Every single research project cannot gain any funding until a budget has been set. If you are in the process of applying for funding, you have to be able to say where you are planning to spend that funding. There has to be clarity in the entire budget so that your investors know exactly where their money is going, not only this, you have to be able to prove that where you spend your money will help you to answer the research question that you are asking.
Developing a budget is the best way that you can plan your project in a way that is transparent to those you are asking to invest in you. If you can plan your budget properly, you’re going to show your funding assessors that you have thought clearly about the research, your equipment requirements and where you want each dollar to go. Below, you’ll find some of the simplest steps that you need to take to create a budget for your project.
List Your Activities. A big part of your project is knowing what you plan to do. Whether you require chromatin immunoprecipitation kits or you are trying to fund new test tubes, you need to know where your money is going to go in your project. Think about your methodology and turn it into a plan – step by step. Write down everything you will need and every step you plan to take. If you plan to take a flight to the other side of the world to visit a group of scientists, write it down.
Check Funding Rules. If you’ve already read the funding rules, great. Now, go and read them again. You’ve got your list of activities, and now you need to check back against the funding rules to make sure what is and what isn’t allowed for your particular grant. The last thing that you want to do is schedule in travel and meetings and then realise that your funding isn’t going to cover you.
Cost Everything. Literally, every single item. Cost it all. Do a search and find a reasonable cost for each and every item on your list that you need. This includes your own salary if you need to be released to conduct interviews or visit. Keep a list of where you find your items, and you can refer back to it later and be able to provide investors with a list of places you’ve got the figures from.
Create A Spreadsheet. If you’ve handwritten everything, get it down in a spreadsheet. It’s the easiest tool to use to budget and calculate – plus it’s impressive!
Justify It All. You could easily write everything down and cost it all, but if you can’t justify it, you’re going to run into trouble if you’re asked why you need something. For every item you need, whether it’s ChIP trays or kits, you need to justify it!
Your funding application is going to be successful if you stick to the rules and be as honest as possible.