The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the Kumasi Centre of Collaborative Research (KCCR) have organised a 3-day workshop on ‘Effective grant writing’ for early-career researchers and newly appointed lecturers at KNUST. The training which took place at the Elmina Beach Resort follows the award of a grant worth €20,000 by the Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF).
AREF is a charity organization working to strengthen health research capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa. It currently focuses on enhancing the research and leadership capabilities of outstanding postdoctoral scientists working on important health challenges for the sub-region.
Opening the workshop, Professor Alexander Yaw Debrah, the Dean of the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, expressed concern on the low output of young researchers in writing proposals for grants.
Professor Debrah mentioned that KNUST as the best University in Ghana and 12 best in Africa will continue to thrive on relevant research and grants to remain at the top. He, therefore, urged the researchers to conduct problem-solving research to win more grants.
‘It is in line with this that a workshop has been organised outside the University campus to train you on how to write grant winning proposals (grantsmanship)’, he stated. He, thus, appealed to the participants to rise to the occasion and tasked them to come up with acceptable research and grant proposals to benefit the University and the society.
On the overview of a winnable proposal, Dr. Michael Owusu, outlined the general structure of proposals. He elaborated that research presented for a grant must entail a project summary and description, references cited, biographical sketches, budget, special information and supplementary documentation.
He again noted that proposals for grants are competitive, therefore, stressed on the need for winnable proposals to be highly specialised, crafted to grant writing, innovative and understandable to the layman.
Dr. Owusu finally cautioned grant seekers to take in-depth research into the grant, structure the proposal as ‘an answer book’ and clearly align project goals and objectives with grant purpose to develop a plan of work.
The Clinical Microbiologist advised the participants to take a keen look at the evaluation scheme before applying for a grant to know the criteria for their grading,
Professor Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, the Director of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research made a presentation on ‘Work packages’ via zoom. She defined ‘work package’ as a building block of the work breakdown that allows the project management team to define the necessary steps for completion of work.
According to her, work packages, also called sub-subject, can allow multiple teams to work simultaneously on different components of a project which will help each team to follow the steps defined in the package plan and complete them by the specified deadline.
She finally walked participants through structuring WP, roles and responsibilities, outputs, and deliverables of WP.
Dr. Kenneth Pfarr from Bonn University helped the young lecturers on ‘how to identify a suitable funding agency’. He took participants through funding opportunities available and the criteria for applying for the funds.
In the interactive sessions, participants presented ideas on the ‘SMART’ model objective, submitted thoughts on how to get research ideas and the need to win grants.
Other topics on developing compelling research questions on how to make impact statements, setting smart objectives, project activity and planning, methodology and outcomes, developing a realistic budget and making use of institutional resources/units were treated.