Preparing a good application that stands out to evaluators and eventually gets awarded is not a secret. Instead, the crafting process requires planning and organization, and it is always useful to ask yourself:
- Is my justification for funding well described?
- Am I mentioning the long-term impact of this grant on my career/project/event?
- Are my objectives feasible within my context?
- Am I taking into account diversity, equity, and inclusion parameters?
- Is my budget proposal clear and realistic?
If you are not sure about the answers to some of those questions, it may be worth it to ask a colleague to review your application. It’s always good to have an external opinion!
In addition, we listed below some questions that may help you while you prepare your proposal:
FINDING THE BEST PROGRAM FOR ME
What types of funding does IBRO offer?
IBRO funding programs fall into two main categories: career development support and event organization. Which programs are most relevant to you may differ as you progress throughout your career.
Funding programs vary depending on regional priorities and needs. At the end of each year, IBRO publishes its annual funding calendar, which includes an overview of all upcoming funding opportunities. This is the best way to keep up-to-date on upcoming calls for applications and begin identifying calls of particular relevance to you. For regular notifications on upcoming and open calls and IBRO news and events, you may also wish to:
How do I know if I am eligible for a particular grant?
Each call for applications lists specific eligibility criteria, covering aspects such as national or regional eligibility, career stage, impact on career progression, etc. For all IBRO funding programs, regional eligibility is determined based on country of residence, not nationality. If you have any doubts about regional eligibility, please refer to the IBRO country classifications for reference. Make sure to carefully consider the specified eligibility criteria before submitting a funding application.
Do I need to be a member of IBRO or any society to apply for IBRO support?
There is no membership requirement to apply to IBRO funding programs. All you need to do is create a free applicant account to access the IBRO Grants Portal.
Some grants mention eligibility criteria related to underrepresented groups. Is this evaluated nationally, regionally, or globally?
In collaboration with our partners, IBRO Regional Committees address priorities and needs through their funding programs, which may include support for underrepresented groups. In such cases, Regional Committees and/or relevant partner(s) will establish eligibility criteria and they will be clearly indicated in the grant’s description.
Are personal circumstances, such as parental, carer’s, or military leave considered when evaluating career stage?
Some IBRO calls have age caps or limits related to the time since an applicant completed their Ph.D. Applicants will be allowed to justify any career breaks as part of the application process, which will be taken into account by reviewers.
Is it possible to make changes to my online application after submitting it?
You have the flexibility to edit your submitted online application until the deadline. However, once the deadline passes, no further modifications can be made to your application.
Can I send supporting documents for my application through email?
We are unable to accommodate the submission of supporting documents via email or the integration of such materials into the online application on your behalf. Please send all the necessary supporting documents through your IBRO Grants Portal account.
Will the information I enter in my funding application remain confidential?
Who can help me with a question about my online application?
Please contact the programs team at firstname.lastname@example.org and allow three working days for a response.
HIGHLIGHTING YOUR SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENTS
Do publications matter when it comes to the assessment of funding applications?
While not all IBRO calls specifically request a set number of prior publications, publications may enhance an applicant’s CV or help to demonstrate an applicant’s area of expertise. The career stage will always be taken into account when assessing applications.
Do I have to submit an abstract to receive a travel grant?
Travel grant applicants are required to be first-author presenters at the conference or meeting for which they are requesting funding. However, we do understand it is not always possible to know whether or not your abstract has been accepted to the conference or meeting at the time of application. Payment of travel grant awards is only made upon submission of the certificate of attendance confirming your role as a presenter to the IBRO Secretariat.
THE EVALUATION PROCESS
Who reviews my grant application?
Grant applications are reviewed by members of the IBRO Regional Committees, who are responsible for the management of IBRO programs and partnerships approved for their region. As regional ambassadors, they are best placed to evaluate applications, taking into account the unique needs, challenges, and opportunities in their respective regions.
What do reviewers look for in applications?
The first step for any reviewer is to make sure that an application meets the eligibility criteria for the call in question. If these criteria are not respected, an application will be automatically disqualified.
Eligibility criteria are built into the application structure, so it is important to make sure that you complete each section of the application form to the best of your ability. All eligible applications will be evaluated based on the information provided in their application, which may encompass aspects such as the applicant’s justification for applying, the potential impact of IBRO support on an applicant’s career trajectory, the quality of a conference or seminar, publication track, or references. Further, review committees take into consideration diversity and gender balance when ranking qualified applicants.
Will my chances of success increase if I request a lower amount of funding?
As long as the request falls within the limits set out in the call for applications, the most important factor for evaluators is whether the requested budget is realistic in regard to the proposed activity.
How long is the evaluation process?
Following the application closing date, applications are prepared for evaluation and sent to the regional committees for review. Once this process is complete, the IBRO Secretariat sends out notifications to both successful and unsuccessful applicants. The time taken to evaluate applications varies depending on the number of applications received, but IBRO typically aims to respond to all applicants within six weeks of the application deadline.
Do review committees consider that not all applicants are native English speakers?
Yes. There is no expectation for applications to be written in perfect English. However, it is important for applications to be understandable in order to facilitate review. It is worth noting that IBRO programs are evaluated by members of its Regional Committees, which include native speakers of many different languages.
Which countries receive the most support from IBRO?
IBRO reports on the impact of its programs in its annual reports, typically published in the middle of each year. These reports include statistical breakdowns covering national and regional participation, as well as gender data. IBRO is working to increase the visibility and impact of its calls, including through its member organizations and alumni network. Any suggestions on how to increase the reach of IBRO activities are encouraged.
Has IBRO considered sending individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants?
Given the number of applications IBRO processes every year, unfortunately, it is not possible to provide individual feedback. Nevertheless, you can find advice and information on common errors in the recording of the 2023 webinar on crafting a successful IBRO grant application and on the IBRO website.
YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL. WHAT NOW?
What happens if I receive IBRO support?
First of all, congratulations! If your application has been successful, you will receive a notification letter from IBRO detailing the amount of your award and key information related to the administration of your grant, such as payment procedures and reporting deadlines.
Can I celebrate my grant online?
Yes! Your notification letter will include a communications toolkit and IBRO encourages all awardees to celebrate their success.
Please note that your notification letter is confidential and is not to be shared publicly. Instead, we recommend you share the materials provided within the communications toolkit you received.
How do I receive the funds from my IBRO grant?
You will receive instructions for reimbursement in the official award letter you receive from IBRO. Grants are transferred according to an 80:20 format. This means 80% of funds are received up to two months in advance of the activity for which you received funding, with the remaining 20% sent upon receipt of the mandatory funding report. Travel Grant recipients receive full reimbursement upon receipt of the certificate of attendance by the IBRO Secretariat. All grantees are encouraged to read the payment formatting guidelines for their chosen currency to avoid unnecessary and potentially significant delays to the receipt of funds.
Can I receive my funds in advance of the meeting or conference for which I have received a travel grant?
No, it is not possible to send the funds before the meeting. To verify that you have attended the meeting or conference for which you have received a travel award, the IBRO secretariat must receive your certificate of attendance.
What should I do if my project does not go as planned or I do not manage to spend the money I received for an event or activity?
All awardees are required to submit a report to IBRO detailing the impact of their grant and use of funds. Unspent funds cannot be rolled over to a subsequent year or event and should be returned to IBRO.
What happens if an event or conference is canceled?
IBRO’s cancellation policy applies to all IBRO-funded programs and activities.
YOUR APPLICATION WAS UNSUCCESSFUL. WHAT NOW?
How should I proceed if my application was unsuccessful?
It is important to note that there is often high competition for IBRO grants and training opportunities. IBRO would encourage you to consider applying to future calls for applications, even if your current application has been unsuccessful.
In order to increase your chances of success for future applications, we would encourage you to view the recording of the 2023 webinar on crafting a successful IBRO grant. You may also wish to check out interviews with past awardees for tips on how to make your application exciting and relevant.
WATCH THE WEBINAR ‘CRAFTING A SUCCESSFUL IBRO GRANT APPLICATION WEBINAR’
To help applicants better write their submissions, in May 2023, IBRO hosted the webinar “Crafting a Successful IBRO Grant Application” and provided an overview of its grant application process, with tips and tricks on how to identify funding opportunities, avoid common mistakes, and craft an outstanding application.
The webinar was hosted by IBRO-APRC chair, Dr. Pike-See Cheah and included the presentations of Dr. George Barreto (IBRO-LARC), Dr. Rachael Dangarembizi (IBRO-ARC), Dr. Fabio Blandini (IBRO-PERC), Dr. Michela Fagiolini (IBRO-USCRC), and Dr. Rebecca Hadid (IBRO Director of Grants and Programs). Two IBRO alumni, Dr. Julio Cesar Morales Medina and Dr. Huong Ha, also shared their inputs on how to prepare a successful application.