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Preparing a Successful Grant Proposal

A Summary of 
the GSAC Colloquium
on Sept. 4, 2001
Presented Jointly by

Aaron Bertram, Graeme Milton,
Cindi Phillips & Anurag Singh

Please click on each speaker's name to see his/her portion of the presentation.


Portion presented by Aaron Bertram

Consider the following titles (for a grant proposal):

  • Classification of log del Pezzo Surfaces with no more than four non-Gorenstein Singularies.
  • A Proof of the Riemann Hypothesis.
The above titles may very well suggest an excellent thesis or paper.

However, as titles of grant proposals, they are likely to be too myopic or "microscopic".  Unlike theses or papers, which are very well focused, a grant proposal should offer perspectives.  It should explain:

    • the importance of the proposed research,
    • how it fits in with the work of other researchers,
    • the proposer's own point of view and new ideas.


A grant proposal may include:

    • conjectures of how certain particular proofs (speaking of pure mathematics research proposals) might proceed.
    • a variety of proposed problems of varying difficulties; classify them into short-term, medium-term and long-term projects.
    • an outline of your mathematical research in the next few years.



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Department of Mathematics
University of Utah
155 South 1400 East, JWB 233 
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0090 
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