Are all grants writers the same?

If you are looking for support in the grant writing process, hiring a dedicated grant writer can significantly streamline the application process, reduce the amount of time that you need to allocate and significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome. However, are all grant writers the same? In short, the answer is no, and finding a good one can be harder than you think.

By Olaf Swanzy, Managing Consultant.

What makes a good grants consultancy?

Starting with the question – what makes a good grants consultancy? There are three main attributes that you should look for:

  1. A proven track record. You need to find a consultancy with specific expertise in the target scheme with clear testimonials from other companies supported. Upon initial engagement, you need to be convinced of the consultant’s in-depth knowledge of success factors, grant request optimisation through to the way that applications are assessed. Their due diligence of your project and their willingness to support you should also be extremely robust.
  2. A company that not only will help you write the grant but one that will help position the project in the right way. Guidance around the work plan, the market need, and the project innovations, are all critical inputs that a good consultancy should be able to help you with – also identifying gaps in information and areas of weakness.
  3. A good consultancy is one that will guide inputs across all sections. This will depend on the level of writing support agreed but if engaged on a full writing basis the allocated consultant should streamline the amount of time that you need to put into the process. Once the project has been thoroughly qualified and contractual terms agreed, the typical process should involve a kick off meeting to enable the consultant to extract the core information required to write the bid, with some follow up for the delivery of supplementary information e.g. budget breakdown, the remaining time should be spent reviewing drafts prepared by the consultant.

We believe that to be successful a grant application should be truly tailored to the applicant and project. For schemes such as the Smart Grants competition, this is even more critical not only based on the high levels of competition but also the reduced word counts following its relaunch in July 2022.

Our three key success factors

So, what makes PNO different to any other consultancy? We attribute our success rates and positive client feedback to three key factors:

  1. A 20-year track record of working with the major national funding bodies such as Innovate UK (Technology Strategy Board as it was formerly known) has provided us with unique insight of all major UK national programmes. Each year we submit over 120 Innovate UK bids across both thematic and open programmes. This provides us with unique insight into 120 sets of assessor feedback which is then translated into the way that we position and draft applications – meaning that our writing approach continuously evolves.
  2. We pride ourselves on careful project selection. Our success rates are high not only based on scheme knowledge but a thorough assessment of a client’s project prior to engagement. If we decide to work with you, it is because we truly believe that the concept has a high chance of success.
  3. Our service model is tailored to suit your needs with a package of support that takes into account multiple factors such as the target scheme, the number of partners involved, the level of background information available that can be used in the writing process and your grant writing experience.

How PNO can support you

The UK team has a strong track record in securing some of the most competitive national and European grants on behalf of its clients, with a full understanding of how a project should be presented to stand the highest chance of success. Each year in the UK alone, we are responsible for the submission of more than 120 funding applications across all sectors and priority areas. Based on this extensive experience, through careful project selection and using key insight into how a project should be best positioned, we consistently achieve success rates that are more than 5 times the typical success rates for UK national schemes and EU programmes.

For further information or to discuss a project idea you can contact us on 0161 488 3488; email  or submit an online enquiry here.