How to Write a Regional Research Proposal
Regional research projects comprise plenty of types of grants given to NGOs, research organizations, universities, and other institutions which are capable of doing research or assisting in its conducting. There are a lot of opportunities provided by state and federal authorities, so it is always good to know more about these programs and the way you can apply for them and implement activities within their framework.
Because regional programs are diverse and are not subjected to only one principle of application, the current guide will show you only the basic steps which have to be undertaken. Here you will find some tips on elaborating not only a regional project in general, but also research which is a part of the project as well. You should check exactly the details of the program which you are interested in and use these steps for developing your research project.
How to write a regional research proposal – 11 steps
1. Get yourself oriented
Many people think that it is a piece of cake to prepare a research proposal. In the majority of cases there are serious flaws in the submitted proposals, so it is not that hard for the particular Commission to reject them.
There are some things you need to define to yourself:
- is it worth applying for a project if your project proposal is not of good quality?
- do you have the required financial contribution right now (which is usually between 10 and 50% of the whole project budget)?
- do you have a clear and well-defined idea about what you are going to do?
- do you have partners - some among the aforementioned institutions?
- what program do you want to apply for?
- how long will be the duration of the project?
There are also other questions besides these. At any rate, it is necessary to have answers to all of them before starting to write your project proposal.
2. Find an appropriate program
You need to be sure what program you will apply for at least six months prior to the deadline of application. Do not do it at the last moment because research projects are serious thing. There are different types of regional programs: in the field of Social sciences, Natural sciences, technical sciences and engineering. They are offered at federal as well as state levels.
You should know what capacity your institute possesses in the given field. Try to involve partners from the whole region covered by your project proposal.
3. Find partners
In our present world no one can do anything without the support of the others. You should search for partners if you do not have any yet. There are two ways to do it: look at your previous work experiences and check whether a company or institution could function as your partner. The other way is to disseminate information online and search for partners virtually.
Do not forget that first you need to have an agreement of your own institution to work on the project proposal! You cannot start searching for partners alone. Disseminate the information first at your institution - there will be persons who are able to find partners.
Advice: always distribute the work on the project equally and according to partners' capacity!
4. Main idea of the project
Now it is time to turn to the project proposal itself. You need to have a clear idea about what you and your partners are going to do together. Therefore, you have to organize a joint preliminary meeting in order to formulate the central points of the project proposal.
Let's say that the main idea is to work on building a network of centers for psychological support for elderly people. All of you have to reach an agreement on issues like: preparation and first stage of the project (research), objectives of the project, people who will implement the activities, the schedule of the activities, how the expenses will be monitored and managed, what results and output the project will have, etc.
5. Context and central problem
What are the problems you want to solve or face? What are the solutions available right now? What makes your project really worth carrying out? Every project must answer these questions. No one will grant money for a project which does not have real value. And the latter has its roots in the way you tackle the problem: your solution should be:
- comprising as many partners as possible (but only within the framework of the project), and
- with smaller budget than the one which the other competitors offer. That is, if there are five projects offering solutions to the same problem, only the one which meets these three criteria will be selected.
For example, your problem could be the lack of needed facilities and staff for psychological support for elderly people in the given region (district, state or several states). But if some of these are already available, you should turn to something more concrete; for instance, lack of highly-qualified staff in the sector.
The objectives of your project could be as follows:
- to do a deep research into the current forms of psychological support for elderly people in the given region;
- to establish a network of centers for psychological support for elderly people (add the given region here);
- to train staff for working in the centers;
- to ensure the sustainability of the network by involving more partners in the network (not exactly the partners in your project, but rather external institutions which would be interested of being involved later).
7. Partners and staff involved
Here you need to define the specific functions and roles of every member of the staff involved in the project. For example, Partner 1 will conduct staff trainings; Partner 2 will contribute financially to the project and will monitor the expenses and the whole budget; Partner 3 will work on cooperation with the state agencies in order to coordinate the establishment of the network; Partner 4 will work on finding (and improving) the available facilities; Partner 5 will do the research and will prepare the training materials and advertisement materials during and after the project; and so forth.
You have to define the roles of the persons involved from all the partners. Usually, it is required to present their qualifications, experience, and functions at their institutions.
8. Schedule of the activities
Now, you have to formulate each step and activity which will be implemented during the project duration. This also includes any preparation and preliminary steps as well as dissemination of the results and outcomes. The research stage is very important, thus you have to define it very clearly.
We recommend you to divide the project into steps or stages, and then divide them into sub-steps or sub-stages, in order to present your ideas in a clearer way. For each activity you have to explain the following: date, name of the activity, short explanation, place, and responsible people.
9. Justification of the planned activities
It is very important to elucidate the function of each activity and how it will contribute for achieving the objectives. You cannot merely list a number of activities which are not directly related to the main idea of the project. Therefore, each activity has to be defined and proved as essential for the project.
10. Expected results and outcomes
You should foresee the results of your project. They can be of material and non-material type. It is recommended to describe them clearly, in some cases by using indicators (number of people trained, number of centers included in the network, number of elderly people reached, etc.). You can describe all results in a long-run such as increased partnership between the given partners, raised awareness of the problem, better motivation for the psychology students in the college-partner in the project, etc.
11. Risk evaluation
It is advisable to have a section in your research proposal focused on the obstacles and factors which influence negatively. This can include: insufficient number of applicants for the trainings, problems with finding and developing the facilities, lack of interest at state or federal levels, and so forth. To each of these you must add an explanation what you will do to prevent such risks.
Having formulated all these points, you can start elaborating the regional research proposal. Check all sections carefully and then give the application form to the other partners in the research project. Do not forget to prepare all required additional documents; for instance, references, partnership agreements, bibliography, and others.
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