I want to apply for a research grant from a federal/provincial agency. What should I do first?

The first step is to get your ideas down on paper. All granting agencies will want details on the following questions:

  1. What is the problem you want to solve; or what is the question you want to answer?
  2. If you can write this in the form of a specific question, it can help guide your proposal writing. For example “Does using language-learning iPad apps in French as a Second Language class improve student grades and motivation?” or “What is the environmental impact of the disposal of plastic water bottles?”
  3. Why is this problem or question significant and important?
  4. Is this problem or question new? What would be the impacts on Dawson, on your discipline or on society in general if the answer were known?
  5. How will you solve the problem or answer the question?
  6. What concrete, specific steps or activities will you take to answer your question? You can write these as milestones with specific durations. E.g. Milestone 1: Collect and analyze existing data from community organization (3 months)
  7. Why are you the ideal person to address this issue?
  8. What qualifications, experience, attributes do you have that make you and your collaborators capable of doing this work?


Once you can answer all these questions, you can match your project to the appropriate granting agency. Check out our links to agency programs:


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