Timing of grant application

I just submitted a grant that is looking likely to get funded. I hesitate to apply for another one right now because in the event that I get another grant funded at the same time I think the work load would be too overwhelming. How do I manage staggering grants so that I am not working on too many projects at the same time?

HI Rachyl, this is a great question. Generally speaking, I would say apply to as many opportunities as you can, and here’s why. You don’t know what will happen in panel review, so you can’t guarantee you will get funded. It’s always good to start with your strategic grants plan and figure out how the work itself will be staggered between projects and your resources (human and other) will be used or needed for each. You can also budget within your proposals to hire additional researchers or staff should you be running more than one research study at a time and need extra capacity.

Also remember to think of the timing of the grant period. You might be applying for three grants this month, but the project period for each may be different. A foundation grant may be awarded and start within 30 to 60 days, while an NIH R01 (research grant) will take 9 months for final notification and the project period to begin.

While it’s definitely good to plan ahead for how work may need to be staggered based on current resources, try not to limit the opportunities you apply for too much, because the general rule is you’ll get 1-3 grants out of every 10 you apply for. And with NIH cycles, only 1% of grants get funded each cycle. So it’s a game of both numbers, strategy, and the highest level of excellence in proposed research/programs.