Research grant applications always come with a page- or word limit. Do you have trouble fitting everything in? What do you do when your (almost final) draft is a few pages over the limit? How do you cut the text in the document back to the required page limit? Here are a few tips:

1. First of all, check that all of the text/information contained within the document is essential. Edit out any text is not required.
2. Second, examine all the diagrams, figures and/or tables in the document, and check that they enhance the text, and are needed. Take out, or simplify/reduce the unnecessary ones.
3. Third, check if all the references are needed, and ensure that the list of references is short and to the point – you are writing a grant application, not a review article.
4. Next, look for any instances where you have been long-winded. If the same thing can be said in a simpler, shorter way, do it.
5. Now read though the entire document again and look for all instances where information, text, or sentences are repeated. If there is no good reason for repeating the information, remove it.
6. Finally, read through the document again, this time looking for (1) unnecessary words, and (2) words that can be abbreviated.

This pruning and trimming process will not only get your text to fit within the required page limit, but also has the added advantage of making your document stronger and more powerful.


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