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Applying for external funding may be easier if you have a funding strategy. If you just apply ad hoc, there is a certain probability that: • you will start late • you will apply slightly randomly and in several different directions within your field of research. The problem with this approach is that you rarely manage to establish a clear profile, a strong CV and sufficient publications within your field to, for example, be able to apply for more profiled funding," says research advisor Mette Meilstrup from the Research Support Office (ARTS/BSS team).

Help with funding strategy
And competition has intensified. For this reason, research advisers from the Research Support Office help researchers at AU to draw up a funding strategy. The process is fairly simple, says Mette Meilstrup:

“The first step is that the researcher submits visions for the future, a CV and a list of publications. The researcher and I then have a chat about the materials the researcher has submitted. This could strengthen the researcher's vision for the future and the purpose of the research, for example, and that alone will provide a clearer direction for what is relevant to apply for.”

Pernille Grøngaard, research librarian, analyses the list of publications with a view to identifying bibliometric markers that may be relevant for the individual application or type of grant. Furthermore, in interaction with a bibliometric analysis, the list of publications will form the basis for organising a publishing strategy prior to future applications. The bibliometric analyses will vary according to the type of application, the subject area and the researcher's seniority. Mette Meilstrup has experienced researchers who focused their research solely on this process.  

Professional help throughout the process
Katja Brøgger, associate professor at the Danish School of Education (DPU), has received help from Mette Meilstrup to prepare a fundingstrategy. She believes that getting a strategy tailored to her profile has been extremely fruitful. "It's been good to get help to think strategically, both in terms of the type of grant and my CV. This makes it easier to work with external funding. And the interactive annual cycle that Mette drew up is very professional. The research advisers are good at thinking in stepping stones – what’s good to apply for now, how can different types of grant build on each other and support career development," says Katja Brøgger. Her experience is that the combination of local research advisers at DPU and a research advisor like Mette Meilstrup from the Research Support Office works very well. They have all helped in the process, for example by translating the genre for the requirements and expectations for each type of grant. She believes that systematic efforts give peace of mind and direction.

Katja Brøgger also thinks that she has benefited from the advisers' input in the actual application processes; for example input about the target group for the application and what has special emphasis in a given type of grant.
“I really think I've been guided and advised very professionally from strategy to application and interview.”

And the work has yielded benefits. Katja Brøgger has just received a Sapere Aude grant and an Inge Lehmann grant.

Help to understand the requirements and mindset of different types of grant
Assistant Professor Miriam Madsen from the Danish School of Education (DPU) has also made use of the opportunity to get feedback on her funding strategy. Unlike Katja Brøgger, she is at the beginning of her research career. But she has been very conscious about being involved in research applications during her PhD because, as she says: “The first grant is the hardest.”

While working on her funding strategy, she received help from Mette Meilstrup to understand the HORIZON programmes, the requirements you should be particularly aware of, how the evaluators think and what she should be applying for in the coming years to be a suitable candidate for an ERC Starting Grant, for example.
“The dialogue with Mette has sharpened my approach, so I’m applying to relevant foundations in the right order, I know about the formalities, I follow up on which articles will be cited, and so on," says Miriam Madsen.

Contact your partner at the Research Support Office to find out more about funding strategies.