HSS Workshop on understanding the grant proposal writing process


The fourth Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Grant Writing Workshop, jointly organised by the Office of Deputy President, Research & Technology (ODPRT) and the Research Division, Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), took place on 22 January 2020. This time, the workshop brought together over 80 participants from across 15 faculties and institutes, including ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. Three guest speakers, Professor Jane M. Jacobs, Professor Audrey Yue, and Associate Professor Leher Singh, advised on the do’s and don’ts of the grant proposal writing process.

Professor Brenda Yeoh, Director of Humanities and Social Sciences Research, opened the session by giving an overview of the major grants that have been awarded to NUS, and the projects and areas of interests for local grantors. She highlighted the diversity of these successful projects, ranging from social science disciplines, such as psychology, to linguistics and theatre studies, illustrating the growing support for humanities research.

In addition to the prestige of being awarded a large grant and what it could reflect on one’s portfolio, Prof Yeoh also drew attention to the more practical advantages of the support that a research grant offers to academics, be it additional manpower or funds to attend conferences and conduct fieldwork.

The three invited speakers, all of whom have submitted successful grant proposals, emphasised the need to persevere in conceiving novel research ideas and proposing them to grantors. Authenticity is imperative when coming up with a concrete proposal and the importance of having a well-planned project proposal, timeline, and budget, to reassure the grantor that the researcher is capable of successfully seeing the project to completion.

Concluding the session, Prof Yeoh encouraged inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary research collaborations, and voiced her plans for more workshops and networking sessions to promote such collaborations and increase interest in grant applications.

The next workshop, to be held in May 2020, will centre on climate change.

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