Africa Research Excellence Fund Call for Applications: Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme in Africa

Africa Research Excellence Fund Call for Applications: Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme in Africa

The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) works to strengthen the health research capacity of scientists in Africa who are engaged in tackling the continent’s significant health challenges. AREF is calling for applications from scientists who are active, emerging biomedical/health researchers in African countries to participate in in the forthcoming Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme.

This fully on-line programme will be held over eight 3-hour sessions during the weeks of 9 October 2023 and 27 November 2023. There will be a six-week break in between the two sessions, where you will be expected to write a mini proposal.

This is an intensive programme that is designed to produce tangible progress towards a grant proposal by the end of the workshop series. Your commitment to the entire series and to the additional work outside of sessions will be necessary to achieve these outcomes.

To fully benefit from this workshop series, you will be at a stage in your research career where you are actively seeking independent funding, or have won smaller grants, but have yet to secure that big grant necessary to support your research independence

The Workshop series

Workshop aim

  • The Workshop aim is to enable talented early-career health- and health-related researchers from countries in Africa to build skills to develop their own research and fellowship proposals of the quality required to win competitive international, regional, and national funding.

    What the Workshop will cover

  • Developing and expressing your unique research niche

  • Formulating your compelling research question

  • Understanding funders’ requirements

  • Writing in plain English

  • Writing the different sections of a proposal

  • Key parts of a typical Case for Support / Project Description

  • Planning your proposal project plan and budget

  • Principles of managing your collaboration and team

  • Understanding and practicing peer review

  • Preparing for a Fellowship interview.

    What the Workshop will not cover

    The workshop will not cover the following: how to research ethics approval; how to complete individual funders’ application forms; the details of intellectual property management; practice in research communication.

    The facilitators will use examples of real funding applications. However, they will not be assisting participants directly with the participants’ own specific proposals.

    Format of the Workshop series

    The Workshop series will be held as

  • Monday 9 to Friday 13 October 2023: daily 3-hour on-line sessions, 09:30 – 12:30 BST

  • Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 November 2023: daily sessions 3-hour on-line sessions, 09:30 – 12:30 BST

  • Participants will be provided with appropriate learning materials including preparatory exercises before the first session and between sessions. Each session will be delivered through Zoom. Participants will work in on-line groups and offline subgroups. All sessions will be conducted in English.


    AREF does not provide funding for participants to access equipment or internet services with which to participate, nor do we reimburse you or your institution for any other expenses associated with the programme or any form of per diem payment.

    Our expectations of participants


    You MUST

  • Commit to all on-line sessions for the full duration of each session. These sessions are interactive and will require your active participation.

  • Commit an additional hour each day to prepare for each session through reading and
    pre-work assignments/reflections.

  • Dedicate significant time during the five-week period in between workshop sessions to write a draft of your own research proposal, which will then be utilised in the final three sessions.

  • Have access to good bandwidth and a computer or laptop that is set up to use the Zoom platform (IT department may control your ability to use online platforms)

  • Be able to use a smart phone simultaneously with the Zoom platform.


  • You will also be expected to participate in AREF monitoring and evaluation surveys to track outcomes.


    AREF welcomes applications for this Workshop from researchers who are actively working on challenges to human health and are trained and experienced in one or more of the following disciplines: biomedicine; physiology and pharmacology; clinical sciences; epidemiology; mathematics and statistics; environmental health; “one health” (veterinary science); behavioural, social, and economic sciences; and health policy and systems research.


    To be eligible, you need to provide evidence that:

  • You are a citizen of a country in Africa

  • You are in the early stages of your research career, having completed your research education

  • You have been awarded a research doctorate (PhD/DPhil/MD) from a recognised academic institution normally within the previous 6 years, (i.e., awarded on or after 1 January 2017);

  • OR you have a medical/clinical qualification PLUS a research-relevant master's degree, both awarded normally within the previous 6 years (i.e., awarded on or after 1 January 2017).

  • AND you are currently employed in Africa by a recognised university and/or specialist research institution.

  • You have not participated already in equivalent proposal development / grant-writing training.

  • A significant part of your current employee role is to develop and conduct health research.

  • You do not already have a significant portfolio of international research grants (Combined value of £250,000 or more).

    Criteria for selection

    Through your application, you will need to demonstrate that you are at a stage of your research career where this intensive training will support your future success as a researcher, and you are highly likely to apply your learning to winning research funding.

    Capacity to benefit

    Your application will be assessed in terms of your capacity to benefit from the training, using the following kinds of evidence:

  • Your research experience, outputs, and other achievements as an emerging researcher up to now.

  • How you will use the training to achieve your personal vision for your development as a scientist who can address key health challenges important to Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • How you will “cascade,” i.e., to pass on, the knowledge and skills you have gained from the workshop

  • Practical support committed by your sponsor(s) or mentor(s).

  • Adequate command of English.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; Africa Research Excellence Fund Call for Applications: Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme in Africa

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