Last week I attended an information day in London on upcoming EU R&D funding opportunities for companies active in the development of novel energy technologies. A discussion regarding the added-value of engaging a professional grant writing firm erupted when one participant suggested that only 14% of successful EU funding bids were drafted without professional support.

Unfortunately, the participant was not able to recite the source of this claim for verification. I do however suspect that this figure is not too far off. It suggests 86% of successful EU grant proposals were developed by a professional grant writer.

To be clear, whether a grant writer is an external consultant working on behalf of a client to organise and present their innovative idea, or an in-house grant writing resource directly employed by a member of the project consortium is a moot point.

Having been involved in numerous successful EU and national funding bids, I maintain that the challenge of crafting a successful grant proposal is often beyond individuals whose full-time occupation does not already include elements of fund raising.

Travelling back from the event I noted down the various benefits I believe that my peers and I bring to the bids we support.

(1)          MESSAGING – We help you get your point across!

To pull down funding it is essential to successfully communicate all the benefits you hope to achieve with your proposed innovation, and crucially, why funding will enable you to do so. Moreover, it is necessary to succinctly describe your disruptive innovation concept so it can be understood by a diverse body of assessors (Note. Not all assessors have technical backgrounds!) Fitting this narrative into rigid, space restricted application formats is an art form.  Professional grant writers often come from a communications and/or marketing background, and have perfected the art of storytelling. We make sure every word has maximum impact.

(2)          EXPERIENCE – We’ve been there; we’ve won the t-shirt!

Every funding campaign encounters unknowns that could potentially derail one’s bid. Funding veterans draw on years of experience to identify and resolve these critical path issues early, hereby ensuring that deadline day is (somewhat) stress free. From resolving internal partner disputes, balancing project budgets, to dealing with tricky online submission portals, experienced grant writers are worth their weight in gold during crunch periods.

(3)          RESOURCE – Someone to drive the process from A to B

Funding applications take time to develop – 6 months by some experts’ estimations. Often exciting innovation concepts fail to secure the funding they deserve because the day-to-day business activities of the individual responsible for pulling the bid together got in the way. The raison d’être of the professional grant writer is to deliver bids worthy of funding. Freed from all other distractions, we possess amongst other things the bandwidth needed to coordinate the various moving parts intrinsic to this process.

A final thought

The world’s most successful companies leverage government funding as an instrument with which to grow their businesses. Many of Europe’s best known technology companies already do so. A review of the companies driving the direction of the various European Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) or Joint-Technology Initiatives (JTIs) provides clear evidence supporting this view.

If your organisation’s ambition is to exploit grant funding as a means to achieve its overall corporate objectives, in the same way you might entrust your legal and financial affairs to a subject expert, it seems only logical that you should entrust your engagement with government grant programmes to a professional grant writer.

The next time you are considering entering a funding competition why not give LNE Group a call for a free consultation to explore how we might best support you with our diverse range of processional grant consulting services?