There seems to be a lot of confusion around the pre-application. Allow us to clarify and offer some pre-application tips!
The purpose of the pre-app is to convey the aim of the proposed research to the Scientific Advisory Board without making the researcher submit a full-length application, saving the researcher (and us) some time. It’s essentially an application before the application. “Application-ception,” if you will.
We caught up with PCC Executive Director, Michael Pearlmutter , aka the man who reviews all the pre-applications, and asked him some questions to help elucidate the process.
What is a pre-application?
The PCC scientific grant and fellowship applications are divided into two stages. The first stage, the pre-application, is designed to provide a short summary of the project. It is meant to be the “elevator pitch” summary and really gets to the research goals and preliminary design of the project plan. It allows the PCC Scientific Advisory Board to vet applications for research applicability and alignment to our research priorities thereby making sure that applicants are only investing the extensive time required in preparing and submitting a full application if there is a realistic chance of funding success.
Why not just have one application?
We have the two-stage process to be respectful of the investigator’s time and to maximize the likelihood that projects are funded. Through vetting a shorter pre-application first, we are able to fund 30-40% of projects that make through the full application stage.
What’s the advantage of turning the pre-application in early?
There are a few advantages of submitting your pre-application ahead of the deadline. The most obvious being that it provides more time to work on the full application, which is more time-intensive. The PCC aims to turn around the pre-applications in a timely manner. Further, it also allows us to provide prompt constructive feedback on the pre-application, as we are inundated with applications on deadline day.
Are all applications reviewed at the same time or are they reviewed as they’re submitted?
Pre-applications and micro-grants  are reviewed as they are submitted. Turnaround time can be as quick as 24-48 hours. Full applications are reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Board  and approved by the Board of Governors approximately 2-3 months after the full application deadline.
Will I get feedback on a pre-application if I submit well before the deadline?
It depends. While it is sometimes challenging to provide feedback on every application we receive, the PCC tries to do exactly that. Pre-applications that are received ahead of the deadline may receive feedback, may just receive approval to advance to the full application deadline, or a combination of both.
Does submitting an application early increase my chances of getting funded?
No. While it may give investigators an opportunity to improve their full application by incorporating feedback, it does not increase the chances of funding success. If the investigator does receive feedback, he or she is highly encouraged to incorporate the feedback into their full application.
Okay, I won’t wait until the last minute to submit my pre-application. Do you have any practical tips?
For the pre-application, it is most important to make sure that the project addresses a need in anti-doping by meeting one or more of the PCC research priorities  with concise research objectives. For full applications, demonstrated success by providing preliminary data, clear experimental design and hypothesis are very important to have a successful application. Research proposals which convince the Scientific Advisory Board they are going to be successful and make a meaningful impact are more likely to be funded.
Where can I go for more information and tips for my application?
Our Application Center  has links to important resources about the application process. We often publish grant tips, pre-application tips, general tips, and other relevant information on Twitter,  YouTube , Facebook , and LinkedIn .