AREF Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme for African Researchers 2023

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

Benefits of Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme

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

  1. Developing and expressing your unique research niche
  2. Formulating your compelling research question
  3. Understanding funders’ requirements
  4. Writing in plain English
  5. Writing the different sections of a proposal
  6. Key parts of a typical Case for Support / Project Description
  7. Planning your proposal project plan and budget
  8. Principles of managing your collaboration and team
  9. Understanding and practicing peer review
  10. Preparing for a Fellowship interview.

Requirements for Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme Qualification

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).

Interview date, Process and Venue for Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme

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.

How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to to apply

To apply, please click on this link  to apply online. Please download and thoroughly read the application guidance document that is available on our website. Any additional documents required as instructed in the online application form, including accompanying letters from Sponsors or Mentors should be sent to

Please note that the online application form can only be filled using one device, to help you prepare you can pre-fill this application form before submitting online.

For more details, visit

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