My Grant Funding competition has stages, what does this mean?

Grant Funding Stages

Whilst many grant funding competitions are run using a single-stage process there are some which require an additional stage of assessment. This is normally because the funding body wants to make sure the most promising projects are funded supported by a fully prepared consortium.

There are two common approaches taken.

  • Two-stage application
  • Interview stage

Two-stage Grant Funding application

Some competitions run two phases or stages of application. This can be subcategoriSed into those which run two funded phases and those which run two application stages (with no intermediate funding).

SBRI competitions are a typical example of the former. Many, all though not all, SBRI competitions are set up with a Phase 1 feasibility study and a Phase 2 development project. To access the larger development funding applicants must first pass and complete Phase 1 feasibility. Competitions are designed this way to ensure the funding body has a good awareness of promising technologies and a strong understanding of the technology and project team before committing additional funds. The application process for both Phases typically follows the same format, with additional details requested at Phase 2 and supported by the Phase 1 report.

NIHR, for example, runs two stages of application before committing to funding. This approach allows applicants the opportunity to respond to assessor feedback and iterate their development plan.

Interview Stage

Some competitions run an interview stage to allow the top technically assessed proposals the opportunity to present their technology, project, and business case to the funding body. Interview stages are often included for competitions looking to support larger projects, for example, demonstrator funding, APC, or Biomedical Catalyst Early/Late-stage funding. Funding bodies need to ensure they are spending money on projects that are well thought through and backed by a strong team to provide the best chance of successful commercialisation after project completion.

The interview offers consortia the opportunity to present their business case and answer questions from the interview panel. The specific requirements for an interview are outlined in the competition brief and, if invited, applicants will also receive direct communication regarding the interview process.

Two stages plus an interview

The EIC Accelerator is an example of a competition which runs two applications stages plus an interview before funding is agreed. Horizon Europe applications are a big undertaking, so this staged approach is designed to provide a less onerous route to funding for SMEs. The first stage is a shorter application touching on the main areas of the project. If successful, the larger application then goes into significantly more detail. Finally, the interview stage is used to select the funded projects.

How TBAT can help with Grant Funding Stages

TBAT will highlight the application process to potential clients to make sure all parties have a good understanding of requirements before proceeding with an application. TBAT can help compile responses to feedback requests and can support preparations for an interview stage. At TBAT we understand how the pressure of an interview differs from that of a written application and can help our clients prepare through presentation templating and review, interview preparation, and Q&A practice. Contact us to arrange a call.

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