Grants differ widely in what materials they ask applicants to submit, but what they all have in common is that they are very particular. The best way to disqualify yourself for research funding is to not follow directions. I usually make a checklist in my task manager, Asana, that has a subtask for each requirement of the application. That way I can keep track of the materials I have finished writing, editing, or collecting and visualize what's left to get done. A checklist is also handy at the very end, right before submission, to double check that the application is complete.
Here is a list of the most common materials that grant applications request:
1. Cover Letter: A grant cover letter differs little from one you would submit as part of a job application. It's an opportunity to highlight the most relevant parts of your CV and argue why your research should be funded. The best cover letters are concise, persuasive, and demonstrate confidence in your ability to accomplish the project goals.
2. Curriculum Vitae (CV): The CV is a resume on steroids. It includes all of the academic attainments accumulated over the course of a career, including degrees, publications, honors and awards, conference presentations, courses taught, and professional affiliations. I've seen some senior scholars whose CVs are over 20 pages. Mine is three pages, but it'll get there...
3. Proposal: This document explains a) your research project, b) what you want to do with the grant money, and c) who will benefit from the project and why? Usually there is a page limit, so writing a grant proposal is a way to practice concision.
4. Bibliography: Grant applications sometimes ask for you to include a bibliography of other work related your research. A bibliography demonstrates to the selection committee that your work is engaged with current arguments or is rooted in the classic, foundational texts on the topic. Conversely, if you are applying for a grant slightly outside your field and the selection committee may not necessarily be familiar with the topic, it can help them contextualize your project.
5. Recommendations: It is rare that a grant application does not ask for at least one letter of recommendation from a colleague, advisor, or dissertation committee. Ostensibly these individuals know your work better than anyone and can best describe the status of the project and its relevance to a particular aspect of historical scholarship. The general convention is that the letters of recommendation are submitted directly by the writers to the granting institution and are not seen by the applicant. It's very important to ask trusted advisors to write on your behalf, and to make sure that they are happy with your progress!
Has anyone seen other materials requested in a grant application?