Develop a Plan

A realistic action plan with time contingencies is key to successful grant production and submission.

Work Backwards from the Agency Deadline

The starting point for any action plan is the agency submission deadline. Use this date and work backward, building in time to accommodate the following items as they apply to the grant application in question:

  • registration / letter (notice) of intent deadline, if required
  • mode of submission (electronic or paper-based)
  • internal and institutional requirements
  • requirements of co-investigator universities
  • research ethics and biosafety documentation requirements
  • availability of contributors, including holiday / vacation plans
  • building of research partnerships and teams
  • grant development work plan requirements

Consider Funding Agency / Competition Requirements

In addition to the agency submission deadline, there may be additional requirements to factor into your action plan. Some funding opportunities have a registration / letter (notice) of intent phase prior to the full application deadline. For related information on this topic, please visit the BCEOHRN website. The mode of grant submission (electronic or paper-based) can also impact your timeline. As well, some funding agencies require ethics applications to be submitted before applying for funding so familiarize yourself with the agency’s research ethics and biosafety documentation requirements.

Consider Internal / Institutional Requirements

Institutional signature policies often require the coordination of two or three signatures in sequence prior to external submission, a process which may take at least three to five business days. If you have co-investigators at other universities, you will need to incorporate their institutional requirements into your timeline (e.g., do they require the grant to go through their research service units as well?). Other requirements may also exist (e.g., mandatory grant development and internal review, internal cover sheets, etc). Refer to your faculty and your institution’s Research Services office for current requirements. For additional information on the signature process, visit the Obtain Signatures & Submit section of the website.

Other Considerations

Other considerations depend on the researcher. For instance, s/he may choose to participate in an internal grant review process (at UBC, take advantage of HeRRO’s Internal Review service) or request informal feedback from colleagues, either option requiring time to conduct the review, discuss feedback and recommendations, and make revisions. Another possible factor impacting the action plan is how many, if any, co-applicants, collaborators and/or other partners are involved in the grant. Gathering and incorporating their input will add to the action plan timeline so be sure to confirm their availability to contribute in a timely manner. See the Assemble a Team section of this website for information about the building of research partnerships.

Tackling the Grant Work Plan

After the above items have been factored into the action plan, it’s time to tackle the grant work plan. Often work plans are broken down into the three modules that most grants have in common: CV, budget and the research proposal itself.

Work plans:

  • identify roles and responsibilities (i.e., identify who is responsible for what)
  • specify task deadlines for each team member
  • outline how project files will be shared
  • provide a means for team members to record the actual time taken on a task so the facilitator can make more accurate estimates for a particular team member on the next project

See the Templates & Tools section of this website for action plan resources.

Leave a Comment

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Grant Facilitation Team
Vancouver, BC Canada

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | ©2011 University of British Columbia | FH