In this third installment of the conference series, I will be covering the topic of grant writing and funding. Grants are incredibly helpful as they are a way to fund different research and scholarly pursuits. For the Mid-Atlantic Pop Culture Conference, I had my first experience in grant writing, and it was much different process than I had originally expected.
The first step of grant writing is finding the grants you would like to apply for. These would most easily be found by going through your local university. There were three possible grant funds that I had a good chance at getting money from through Millersville, and I applied to two of them. It is important to research the grants you are applying for, as you not only can find ones that you are more likely to receive, but also see if there are additional requirements to them. For example, one of the grants that I was going to apply to had a requirement that if I was awarded the grant money, I would have to present at the Made in Millersville conference in the spring semester. Looking forward to my spring schedule, I realized that was not a possibility for me, as I would need to focus on my thesis and classwork. It is important to read through the application requirements to make sure that you don’t miss additional information that may be hidden.
The requirements for each grant application will differ, however, there is a similar process to each. First, you will have to provide a short overview/abstract about your work, which will cover important elements of your research in a limited space. This includes answering questions such as what the purpose of your research is, why your research is important, and the outcomes of it. Another element of the application includes a description of your project. This includes identifying the need for your research, such as a gap in previous studies of your topic or an opportunity to add an additional perspective to already existing research. It is also a place to explain the value of your project, and why you should receive funding to share this information with others at a place like a conference. Here, you can also add more information about the process and outcomes of your research to answer the question of what your overall goal is.
Arguably the most important part of the application is the section where you budget out the amount of money you are asking for from the grant. Here you will need to do some math about how much the logistics of the conference, such as transportation (train ticket or gas money?), if you are staying in a hotel, and how much the registration fee of the conference cost. The planning of this financial support is not only required for the application, but also allows you to consider important elements of the conference outside of academics, like how you will get there and how long you will be staying.
Although applying for grants may seem intimidating, laying out the steps and outlining your own research can greatly help with the process and show that it is not as hard as it seems. Good luck to everyone applying for grants now or in the near future- you’ve got this!