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Women in Science

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Interview excerpt: Alison finds that writing funding applications requires different skills to writing papers.

Alison NobleGetting funding is not straight forward. When I first came back to academia it was challenging; I was changing countries, I was changing jobs and I was changing from being a student to an academic where you had to write your grants, that was hard. I had only written papers before which is very different. But if you've got supportive colleagues around you and they help you, you learn quickly - that's what happened in my case. 

A few people have mentioned the issue of writing, in terms of a scientific subject, in order to gain funding. Is that something, did you find it difficult to write at first?

No I didn't find it particularly difficult. It's a skill and it is very different writing outputs (papers) than writing inputs (grant proposals). 

When you are writing a research paper you write creatively and you tell a story about the work you've done. When writing a story for a grant proposal, you are talking about work that has yet to be done, and other people might not agree with your story-telling; you've got to learn to try to answer the questions in the way that they want to hear and I think people do find that hard. Definitely, you could be very good at writing papers and not be good at writing grant proposals..