Advice from the Adjudicators
The Adjudication Committee felt it would be helpful to point out some solutions to common omissions or mistakes they see every year on applications:
- Clearly describe your hypothesis (hypotheses).
- Clearly describe your methods and explain why you chose them.
- Don't try to "wow" the reviewers/adjudicators with numerous models. It's better to show you understand one or a few models than to spout off a list of models.
- Make sure your chosen methods will answer your hypotheses.
- Justify your sample size.
- Be explicit about co-variates - what are you controlling?
- Do not take on too much. It causes the adjudicators to doubt you can complete the project.
- Demonstrate a knowledge of the relevant literature to your project. University librarians are your friends! How is the literature informing your decisions in your project?
- Do not stuff your budget. An accurate, thoughtful budget demonstrates competent project management. This does not mean you have to budget to the penny; reasonable rounding is okay.
- This program is funded by Alberta Conservation Association. Two of the adjudicators are researchers with the ACA. It's wise to be familiar with ACA's mandate when considering if this is the grant program for you and in thinking about your proposal.
- It's a lot to ask in a small space, but remember your proposal needs to show the reviewers and adjudicators why filling the research gap you've identified is important to our understanding of biodiversity, and why your project is the best way to acquire this information, and that you are going to be able to take your project to completion if you receive funding.
The adjudicators selected some excellent sample proposals from recent competitions to assist applicants in putting together their own applications. Please note that these samples are not templates, they are provided to assist you in formatting your own proposal. Different projects will have to emphasize different things, and adjudicators change from year to year. ACA appreciates the cooperation of the sample proposal writers in using these documents.