AREF Women In Research Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme 2023

AREF is seeking proposals from active, developing African biomedical/health researchers to participate in its Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme. To effectively benefit from this Program, you must be at a point in your research career where you are actively seeking independent financing but have not yet secured the large grant required to finance your research independence.

This entirely online program will be delivered in eight 3-hour sessions between the weeks of September 18th and November 6th, 2023. Between the two sessions, there will be a five-week hiatus during which you will be expected to write a draft proposal. This is a rigorous program meant to result in meaningful progress toward a grant proposal by the end of the program. Your dedication to the whole Program as well as the extra effort outside of sessions will be required to achieve these goals.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You are a woman health researcher/scientist
  • You are a citizen of a country in Africa.
  • EITHER you have been awarded a research doctorate (PhD/DPhil/MD) from a recognised academic institution within the previous 6 years, i.e. awarded on or after 01 January 2017); OR you have a medical/clinical qualification plus a research-relevant Master’s degree awarded within the previous 6 years.
  • 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).

AREF Women in Research Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme Benefits


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

Programme will cover:

  • Developing and expressing your unique research niche
  • Formulating a 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 proposed project and budget
  • Principles of managing and collaborating with a team
  • Understanding and practicing peer review


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 Africa.
  • How you will “cascade”, i.e. to pass on, the knowledge and skills you have gained from the Programme
  • Practical support committed by your sponsor(s) or mentor(s).
  • Adequate ability to understand and communicate in English.

Reviewers will use these criteria to choose program participants from among the eligible applicants. Only applicants who match the criterion for capacity to benefit will be considered for the shortlist, from which the final decision will be made.

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