Mandy Sainty, Research and Development Manager at COT, reflects on why taking the time to apply for funding can pay dividends
Funding is undoubtedly tight for many organisations, and this can mean that even relatively small scale activities for CPD, education or research, just don’t get further than a wistful idea.
Applying for competitive funding might not be something that you have considered. This might be because you feel you just don’t have the time, you are not aware of funding that may be available, or even think that you wouldn’t be in with a chance. However, taking that first step and completing, for example, an application for a COT Annual Award can be a really valuable experience and may pay dividends.
Application forms are not necessarily complicated, but you do need you to be able to express yourself clearly and have taken careful note of the guidance available. Setting SMART targets (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) is a skill in itself but worth doing well – it can make the difference between being successful or not in your application. It can certainly focus the mind when you need to set out what you want to do, why, and the outcomes you are aiming to achieve from an activity.
If this has set you thinking about a CPD activity you have had in the back of your mind that you would like to undertake, but which needs some financial support, don’t hesitate. Right now could be the perfect time for you to take that step on to the ladder.
The current funding round for the COT Annual Awards has nine different awards available for activities being undertaken in 2016. It is worth exploring each category to see what they offer, for example supporting you to present on your research overseas, to conduct an innovative project or service evaluation in your work place, or to carry out some research. You can read reports from previous successful award applicants (members only link) which outline the activity for which funding was awarded and give an insight into the benefits of receiving an award.
In terms of getting onto that initial rung on the competitive funding ladder, for some a COT Award may be a one-off that makes a real difference personally and professionally. For others it may kick start the first of many applications made during the course of a research career. There is no time like the present so submit an application and see what doors an award can open for you.
The closing date for the 2016 COT Annual Awards funding round is 17:00 Friday 11th December 2015.