their grant application to make it more persuasive, compelling and informative

Expert design, expert participation

The content is developed in collaboration with a team of experts who represent a wide-range of funding perspectives, including grant editors, successfully funded researchers, grant writing trainers, former program directors and fund managers at major foundations, and experts in using narrative tools to communicate scientific findings. 

Each stage of course design, from choosing the topic to developing the course outline and crafting the written and video content, is data-driven and iterative, meaning it’s continually user- and expert-tested to ensure it meets the needs of researchers and maintains a demanding standard of quality.

The course features over 3 hours of learning via 17 lessons organized into 3 modules. 

The modules are:

  1. Before starting your grant application
  2. Targeting your audience
  3. Creating a narrative 

Each lesson is packed with insight and can be studied in sequence or in the order that best fits the specific background and needs of the researcher. The course comes with the full range of benefits of Nature Masterclasses online platform, which delivers flexibility and control to busy researchers who crave training but have limited time in their schedule. 

The benefits of Nature Masterclasses online courses 

The platform provides researchers with:

  • Bite-size learning in the form of 15-minute, information-rich lessons that convey maximum information in concentrated time
  • On-demand access to lessons, videos and online activities designed to meet researcher’s needs and schedules
  • Course material organized into targeted modules that divide each topic into clear, manageable sections 
  • Varied multimedia formats, including interactive exercises
  • Asynchronous delivery, which makes course material accessible anytime and anywhere
  • Progress status that can be saved for self-paced learning
  • English language subtitles and transcripts
  • Subscription options that give institutions full access to the entire catalogue of online trainings, plus access to future courses 

These features give researchers total control over their learning environment and makes it possible to add crucial skills without disrupting or slowing down their day-to-day work.

Researchers who are able to align their work with the right funders and know how to use narrative tools to craft a compelling research story, will produce grant applications with the best chance at approval. Nature Masterclasses’ Persuasive Grant Writing course takes a unique approach to a high-demand skill, and fuses it with the expertise of Nature Portfolio editors and the power of the Nature Masterclasses online platform. 

The result is a training resource catered to the needs of researchers of today, with a curriculum and learning environment designed to help them succeed. 

Add skills and experience that will serve researchers throughout their career, and will help their work stand out amid a crowded field of contemporaries. 

*Publisher data: Nature Masterclasses Global Survey 2020

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