Everyone says writing a grant isn’t easy and I suppose that’s partially true. Writing a grant does take hard work, but to me the challenge is in writing a grant that will actually get funded! Lots of grants get written by experts in their field, yet I’ve been told only around 10-20% of submitted SBIR grants receive funding.
What I’m going to say is simply my opinion. Emil and I (Tommy) have never written a grant application before – this was our first try. I am proud to say we have a 100% success rate in grant writing, but since our sample size is a bit small it isn’t a very good metric of how good we actually are at it! I also don’t intend this as bragging as I am primarily excited in the ability and resources we now have to develop and commercialize our technology.
So why did we succeed? I have a two-part answer to that. First, I truly believe we have a world-changing technology that needs to be deployed on a global scale. Second, which is the part I actually want to focus on, is our perspective.
What do I mean by perspective? In this case I’m specifically talking about our mindset and ability to communicate our technology and it’s potential. It’s my opinion that many brilliant academics are excellent in explaining the technical aspects and details of their work, but they often struggle with the business-end of the technology and understanding of how to commercialize it. This is not a criticism, but a recognition that brilliant technology needs business experts on the team to get it from the lab into the real-world.
I am fortunate for the team we have. Emil and I both have business backgrounds, which I feels allows us to properly define a business model around a technology and understand the path to commercialize it.
I feel our accomplishment is partially based on this skill-set accompanied by the guidance of our advisor Sonia. She really helped us understand what examiners look for when reviewing grants and the type of language that is necessary to succeed. Without this I’m not sure if we would have been awarded the grant!
I realize in this blog post I have deviated from our crazy grant writing story. It felt important however to share some insight on the writing process, but I promise I’ll wrap up the story in my next post!