What is a researcher's motivation for writing a grant application? DrugMonkey thinks that the motivations can be put into three categories: "grants of obligation, grants of necessity, and grants of desire." Grants of obligation are written when you have to satisfy an obligation to someone else, like a group project or support for a research conference, DrugMonkey says. Necessity grants are motivated by the need for funding, to keep a lab going or to keep a key staff member. And grants of desire, he adds, are motivated by wanting to answer a specific question or to follow a personal research interest. There can be overlap. "You never have only one motivating reason for writing a grant application and in some senses 'Necessity' is always part of the picture," DrugMonkey says. But whatever the motivating factor, it is almost never associated with a better or worse chance of writing a good grant, getting a good review, or better results. "I have for sure written some real clunkers that arose out of my fondest heart's desire, scientifically speaking," he says. "And while I'm hesitant to review my own writing, I would be loath to claim that any of these three factors lead me to prepare my best or worst applications that I've ever submitted."
So, Daily Scan readers, what motivates your grant writing?