Boost your funding, publication, and career

Thanks to tips from journalism, marketing, & design

Do your papers and proposals get rejected because you don't use proven methods from journalism & marketing?

If you're like most researchers, you've learned to design papers, proposals, talks, CVs… on the job, by scraping tips from advisers and colleagues.

These methods often feel old - reviewers are tired from reading clichés such as "We will use interdisciplinary, cutting-edge, innovative methods". At best, they skim over them, at worse they get annoyed.

But what can you do instead?

Evidence-based methods inspired from journalism, marketing & design

Fortunately, help is available from industries that have over 100 years' experience in presenting convincingly: marketing, journalism, and design. In this site and blog, you will find proven methods to design compelling research proposals, papers, talks, CVs… derived from these industries and adapted to research.

These methods are evidence-based, unlike the tips you learned from colleagues. Did you know there are dozens of articles that analyze funding panels and how they take their decisions? With this information, it became possible to design writing methods that maximize your chances of success based on objective criteria.

Won't borrowing writing methods from journalism denature research?

Isn't the science the most important? If I apply writing methods inspired by marketing and journalism, don't I denature the science and reinforce the current focus on soundbites?

In a word: no. Even if funding were plentiful and competition non-existent, you would still need to write and present your work clearly to non experts. It's a particularly hard skill – it took you years to learn some techniques or concepts, so you can't just hope to convey them to non-specialists by snapping your fingers. You need all the help you can get!

And ‘marketing’ isn't a dirty word; it's the art, or science, of convincing. It can be used for good or bad, and here you'll use it for good. Besides, putting a bit of journalism and design in your work is fun and refreshing – and we need this, because research can be a slog at times, can't it?

But don't take my word for it - browse through the testimonials below from researchers from all fields and career stages.

Picture of Tilman Grunewald

The book helped me realize that I made it difficult for reviewers to support me.

I had attended a course by the author to prepare an ERC application, which was successful, and the ideas it exposed, further developed in the book, were really a eureka moment for me.

I read the book in one sitting during a flight. It has a simple structure, easy to follow because it's clear where each chapter is aiming and the chapters are well linked. The book gives you the tools to develop a ‘mechanistic’ way of writing your proposals. By using a few, well laid-out elements and assembling them around a clear idea, you can create an easy-to-read and impactful proposal. And improve any kind of writing, not just proposals.

I realized that in many instances I made it more difficult than needed for the reviewers of my proposals to support me. The book provided me with a quick-to-implement toolkit to write simpler, better proposals. At first I had a resistance towards throwing many beloved practices of writing overboard! But after comparing the initial and final grant applications, it's easy to see the difference…’?

Tilman Grünewald

Team leader, Fresnel Institute, Marseille, France

What makes "Keys to funding | The 80/20 System" series different?

The one thing that separates More Time For Research from other websites devoted to researchers is its focus. Whether you want to design a proposal, a CV, or a clear figure, you will only need to focus on a few aspects – the most important ones.

Instead of a mountain of information, every topic has been decomposed into its main components – especially those that are often overlooked or misunderstood by researchers. You will only need to focus on optimizing these aspects – and thus by doing 20% of the effort, you will get 80% of the results.

As a researcher, I’ve been to plenty of meetings organized by the University to help us get funded and published. They always said the same things: “you must stand out"; "you must tell a story". These tips were useless to me – what I wanted to know was how to stand out, or what story I could tell in my articles or proposals.

Now, after having worked for many years in research funding, management and communication, I know precisely how researchers can differentiate themselves and what stories they should tell. And what to focus on when giving a talk, initiating a collaboration, or passing a hiring or funding interview. This is what I want to share with you through this website.

Where to start

Start with the guide Writing clearly for non-experts. It's a short guide you can read in one sitting. It tells you the three most important points to ensure clarity for non-experts, without denaturing the science. It will help you design funding applications, articles, and talks. Click to get the guide Writing clearly for non-experts.

About the Newsletter

The newsletter will give you many counter-intuitive but highly efficient tips on all aspects of communicating your work – from "How to clarify any research document" to "The main points to discuss when initiating a collaboration". Each tip is short, you've probably never heard the advice it contains, and it will give you food for thought, I promise. I'll hope you'll have as much fun reading them as I've had writing them and I am sure you will remember them. Browse through some posts here and judge by yourself. All past posts are searchable on the blog.

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