Applying for Grants


Writing a Grant Application

Writing and applying for grants can be a stressful and confusing process. Fortunately our Grants Officer, Charisse Kuo, is here to provide tips and advice.

What is a grant?

A grant is an amount of money that the government/university gives to an individual or an organization for a particular purpose such as education or research. It can be used to provide researcher salaries, equipment and supplies, conference costs, etc. You can check the university grants calendar to see which grants are available (google search term: uoa 2022 grants calendar).

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Check out the one-off scholarships on our new website:

Always read the grant guidelines carefully. Make sure you are eligible for the grant application (some require NZ citizenship). Also make sure it covers your needs as most grants do not cover post graduate student stipend but will cover lab consumables and salary for a technician. Always talk to your supervisors. They may already have funding so you do not have to apply for grants. If you need to write a grant application, get your supervisors to proofread your application.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to write a research grant application?

This depends on the grant you are applying for. A small research grant is typically about 3 to 5 A4 pages. Remember you will need to ask your supervisors for feedback, improve your draft, ask for feedback again before working on your draft further. Busy supervisors may take a while to come back, so always remind them of the deadline and how urgently you need to hear back from them. Therefore, it can take from a couple of weeks to a month before the final application is completed. So be wise in your time management, don’t spend the entire day just on writing the grant application or waiting for your supervisors to reply!

For some grants, you need to submit first to an internal check by the research team; as a result, the closing date may be one week earlier than the publicly available date.

How many research grants might you need to apply for before you are successful?

This is hard to say, often not the first one you apply for. However, don’t be put off and keep your mind set positive. If you receive any feedback after your application is rejected, make sure you address the problem in your next application. Remember you can always re-apply for the same grant in the next round, and you might get it next time!

How do I get started?

Consider the following:

  1. What are you applying for funding? Will your supervisor be providing partial funding?
  2. Which grant can you apply for? Check the university grant calendar. Also do your own research – there may be external organizations related to your field of study which may be interested in supporting research.

What are the different types of grants?

  1. Research grants: typically covers lab consumables, salary for technicians, and may also provide student stipend
  2. Fellowship: most commonly for the purposes of salary for postdoctoral researchers and/or professors
  3. Travel grants: cover food/travel/accommodation for conferences; supported by some conferences which encourage students to present their research
  4. Publication grants: cover publishing fees, often for open access journals (some journals ask the authors to pay a sum of money after the manuscript is accepted)

How to write a research grant?

Different grants have different application forms, but most research grants will ask for background, research design, significance and timeline.


  • Make a table like this to outline your progress
    Mar-Jun 2022 Jul-Sep 2022 Oct-Dec 2022
    Objective 1
    Objective 2
    Objective 3


  • This is where you tell the story and let the judges know why your research is important (gaps in current literature, limitation in current resources), what is the main problem, how your research will help resolve the problem, what makes your research unique.
  • Clearly state your research aim (make it bold!) and how you will achieve the aims
  • Continuation work – Are you continuing off someone’s work? Does your lab already have some data to help with your research direction? Make sure you acknowledge the people involved in the previous work.

Research design

  • Clearly state the overall aim (bold)
  • Show ethics have been approved
  • Break down the overall research into objectives (how you will achieve the aim) and sub-objectives (actual steps, experiments involved)
  • Provide data/evidence showing your research is going in the right direction and already producing good results. This applies only if you have gathered data already. Summarise the findings using figures and descriptive figure captions.
  • Do a power calculation if appropriate (to find the n number required to reach statistical significance). This will determine the number of samples you need for your study.
  • Talk about collaboration with researchers specialized in a different field, showing there is expertise in the group to conduct the research


  • How does your research contribute to, or benefit the current world/healthcare system?
  • How will New Zealanders be impacted by the outcome? How would Māori be involved?
  • Financial benefits – cost of current healthcare
  • Translational benefits – novel treatment and prevention

Our Advice

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Writing and applying for grants can be a stressful and confusing process. Fortunately our Grants Officer, Charisse Kuo, is here to provide tips and advice.


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