GradFund is a grant and fellowship application development service run by a staff of deans, Fellowship Advisors and Peer Mentors. We have a unique staff of graduate and post-doc students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. You may come from Comparative Literature, for example, and book an appointment with an advisor from Spanish, Political Science, or Plant Biology to help with your application.
Working with people from different disciplines and departments is a positive thing. With a different perspective from someone in a different field, you have the opportunity to add a multidisciplinary approach to your writing. From GradFund Advisors and Peer Mentors to other graduate students at Rutgers and beyond, collaboration outside of your field can improve your writing, help you gain great ideas, and provide a wider audience for your research.
At GradFund, we believe in the power of interdisciplinary collaboration. We offer workshops, presentations and mentoring opportunities throughout the year. Fellowship Advisors are available to guide you and other graduate students in our Proposal Writing Bootcamps, and our summer mentoring programs for first and second year students. These programs allow you to work on application and grant writing in a safe space and get invaluable peer review and collaboration with students from other departments. Working closely with other graduate students at Rutgers will improve your own application writing and make it easier to explicitly explain how your research contributes to knowledge in your field and others.
Awards like the Ford Fellowships, Fulbrights, or the NSF awards require very strong and compelling applications. They are highly competitive, so what will you need to stand out from the rest? Another pair of eyes from outside of your field may notice things that you did not see. Having a GradFund Advisor or Peer Mentor read things over may help you change your application to make it more accessible to other readers. Funders will be from other fields than your own. You want to make sure that your words will stand out and be understood by any academic audience.
Taking the time to collaborate with others outside of your discipline can only increase your knowledge and improve the quality of your work. It is beneficial to everyone involved and fosters conviviality among students. Plus, being a graduate student is hard and sometimes very isolating. It can be useful to know you have a circle outside of your department, willing to work with you, and be a positive space to develop new ideas and receive honest criticism and feedback.
What do you think? Please post a comment below and tell us about your experiences collaborating with other students or anything else related to grant writing!