Wellcome Trust: International Engagement Awards: Top Tips for a Successful Application

By Siân Aggett

A successful project first needs a successful grant application. Make sure you give your project the best chances by following this simple guide and checklist:


Before completing the Application
Check eligibility-
Consult the application guidelines; make sure your project is eligible and make sure you explain how you meet the criteria of the International Engagement scheme in the application form.


Completing the Application
Make it a good read and
think of the tone- The more engaging a read the better. The tone of your application can really make a difference. If you sound interested and excited in your project then the reader is more likely to want to keep reading.

Substantiate any assertions- Back up any claims you make with evidence, otherwise they might ring hollow.


Beware of jargon and acronyms-  Avoid abbreviations, acronyms and jargon (unless

you first explain them).


Answer the questions- Each question is looking for particular information: make sure you read the question carefully and answer it as accurately as possible. Try not to repeat information which you used to answer a previous question.

If you have any doubts or questions, contact us!


Know who your target audience/stakeholders are and justify your approach with these in mind- Who is your target audience and why have you selected this audience? Who will the project benefit, why and how?


Explain the context but be careful about information overload-

The Funding Committee and the referees who are asked to assess you application won’t necessarily know about the context in which your project is to take place. Make sure to provide enough back ground information (e.g into the particular education system or theory behind your chosen methodology) but not too much!. Make this information succinct and easy for a lay person to understand and make sure you put it in the right place: the objectives section, not the project summary.

Consult all the relevant expertise needed for the project- Make sure the research is accurate and that you have all the relevant scientific, public engagement and other skills necessary to deliver the project.  This might mean that you have quite a large project team – but applications are often marked down if they don’t have sufficient or the right personnel to deliver them.

Don’t be overambitious with your project- be realistic about what you can achieve. Starting small can often lead to bigger things.


Are the aims, objectives and rationale for your proposal clear?-

Makes these SMART (Specific, Measurable, Acheivable, Relevant and Timebound)


Make sure your evaluation plans are appropriate to test whether you have met your aims and objectives-

Consider developing imaginative ideas for evaluation and not just feedback forms. Think carefully about what would indicate success for your project. Have you read the evaluation guidelines on our website: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/index.htm Evaluation should not just assess audiences’ responses but also document the process and lessons learned while developing and managing the project- You may want to consider employing an independent evaluator for the project.

Think about ways to disseminate what you have achieved. Who would be interested in the lessons learned from your project and what is the best way to reach them?


Make the project summary good- this is probably the most important section in your application; it is read first and so sets the first impression. Write this last.


Show project sustainability- If relevant, include plans on how the activity will be sustained or how it is developing on a previous project.


Proofread- Have your application proofread by someone who has not seen it before and preferably who doesn’t know too much already about your work.


Final checklist
Once you think you have finished take a break then re-read what you have written.

• Check the science content.

• Check the spelling.

• Ensure all co-applicants have read the proposal.

• Check that your budget adds up correctly.


For an International Engagement application form please provide a paragraph outlining your project plan, the location, audience, health research topic and chosen methodology and send this to: internationalengagement@wellcome.ac.uk


Full guidelines, Grant Conditions and evaluation

guidelines are available on our website at:



The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England, no. 210183.

Its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered in

England, no. 2711000, whose registered office is at 215 Euston Road,

London NW1 2BE, UK.


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