If you're in the process of applying for an Inspiring WA STEM grant, consider reading the following tips to increase your chance of writing a successful application. The below will cover some of the areas that applicants lost points for in the National Science Week Small Grant round.
1. Read the guidelines
This one sounds obvious in theory, but as a program that has reviewed many grants, it's not always put into practice. The guidelines are there to tell you the purpose of the grant funding and what the assessors are looking for in your application.
In the case of Inspiring WA grants, the purpose is to increase community engagement with science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) based subjects. When writing your application make sure to mention what the specific STEM topic is that your program highlights and how the community will be encouraged to participate.
The budget guidelines are also important as they tell you what percentage of the requested amount can be spent on certain items. Limits are placed on expenses such as catering and project management to ensure that the bulk of funding is contributed to STEM resources.
2. Writing program outcomes
When outlining your projects intended outcomes, make sure they can be both achievable and measurable. Often, we receive outcomes that state very large and broad goals, we're really trying to find out what you believe the event can achieve in your community.
For example, the outcome 'increase the interest and engagement of STEM in participants' is not measurable and is unlikely to be achieved through one event alone. In comparison 'increase participant awareness of [your event topic] and the local research being undertaken' is achievable and can be measured through evaluation at the end of your event.
3. Diversity in STEM
A poorly answered question in the National Science Week grant was 'How will your event promote the diversity of people working in STEM'. This question is designed to get applicants to consider who will deliver the STEM content, and if that person can serve as a role model for the event's target audience.
Will you have diverse presenters such as a woman working in a STEM profession to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers? Or a speaker to share how traditional land custodians cared for the land. You may simply choose to talk about work or research undertaken by someone from an underrepresented group in STEM. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you explain who you are promoting, not who the event's target audience is.
4. Partnerships and Collaborations
Partnerships come in a variety of forms and often add a lot of value to your events. Value may come in the form of a speaker providing their services in-kind, a venue waiving their fees, marketing through additional channels or shared responsibility of the program management.
You may consider partnering with a local organisation that works with disadvantaged or underrepresented groups to increase their participation at your event.
Applicants that partner with multiple organisations are marked favourably as the assessors can be more certain that the event will be delivered successfully!
5. Event evaluation
In the grant guidelines it is mentioned that Inspiring WA will provide you with a post-event participant survey. While an evaluation tool is provided, it's up to you to collect the evaluation.
The last question of the application asks how you plan to measure the attendance and success of your event. Many fail to answer how they will measure the success. Consider what success is to you, it should include achieving your intended outcomes? Think about how you can collect evaluation from your participants to measure your success.
Looking for more information on grant applications? Check out the series of talks from Inspiring the ACT and Australian Science Communicators - ACT here: Grants and event resources | Inspiring Australia (inspiringtheact.org.au)
If you have any questions about your application, please reach out to email@example.com. Otherwise, we look forward to receiving your application by Friday 16 June 2023, 5pm AWST.
Download the application guidelines and apply here: Inspiring WA STEM Grant