Workshop Writing Successful Grant Proposals

Location: Erasmuc MC

Click here for details of programme
This course is fully booked! You can still register, but will be placed on a waiting list.

Workshop Writing Succesful Grant Proposals

A One-Day Practical Workshop 
including a pre-workshop assignment (which is obligatory!).

Writing a research proposal to apply for a grant requires skill. You are bidding for what is a limited amount of public funding, and you need to convince the funding agency that it is precisely your project, which should be awarded a grant. You need to show that your project will be successful and, more importantly, you need to demonstrate that your project will be finished on time. You also need to persuade the agency involved that you – you, and not the hundreds of competitors and rivals - are the one for the job.

Aim of the workshop
This workshop aims to give you the background and tools you need to write a successful grant proposal. Experts/speakers from various backgrounds will give you information and tips on how to structure your proposal. We will also look at some of the following questions:

  • What does a reviewer look for in your proposal?
  • How do you "sell” your project to him or her?
  • Why is it so important that your abstract is well-written, well thought out and interesting?
  • What happens if you are rejected first time around?
  • How do you re-write your proposal?

The focus of this training day is on practice rather than theory (though we’ll touch on some theoretical matters). You will be divided into two groups, and will receive feedback on the abstract of your own proposal, from two experts and your peers. We have chosen to focus on the abstract relating to your proposal, because once you have written your  abstract you are half-way writing your proposal: writing a clear and interesting abstract forces you to think your project through carefully, and to structure your thoughts and the text. Reviewers start by reading the abstract relating to a proposal. 

Completing the preliminary assignment before the workshop is obligatory for participating in this workshop!     

Practical Exercises (feedback on participants’ abstracts) 
The two practical exercises in the program will be done in groups of 8 participants. Two teachers, Prof. Dr. Frank Grosveld and Dr. Joy Burrough, will coach both groups. Prof. Dr. Frank Grosveld will look at the content of your abstract; Dr. Joy Burrough at the way your abstract is written (the English). The program consists of the following four parts:

  1. Reading the abstracts (with the help of a projector)
  2. A short presentation of each summary by its own author, followed by a discussion of the summary. The teacher and all of the participants give the author suggestions for improvement.
  3. The author takes notes as he/she receives feedback. The same person must then incorporate at least three of the points raised in a revised version of the abstract.
  4. Writing down the conclusions of sheets to present in the whole group.

The aim of this exercise is not only to give participants practice in constructing abstracts relating proposals and justifying them, but also to provide them with the skill to accept constructive criticism professionally.

To participate in the workshop, it is necessary that you complete the pre-workshop assignment in order to participate.

Preliminary Assignment:
before the workshop starts, you are asked to do a practical assignment in order to prepare yourself for the workshop. As you will be working with this material during the workshop, this assignment is compulsory. Please make sure to reserve enough of your time to compose the text on beforehand: (at least) 2 days! Should you not complete the assignment in time, you will unfortunately not be able to take part in the workshop.  
Think of your research proposal and answer the following three questions in one sentence:

  • Why this project?
  • Why me?
  • Why will my project be finished on time?

2) Then, bearing the answers to these questions in mind, write a 250-word summary (abstract) of your research proposal. Please follow the instructions below carefully. Please closely read the included guidelines for reviewers JDRF/NIH before you start writing. They will give you an idea of how reviewers read grant proposals.

Divide up your summary into the following sections:

  1. Title
  2. Background.
  3. Hypothesis
  4. Aims
  5. Methods
  6. Expected results and impact/relevance
  7. The environment should also be made evident in the project/abstract 
    So essentially: "Why me and why now".

If possible, make sure to make it explicit what each paragraph is about. So if you are describing the aim of your project, say, for instance: "the aim of my project is to…."


Audience and participation
This workshop is open to PhD students and postdocs of the MolMed Postgraduate School and other schools and universities who are writing or about to start writing a grant proposal for a grant program, such as "Veni” (NWO) or any other funding body. Because of the practical nature of the workshop, a maximum amount of 16 participants can take part.

The Postgraduate School Molecular Medicine organizes together with ZonMW this one-day Workshop.

Date, Time & Location

Full participation is  0,5 ECTS.


Course fees:
If not otherwise indicated, Erasmus MC PhD courses are free for Erasmus MC PhD candidates and Research Master students who use them as electives. Erasmus MC employees pay €100/day. External PhD candidates pay €100/day. Commercial and other external participants pay €200/day. There is one fee for the entire course, there is no reduction for partial participation.

Cancellation policy:
Erasmus MC Graduate School charges a cancellation fee of €75 for all cancellations made more than 22 days before the start of the course. Fifty percent of the course fee, with a minimum of €75, is due for cancellations made between 21 and 10 days before the start date. The full course fee is due for cancellations made less than 10 days before the start date, or in case of no-show without cancellation. For Erasmus MC PhD candidates the full course fee in case of the cancellation policy will be the equivalent of the number of course days times €100. 

All invoices will be sent to the head of department or for external participants to the e-mail address provided upon registration. 

Those who register for a PhD course agree with these financial conditions.

Click here for details of programme This course is fully booked! You can still register, but will be placed on a waiting list.

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