What is the relationship between AI and grant writing?

  • October 20, 2023

Grant writing is a complex process. It involves extensive research, analysis, and proposal preparation. Artificial intelligence (AI) has had increasing emergence in recent years. There has been a growing interest in exploring the relationship between AI and grant writing. AI-powered grant writing tools can aid in identifying funding opportunities, researching funders, and writing proposals. However, they still cannot replace the human eye or expertise in proposal preparation or funding research.

AI and review protocols

AI-powered grant writing tools are widely available in the market today. These tools promise to create a compelling proposal with little to no human intervention and at a cost savings. However, the truth of the matter is that generative AI is still an emerging technology. Its outputs are currently only as good as the data that is put in. This means a poorly thought-out proposal or lack of grant writing expertise can not be overcome simply by using AI.

Federal prohibitions

It should also be noted that some federal funders prohibit their reviewers from using AI to review proposals. The use of online generative AI tools like ChatGPT for peer-review critiques has been prohibited by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Similar to NIH, the Australian Research Council (ARC) has also banned generative AI for peer review after discovering reviews allegedly written by ChatGPT. Other agencies are also developing a response to this issue.

The National Science Foundation of the United States has created an internal working group to investigate the appropriate uses of AI in the merit review process and the necessary “guardrails,” according to a spokesperson. The European Research Council is expected to discuss the use of AI in both proposal writing and evaluation. These actions clearly indicate that the future of proposal preparation ethics and law regarding AI is uncertain.

Despite the growing popularity of AI-powered grant writing programs on the market, the technology is still nascent and requires a great deal of human intervention to craft a competitive proposal. AI is a great assistive tool that can aid in the automation of certain processes related to grant writing. However, it does not replace human expertise in funding research or proposal preparation.

Key takeaways

Small business owners seeking grant funding and curious about the relationship between grant writing and AI should keep in mind that while AI-powered tools and platforms can be helpful, they still require human expertise to be truly effective. By combining their skills with the latest AI-powered tools and techniques, grant writers can create winning proposals that stand out in a crowded field.


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