The content and quality of the proposal you submit to us will determine whether or not you are successful. Therefore it is vital that you have a full understanding of what is required, as well as knowing the various stages of the application process, so that you maximise your chances of gaining a grant.

This video features two of our Grant Assessment Panel Chairs discussing what makes a good research proposal and offers a helpful overview for applicants.

The application process

These notes are intended to assist you in the preparation of proposals to the Research Grants scheme and should be read in conjunction with the ESRC Research Funding Guide (PDF, 372Kb). They provide informal guidance on points for applicants to remember when drafting proposals. (Applicants to other schemes may also find this information helpful, although should take care to follow any scheme-specific guidance provided.) Careful attention will help you to avoid some of the basic pitfalls and improve the funding chances of your research idea.

Our 'how to' guide

There are three parts to our guide:

Writing a good proposal, part 1 

  • Allow yourself time
  • Study your funding source
  • Read the guidance documents
  • Discuss your proposal
  • Justify your costings

Writing a good proposal, part 2

  • Content and presentation

Writing a good proposal, part 3

  • Knowledge exchange and impact
  • Check the details
  • What happens next?
  • If you are successful