1. Write a study budget

Start by making a list of activities that will be associated with the study.

  • Personnel
    • What Research Staff is needed (eg. study nurses, coordinators)?
    • Many research institutions and universities have set pay scales that you may need to follow, Also check if you need to include infrastructure fees for your institution
    • How many staff?
    • Will they be full-time or part-time?
    • What training costs may be involved?
    • Associated overheads (eg annual leave loading, sick leave)
  • Consumables
    • Is there any equipment required? (eg: digital scales, pedometers)
    • Clinical consumables (eg: gloves, cotton balls, tubes etc)
  • What are the administrative requirements?
    • Postage and stationery requirements
    • If it’s a multi-site study will travel be required?
    • Does it require a Clinical Trial Notification form to be submitted to the TGA?

Try to think of all aspects of the study. For example, you may need

  • HREC application fees (see relevant institution’s HREC website)
  • Statistical consulting
  • A randomization system
  • Data management services or a data software package
  • Laboratory services (eg: pathology) or other service providers (eg: Radiology)

There will be costs involved for most of these services, so it is important to source written quotes and list all costs prior to submitting your funding application.

2. Further considerations

Over-budget! There is no point skimping and there is no benefit to being cheap, however obvious scams will undermine your credibility.

Account for the fact that the study may take longer than the time you have allocated (eg: 18 months may become 2 years) so budget for the 2 years rather than the 18 months.

3. Sourcing funding & grant applications

Funding is always more likely if your project is original and highly relevant, but is partly awarded on track record. Start by applying for small grants then apply for increasingly ambitious grants as your research record grows. Grant providers tend to give to those who have performed well before; therefore it may help to have an experienced and successful researcher on your application as a co-investigator. However, being a beginner is not always an impediment. On occasions grant providers will provide money specifically to help promising novice researchers.

Large projects require large amounts of money. Some funding providers are keen to provide seed funding to get the project established or to do some pilot work. This proves the feasibility of your study and helps you acquire the big money.

Funding can be sourced from a wide range of areas including; national, state and local governments, public research institutes, universities, peak bodies such as the Royal Australasian Council for Physicians, the private sector, foundations, charitable trusts and Prescribed private funds (PPFs). There are also opportunities for funding from other international organisations.

Two councils that distribute national funding are:
The National Health and Medical Research Council administers funding for health and medical research on behalf of the Australian Government.

The Australian Research Council funds research and researchers under the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP).

Other sources of national funding information can be found at:
The Our Community website offers regular newsletters detailing current available grants and funding and guides to winning grants ($$ applicable).

The Philanthropy Australia website provides services for grant seekers and a directory of philanthropy opportunities ($$ applicable). Some of the philanthropic organisations include:

Other specific organisations that provide funding are:

When writing a grant application, be sure to be very clear and write in a way that readers unfamiliar with the science can still understand. Explain the importance of the project but don’t over do it. Always follow the instructions in every detail. Carefully proof read your grant application.