Recycling, whilst permitting us to better manage the earth’s limited resources, is certainly not the way to go when preparing a research proposal.

Writing a research proposal demands time, energy, and your best ideas. It is natural you will want to capitalize on those to prepare your next proposal. However, if not done carefully, you could undermine your possibilities of getting funded by recycling your proposal. Here are four reasons why:

  1. The context changes! Science changes! Review process takes months and by the time you start working on the new research proposal, the research topic has further developed. Convincing the reviewers that you are up to date with the latest research developments is absolute key to show your proficiency and understanding of the state-of-the-art.
  2. Needs of the funder change- even if you are applying to the same funder, there are focuses that change (for example, many are increasing the need for contextualizing your proposal in the context of sustainability on a yearly basis). Thus, the research proposals must be redesigned to fit the funder’s needs.
  3. Technical inaccuracies- It is very common to overlook details when utilizing texts submitted to previous calls. You might, for example, mention an old acronym, the name of another funding institution etc. Be careful as this gives a very bad impression to the reviewer!
  4. Your own drive with an older idea- A new idea or a further development of an idea translates to increased interest and engagement. When working on your proposal, you want to be fully engaged. Even if your idea for your previous proposal was excellent, there are always things to improve. These developments will ensure you are truly involved and interested in the new proposal and this will be evident through your writing.

Thus, instead of recycling your research proposal, it is always better to conduct a thorough analysis of what went wrong in the previous proposal and develop your new proposal based on the lessons learnt- this is in essence what we do via our Grantopsies. Remember, recycling is for limited resources. Your researcher originality is not limited- develop new original ideas!