Research funding proposals – University of Copenhagen

Research funding proposal: Why is it that the text is key but not sufficient for success?

The problem that is recurrent … [is] that you never know what …people judge you on [so getting a grant involves] …having a good angel (Sam). (McAlpine, 2016)

I have met great scientists …that weren’t so lucky [as me] …for whatever reason …they don’t have the same luck in getting some grants …But …these are the rules of the game, I cannot change them. (Greg) (McAlpine et al., 2016)

Getting a grant is often a goal for academics and may as well be an institutional expectation. Yet, success is increasingly elusive given the reduction in funds and the increased competition. It is not surprising then that luck is often invoked as an influence in the results as we see in Sam’s and Greg’s comments. The articles listed below provide a range of perspectives on the research proposal and its genre system. If you have submitted research funding proposals already, you may be interested in analyzing one of them in light of these research findings. 

Your task

Before September 15 2018, please 

  1. Choose three articles and read them through. 
  2. For each article, write a brief response using this structure:

Your name: 

Your responses

Author and article number

The most interesting thing I learned


Questions it raised in my mind

At least two ideas it generated about my own research and practice

  1. Upload your responses.

Before the meeting

  1. Read through others’ responses.
  2. Compare with your own. 


  1. Connor, U. (2000). Variation in rhetorical moves in grant proposals of US humanists and scientists. Text, 20(1), 1 - 28.
  2. Connor, U., & Mauranen, A. (1999). Linguistic analysis of grant proposals: European Union research grants. English for specific purposes18(1), 47-62.
  3. Ding, H. (2008). The use of cognitive and social apprenticeship to teach a disciplinary genre. Written Communication, 25(1), 3-52.
  4. Flowerdew, L. (2016). A genre-inspired and lexico-grammatical approach for helping postgraduate students craft research grant proposals. English for Specific Purposes42, 1-12.
  5. Laudel, G. (2006). The art of getting funded: how scientists adapt to their funding conditions. Science and Public Policy, 33(7), 489-504.
  6. Myers, G. (1985). The social construction of two biologists' proposals. Written communication2(3), 219-245.
  7. Porter, R. (2005). What do grant reviewers really want, anyway? The Journal of Research Administration, 36(2), 47-55.
  8. Tardy, C. (2003). A genre system view of the funding of academic research. Written Communication20(1), 7-36.
  9. Tseng, M.-Y. (2011). The genre of research grant proposals: Towards a cognitive-pragmatic analysis. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 2254-2268.
  10. van Arensburgen, P., & van den Besselaar, P. (2012). The selection of scientific talent in the allocation of research grants. Higher Education Policy, 25, 381-405.