Are Government Grants a miracle cure?
Researchers in business or research institutes are very astute at finding and applying for grant funding. Usually, this is because grants are not a bonus, but a necessity to continue their work. However, many business grants go untapped by researches because they are not fully aware of their existence or relevance. Business grants commonly support scientific research, innovation, development and commercialisation of new or improved products, processes, devices and services as well as new discoveries and knowledge.
Grants may cause headaches
Despite the billions of dollars poured into government grant programs, understanding exactly where to find this money is often considered an insurmountable task. The Biotech and Pharmaceutical Industries are generally better placed than other industries to find and secure funding, due to prior training and strong competition for funding at tertiary level. However, we are often asked about other support programs, beyond NHMRC, ARC, CRC and the R&D Tax Incentive, where the myriad of programs can be confusing. This is often an untapped field where funding goes to those in the know. Unfortunately, often the best companies miss out because they just weren't in the race. Interestingly, many grant programs promote university business collaboration and even if the funding cannot go directly to the research institute, often the recipient has to spend those funds with the researcher.
Consult your doctor
A proactive approach can really help to cut through the complexity. Building a grant strategy that details all relevant programs is becoming a favoured approach by many organisations. The non-profit community sector has done it for years. Now businesses are applying this approach. It removes the problems of being reactionary by increasing success rates and focusing effort towards the best chances for success. Using GrantGuru an organisation can build a 1-2 year grant strategy. As a result, we find the pressure of immediate grant success is alleviated and the long term approach improves sustainable success, avoiding burn-out and grants fatigue (an undiagnosed disease suffered by writing too many grants late at night with last minute deadlines).
Read before use
Finding an interesting grant program does not guarantee success. It is important to understand the guidelines and any changes to a program. For example: With a greater benefit for companies under the R&D Tax Incentive program, applicants must be careful not to miss the hidden surprises. Increased documentation, rules for overseas R&D and foreign IP ownership rules may disadvantage those that are slow to act. Conversely, a real benefit can be gained with early preparation. With the R&D Tax Incentive one thing is clear - documentation is key. The definition emphasises the requirements for activities to be undertaken according to scientific principals, that is, from hypothesisï¿½... The best way to comply with this definition is with contemporaneous records, especially ones that show a clear aim, experience and results. If you have not implemented a new documentation strategy in line with the new definition, get started!
Relief from pain
A well balanced and strategic approach to grants will ensure you get what you are entitled to, and perhaps even more. Biotechnology or pharmaceutical research always attracts strong funding support, either directly or indirectly. And because research in this area is so well structured and documented, this generally ensures that applications are detailed and well structured. They therefore have a strong chance of successes when applying. Don't let grants create missed opportunities or grief. At the same time, don't apply for every grant that comes along. Take control of your funding future and enjoy your share of the pie.