I got news for y’all. All that advice people give you about making grants easy on the tired reviewers eye. Live by every freaking word. Things I realize now that I’m on the ‘other’ side of the grant:
1. Yes, 11 point Arial really IS that small. Geez. I’m going to have to stop at the drugstore and get some of those 5$ glasses that magnify stuff.
2. I now totally understand the logic of not filling the pages solid with text and leaving breathing space between paragraphs. TOTALLY, totally get it. I feel like I have to go down the page with that fluorescent green ruler I keep on my desk so I can see which line to go to next.
3. Avoid having 3 aims and 25 sub-aims under each aim. Confuses the pucky out of the reviewer. Sometimes less is more.
4. Flow charts. FLOW CHARTS. of the experiments. A nice thing, reviewers like them, make life easier.
5. Dump as much jargon as you can. If you don’t dump it, you better explain it.
6. One figure per page. I fear that this is going to go away when people go down to 12 pages… but I’m pleading with you … keep some figures in there, they are worth 1000 words and they break up the text.
7. Use your published work as preliminary data, this is a strength. But don’t propose to do that work again unless you have a really good reason and can explain it.
8. An organized SRO is a god-send.
9. Write a conclusion to sum everything up at the end and provide a reminder why said work is innovative, insightful, incredibly brilliant (sarcasm, people), and what the hypothetical next step might be.
10. Add your own!