Wins and successes

Many grant editing companies play into the rhetoric of wins and successes as the staple measure of their clients’ return-on-investment. It’s a tempting rhetoric, but we think the picture is more complex than that. For one, the quality of what we produce depends on the quality of what you send us to edit. While we can help push a near-miss proposal over the funding line by jazzing up its story and pitch for the next submission round, we cannot magically transform a mediocre submission into a winning bid. Put differently, editing cannot mask underdeveloped candidates or ideas, but it can make those who are ready shine brighter, and soar higher.

But first things first! For those who delight in the juicy numbers of cash secured by winning grants and awards, below are some lists of recent successes from clients we worked with. Our input varies: we provide either editorial (text-based) or personal support (via interview coaching with shortlisted teams and team leaders in the lead-up to their selection interviews in Canberra), or both editing and coaching combined. Interview coaching was provided for the two big ARC Centres of Excellence listed below, for example.

We’ve helped clients secure a total of $67.6 million in grants, fellowships, prizes, and awards over the last few years. And that’s only the money side of things. Consider the symbolic currency of winning prizes and awards: immeasurable!

Recent ARC and NHMRC wins we supported:

  • 2 x ARC Centres of Excellence: $53.4 million
  • 2 x NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence: $4.99 million
  • 1 x NHMRC Partnership Projects: $1.05 million
  • 2 x NHMRC Project Grants: $1.42 million
  • 8 x ARC Discovery Projects: $3.51 million
  • 1 x ARC DECRA: $329,287

Prize and award wins

  • Victorian Young Tall Poppy Science Awards: 12 wins
  • Eureka Prizes: one for Scientific Research, one for Excellence in Data Science, and one for Infectious Disease Research, $30,000
  • B/HERT (Business and Higher Education Round Table) Awards: 4 wins, 1 shortlisted, $40,000
  • Sylvia and Charles Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship: 2 wins, $2.45 million
  • Victoria Fellowship & AFAS Associate Award: 1 win, $23,000.00
  • L’Oreal Australia & New Zealand for Women in Science Fellowship: 1 win, one shortlisted, $25,000
  • ACS Digital Disrupter Award: 1 win
  • The Tom Trauer Evaluation and Research Award: 1 win
  • Victorian Young Achiever Awards: 1 win, 1 finalist, $2,000
  • Homeward Bound: 1 win
  • ATSE Fellowships: 3 successes
  • Bethlehem Griffith Research Foundation Young Researcher of the Year Award: 2 wins, $10,000
  • FameLab Award: 1 state win, 2 shortlisted
  • Victorian Honour Roll of Women: 1 win
  • Churchill Fellowship: 1 win, $22,000
  • Veski Victorian Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: 1 win, 1 shortlisted, $300,000.00
  • Premier’s Sustainability Award: 1 finalist
  • Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year: 1 win

“So what’s your success rate?”

We get it. This frequently asked question signals clients’ need to consider return on investment in editing. A wise concern! But what outcome do you classify as a worthy “return” on your investment? Is it just wins, or is there more to the notion of success?

How about improved rankings of a proposal over a previous season, even if it is not funded yet – does that count as success? Or how about a researcher walking away transformed from the editing collaboration, equipped not only with a reworked text but with new skills and knowledge for how to improve any future text they will author, when external help is not available?

We think such positive developmental outcomes are worthy of investment too, and some clients explicitly approach us with this idea in mind. Indeed, we find that clients seek editing for two different reasons:

1. To increase the likelihood of a win (here, editing serves an extrinsic goal).

2. To develop their own or others’ ideas and skills (here, editing is intrinsically useful as a learning and development process).

We work differently with each of these two groups, for important reasons.

In for a win?

If your main desired outcome from coaching or editing is an increased likelihood of winning a particular grant or award, then our conversation with you will revolve around two core concepts: excellence and readiness.


Are your or your cohort’s submissions highly competitive? If you are in for a win, you will only send us the best material and candidates to work with.


Are you or your cohort willing to engage in a creative, challenging revision process that requires time, commitment, and an open mind? We are not the fast food outlet of grant reviewers. We go right into the depth of a text and transform it in a hands-on fashion, taking into account a range of criteria (literary, psychological, scientific, strategic) to re-work structure and narrative for enhanced impact over a period of 3 to 4 weeks per text.

Your success rate impacts ours

There is a lot you can do to ensure your success rate is as high as it should be before you bring us in as coaches and consultants. We have worked with some amazing Faculties whose internal selection and mentoring process is so good that their grant and fellowship success rate sits at 30% for most ARC and NHMRC schemes – and that’s before they bring in any external help!

These admirable examples show that much responsibility and influence over outcomes lies with the academic institutions that oversee their researchers’ submissions. Before you bring us in as editors, we can coach you on how to enhance your Faculty or Department’s “grant strategy”, internal selection processes (who gets to submit, and who is discouraged?), as well as mentoring mechanisms that provide effective and transformative feedback to promising candidates.

Please contact us to discuss success-focused coaching and editing opportunities for your group.

Or is development the goal?

Why do we sometimes accept proposals for coaching and editing that we deem to be uncompetitive? Isn’t that lowering our success rate unnecessarily? Yes, in a sense! But we don’t view success in such simplistic terms. An uncompetitive proposal could come from a very promising candidate – the art is to develop this candidate’s potential, not just their text. If and only if clients share this viewpoint will we offer coaching and editing with a developmental outcome in mind.

Who to develop

Think new, incoming academic staff members from overseas, who need to become familiar with the Australian research funding landscape – we can be part of your supportive “welcome wagon” in on-boarding them, for a smooth integration into your Faculty or Department. Or think editing for promising early career researchers, who’ve got great ideas but lack experience in pitching them to a funding body.

Or think supporting a cohort of female researchers through targeted coaching and editing, to ensure their successful transition into senior leadership roles in the STEMM disciplines and beyond. The opportunities to formulate developmentally focused outcomes are endless, but the idea remains the same: the experience of coaching and editing generates new knowledge and skills that benefit the candidate longer-term, beyond the immediate context of a certain grant or award submission.

Please contact us to discuss developmental coaching and editing opportunities for your group.