Advice on how to make a good application

The following is some advice to help you make the best possible application for The MPS Foundation Grant Awards. This advice is based on feedback received from Reviewers, last year’s applicants, and our assessment of the reasons why applications were successful or unsuccessful.


We only consider applications that have been submitted through our grant portal therefore make sure that you register to use the portal as soon as possible

Become familiar with our priorities, processes, and timescales

Before starting to work on your application, visit our website and make sure you are familiar with this year's priorities. Consider carefully if your research project will align with the stated MPS Foundation priorities.

Also check that the terms of our Recipient Code of Conduct are acceptable to you.

Allow sufficient time

The timetable for each of our Grant Awards rounds are published on our website and on the Grant Portal. Knowing this will help plan, develop, and acquire all the necessary information to submit a good application in good time. To be fair to everyone we do not accept late applications and the Grant Portal will not allow you to submit or edit an Expression of Interest or Full Application after the closing date and time.

Understand your audience

Your application will be reviewed by members of The MPS Foundation Research Committee members, as well as the Foundation Board. Both the Committee and Board have a wide variety of professional expertise. Make it easy, wherever possible, for them to understand what you are proposing to do and how it aligns with our priorities. Providing a clear rationale for your research with specific aims and well-defined criteria to measure success makes your application good.

We ask that proposals are presented using language that can be understood by a non-professional. This is not because non-professionals are reviewing your application but because it demonstrates that you clearly understand your project and are able to articulate it in a manner that can be understood by all. This is important, because, if you are successful, you may need to explain your project and its deliverables to non-professionals and professionals with different levels of experience and the ability to communicate is very important.

Write a coherent and compelling narrative

Make a persuasive case for your proposal. Be focused and answer our questions directly. Identify the key features of your proposal that aligns to The MPS Foundation’s priorities and write a compelling narrative that would appeal to the audience. Explain why your project and its outcomes are innovative and novel. The assessment panel will only be able to judge what is written in the application, don’t assume that assessors will be able to infer information or that they will know something that to you appears obvious.

Being able to write succinctly and clearly is very important. Do not be afraid to use bullet points. Proofread your submission and ensure that every phrase is important. Unnecessary narrative not only uses up your word count but also distracts the assessors from your more important points.

Justify your methodology

A good application would propose to use the appropriate research methods for the identified research question. Relate the methodology to the aims and the deliverables of your research and show that you have chosen the right methods which would be applied in the right way.

Show that your approach is feasible and acknowledge any weaknesses in your research proposal but explain why it is still worth pursuing. This shows that you understand any limitations of your approach.

Include relevant preliminary work

A good application will include a review of the body of published work as well as findings (if any) from preliminary work that validates your proposed approach for your research project. Unless it is for a systematic review, an application that includes costings for a literature review to support the proposed approach is not viewed as value for money.

The impact of your research

Consider the expected outcomes of your research and how they address the priorities of the MPS Foundation. A strong application would explain who could benefit from the outcomes and have a clear plan to disseminate the findings from the research.

Translation of outcomes into other environments

MPS works cross healthcare and globally. Therefore, showing how the potential benefits of the outcomes of your research project could be translated into other environments would strengthen your application

Put together the right project team

Having the right people within your project team as well as ensuring the right balance of their contribution to the proposed work is important. Please be clear what role each team member will play. Be aware that a project can have too few or too many team members. If there are too few team members, it could be considered that your project will not be delivered; too many and the cost of the proposal is increased for little benefit. Providing evidence to support your choice of team makes your application stronger and gives us the confidence that your project team has what it takes to deliver the work and a return on the MPS Foundation’s investment.

Identify and mitigate the risks

Identify what could go wrong and have a plan of how you would minimise such risks. Including this in your application shows that you a good understanding of your approach and gives us the confidence that you will be able to deliver your proposed research.

Costs and Budget

Knowing what The MPS Foundation will and will not fund will help you to estimate the costs and put together a budget for your project. Include descriptions for items, why they are necessary and how you have calculated their costs. Although you could use your own costing documentation, using the budget template provided by The MPS Foundation makes this section of the application easier.

Are there any ethical considerations for delivering my project?

If you are invited to submit a full application, you will be asked whether your project needs ethical approval or has received ethical approval. New for 2023 we have also asked you to outline the key ethical considerations associated with your project. We are not asking you to submit your ethical approval submission but to understand that you have considered how ethical issues may impact the project and how you will address them.

Are there any potential conflicts of interest to declare?

A conflict of interest or the perception of one may exist within a project for a variety of reasons. Examples are the use of commercial equipment or techniques in the project owned by a project team member, a project team member having a commercial interest in the outcome of the research, or funding from a commercial provider as part of the project that directs and influences the outcome of the project.

Declaring a conflict of interest does not mean that your project will not receive funding, however describing how you will manage it shows insight and integrity and that makes your application stronger.

Peer and Mentor review

Asking others especially your peers, senior colleagues, and mentors to read your proposal can be valuable. Their understanding of your proposal could be an indication of what others may think. Their feedback therefore could help you to clarify and strength your application.

The final checks

Before you submit your application consider all the questions you have been asked and make sure you have answered each one directly. To submit a good application, make sure you proofread, spell check your application and have all requested documents completed and ready to upload.

If you need clarification

If you need any clarification or further information, please contact The MPS Foundation at [email protected]