Getting into In-House Grants Editing in Canada: Getting Hired, Managing the Demands, and Reaping the Rewards

People who edit academic research grants are superheroes. They may be less visible than Black Panther or Spiderman, as grants editors work behind-the-scenes—but for a tired, stressed-out researcher, the support of a skilled grants editor can feel life-saving. Who wouldn’t want to be scooped up and carried during a time of need?

Research grants are high-stakes documents. A successful application can be important both professionally and societally. Receiving a grant from SSHRC (the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), for instance, may advance the career of a single author—perhaps they are going up for tenure in a year or two and need to get that monograph out into the world. More broadly speaking, at the level of society, a successful application for government funds could give the green light to undergo important research on how to best support a vulnerable population or to develop a new drug protocol for treating an illness or disease. Research funding is how taxpayers invest in high-quality science and humanities work.  

Research grants editors enable academics to put forward their best work. Grants facilitators help to craft grant proposals so that reviewers feel they just have to fund it. This work includes ensuring the prose is crisp and clear, foregrounding the importance of the research area, and justifying the costs associated with a particular intervention.

Do you think you may be this person—this academic editing superhero?

In this series, I’ve spoken with four in-house grants editors—that is, editors with a range of job titles who are employed at universities and government agencies. My guests for this series of four posts are:

  • Tara McDonald, Manager, Research Grants & Pre-Awards at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto
  • Annie Moore, Research Education and Grant Facilitator at Vancouver Island Health Authority, Victoria
  • Nandini Maharaj, Research and Grant Development, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Brianna Wells, Research Development Officer, University of British Columbia, Okanagan

In this series, you’ll learn how these folks landed their first jobs in grants editing, what sorts of experiences were helpful to their positions as grants facilitators, and challenges and rewards that have come with their jobs. We’ll also see how editing grants proposals is more than being a second pair of eyes on the page and making words sound good. You might be surprised to know that grants editing can also include helping academics shape their research questions in the early stages of a project and making suggestions as to which funding agencies might be the best fit for their proposal.

In these series of posts on in-house academic research grant editing, we’ll cover:

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