The wide world of government grants

Australian Governments offer billions of dollars of grant funding over approximately 5,000 programs. To complicate matters, the grants landscape is constantly changing, with programs expiring and emerging daily.

Manufacturers’ Monthly interviewed Dr Bec Barnes, RSM’s national grants manager. Barnes is devoted to helping companies navigate and access Government funding, turning a convoluted grants landscape into strategic dollars at the right time.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you come into the world of Government grants?

I’m actually an engineer with a background in water and wastewater systems. Engineers end up in all kinds of places, and my path led from University lecturing to international aid to professional services.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I’m passionate about water supply for the world’s poorest regions. I spent time researching water supply systems in the Philippines and trying to figure out how to make them last.

I’m also a muso. I run a band for local church events and am one of those people who accumulates recording studio equipment with every intention of making a masterpiece… one day.

Do you love your job?

I do. I’m passionate about what Australian companies can do, and daily see manufacturing businesses producing pioneering products and cutting-edge technology.

My job is to connect these incredible Australians with the funding they need. Very often, a well-placed injection of grant funding is the enabler of a world-changing project.

What makes a good grant application?

First, it’s important to understand what the funding body is hoping to achieve. Good alignment of the project with this (written or unwritten) intent is important.

But secondly, you need to be able to clearly express this alignment in writing, with evidence. A good grants consultant can help in preparing a compelling application.

So who makes a good grants consultant?

In my experience, there’s a particular style of writing that is desired by grant assessors – honest, professional and fact-based. Anyone who can present a project with that kind of clarity is worth their weight in gold.

Project management skills are important too. Very often, grant applications involve large numbers of stakeholders, contributors and deliverables which need to be coordinated to a hard deadline.

These are the qualities of a good grants consultant. But here’s the quality of an excellent grants consultant: They will be passionate about your success. They will work and push and communicate and sacrifice as though your success were their own.

Find one of those, and you won’t look back.

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