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Preparing for a Successful Application

Application decisions are based on the strength of three key elements of a grant proposal: Proposed Investigation, Budget and a Reference Letter from Research Advisor. Below are suggestions for each section.

You should also view the Sample Rating Form (PDF download) to see how reviewers evaluate proposals.

Proposed Investigation

  • The Proposed Investigation Section is limited to 500 words — be thorough but concise.
  • Literature Citations:  Literature used to prepare the proposal or project should be listed on a separate page after the Proposed Investigation. In line citations (number enclosed in parentheses) in the proposal should refer to this list of Literature. The literature list does not count towards to 500 word limit in the Proposed Investigation.
  • Compose your proposal offline and seek advice from your research advisor on how best to present your research
  • You may return to edit your proposal any time before the application deadline.
  • State your goals, hypothesis and/or research question clearly.
  • State the background information in your proposal very briefly. Avoid the common pitfall of presenting too much background and neglecting to develop methods and objectives.
  • Describe your methods clearly, showing how they are used to address your hypothesis or research question.
  • Indicate the significance of this research and how your study contributes to the big picture of research in your field of study.
  • If the proposed work is part of an ongoing project, clearly state how your work meshes with the larger project and how your proposed work is a unique contribution.
  • Uploading your Proposed Investigation: your proposal must be uploaded through the online form as requested.
  • Tables, figures and images: You may include up to 2 images or tables in your proposal narrative. Captions do not count towards the 500 word proposal limit, but they should be brief or the application will be penalized.

Budget

  • Make certain that budget items fit within the scope of the GIAR Program. Inappropriate budget requests are the number one reason for denying funding. See the Guidelines for more information
  • Items in your budget should clearly relate to the methodology described in your Proposed Investigation section.
  • Budget questions will include the full project budget which can be highlighted in a general nature
  • Detail expenses you wish Sigma Xi to fund.
  • Include justifications for expenses for items that may not normally receive funding See Guidelines for more information
  • Appropriate formatting for a budget would look something like:

Full Project Budget
$5,000 – Including Item A, Item B, and Item C. (Please see Other Funding Sources for more information)

Items Requested from Sigma Xi
$200 – Travel to Research Site – 400 miles @ .50 per mile
$100 – Supply Item 1
$100 – Supply Item 2 (10 @ $10 each)
$600 – Computer Equipment Purchase*
$1,000 – Total Requested From Sigma Xi

*Budget Explanation for Item that is a Funding Exception according to Sigma Xi Funding Guidelines

Reference Letter

  • The Reference letter from your research advisor is due the same day as the other application material. With this in mind, it is vital that you begin your application some time before the deadline date in order to give your reference writer time to compose and submit the letter.
  • References are contacted by email using the name and email address you provide when creating the application. Have reference's email address when you start the application.
  • References should be professional researchers or educators and not fellow students
  • Reference email instructions include a link to Information for Reference Writers. Viewing this page may help you determine who could best provide a suitable reference for your application.

Final Suggestions:

  • Meet the deadlines: March 15 and October 1 annually. This means that your application and letter of recommendation must be received by these dates.
  • After you begin your application, you may log back in to make edits any time before the deadline.
  • You may log back into your application to verify that your reference letter has been submitted. If not, you may send an email reminder to your reference by clicking on the appropriate button near the contact information for that reference.
  • It is your obligation to make certain that all material is correct before you click the submit button.

Email questions to giar@sigmaxi.org