Dr. Sera Young Shares Experiences on Research Grant Acquisition Skills

The Directorate of Research Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC) in collaboration with the Northwestern University, United States of America, has organised a seminar on the topic “The link between household water insecurity and food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, and the story behind how this work was funded.”

Speaking at the seminar, Dr. Sera Young who is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, took participants through  key three areas of her research work   namely Food Insecurity, Household level Water Insecurity, and Grant Sourcing

Dr. Young noted that throughout her research, she has learnt some lessons which had helped to develop her skills to acquire grants for her works. She said the first lesson was to listen to interesting problems worth researching into. She said the problem should be peculiar to attract funding to carry out.

Dr. Young also said researchers should be able to identify funding institutions or organisations that were interested in their ideas and talk to them. She noted that most of the funding organisations have their interest and therefore, the researcher should find out whether the topic or area of study falls within their domain before sending their proposal.

Another area she noted was extremely important for sourcing for grant was to develop specific aims stressing that “you need to get your conceptual framework for the research work right”.  Dr. Young said one needed to be patient when sourcing for grant saying “It takes time, let your ideas gestate”. She said it took her about two years to secure funding for her research work on “How food insecurity may shape maternal and Child health”. She, therefore, reminded researchers to acknowledge the fact that “rejection is part of the process”.

 According to her, there were a number of times that her research proposal were rejected by funding organisations. She advised researchers to keep on shaping their proposals even if they were not accepted and submit them to other funding organisations. In order to avoid the unfortunate situation of rejection by funding organisations, Dr. Young advised researchers to carefully read through their  proposal before applying.