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PhD scored DKK 15 million in grants - here are his hot tips

He has got DKK 15 million so far for snake antivenom research and diverse projects. How on earth does he do it? The University Post sent him five questions

You don’t need to be a well known professor to get funds for your research. One PhD at the University of Copenhagen has secured millions in funding for his snake antivenom research and for various ventures within biopharmaceuticals.

So he is probably one of the best people to ask for tips: Andreas Laustsen, a PhD student within the field of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH).

He is currently in Costa Rica doing snake antivenom research, but the University Post talked to him over the phone and by e-mail.

Costs, contingency, risk … and buzz

How much funding have you secured for your research?
“In total, I have raised DKK 15 million for research and entrepreneurial activities. Money has been raised from these foundations [see fact box right, ed.]”

What are your top tips for securing grants?
Andreas Laustsen responds with a list:

-Good track record – show results: hard (measureable) work helps a lot
-Understand who you’re writing to.
-Have a clear vision of how the project results can benefit research, society, and/or humanity.
-[Carry out] specific cost estimates, contingency planning and risk assessment.
-[Use] buzz words [in your application], such as ‘nanotech’
-Have a backup plan.

Quick to the point

Where can students find grant sources?
“Students can find sources by searching online and using ‘Legathåndbogen’. Also is quite good.”

Still, what can people who are new to the process, who have never secured funding before, do to aid their application?
“If you as a student with a limited track record are looking for scholarships (e.g. for exchange studies), then try to focus on the project/exchange itself and what competences you will acquire or what the results will be (so that supporters can see that their money is being spent on something relevant).”

Andreas adds that you should contact superiors informally, while being “quick to the point,” so that your objective is clear, and they know how they can help.

Andreas Laustsen is happy to share his advice. Simply contact him using the email in the fact box right, he says.

Read also about UCPH’s new project tracking tool.

Do you have any further advice on how to get funding for research? Write in the comment field below!

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