Writing Successful Grant Proposals

Writing successful grant proposals is a skill you can learn!

A successful grant proposal is more than an excellent scientific research idea. The idea needs to be conveyed in a clear and compelling manner with realistic objectives, state-of-the-art methodology and a well-structured work plan and budget. Also, you must present yourself as the best person to carry out the research idea.

This course teaches you how to optimally convey your research idea to funding agencies and reviewers, and to maximize your chances of success. The course will run for four weeks, and you will need to reserve 2-3 hours per week for it.

If you have not yet written a grant proposal or want to improve your proposal writing skills, then follow this course.

You will learn to:

  • choose the correct funding scheme,
  • make a realistic schedule for the proposal writing effort,
  • distil your research idea into a few sentences,
  • write the proposal text in a style that impresses reviewers,
  • make effective graphics,
  • present your research track record and CV in the best light,
  • structure a realistic work plan and budget,
  • and avoid common pitfalls.

The course expert for “Writing Grant Proposals” is Karen Galindo, who has more than 25 years of experience in writing, editing and reviewing successful grant proposals in Europe and the USA.

Learning Objectives

  • Be able to choose the correct funding scheme for your grant proposal. (know that some schemes are more structured then others);
  • Understand what you can do to learn everything you need to know about the organization you want to apply for a grant;
  • Know what organizations give out grants;
  • Understand that you need to check your eligibility;
  • Be able to create a realistic planning for writing your proposal in accordance to the deadlines from your chosen funding scheme;
  • Gain insight in bad/weak examples of formulated big ideas;
  • Be able to clearly articulate your big idea where the grant proposal is based on (in three sentences).
  • Know what elements there are in a proposal (and which elements are specific for a certain grant);
  • Understand what information should be contained in the elements;
  • Understand what parts are included in the narrative, determining your own subheadings to include and on what parts you will spend your time;
  • Be able to create an outline of the break of the work in work packages;
  • Identify common pitfalls in writing a grant proposal and replace these with smarter writing examples.
  • Understand the most common formats used in the PI section;
  • Understand what to include in the personal statement;
  • Change your CV points into a compelling personal statement;
  • Understand what elements to include and combine everything to a compelling abstract;
  • Understand why you need to incorporate graphics and charts into your grant proposal and how you can do that.
  • Understand how to come up with a budget (top-down vs. bottom-up);
  • Be able to think about the knowledge utilization part (reason and what to include);
  • Understand how to write a rebuttal;
  • Know what steps you can take to wrap up your proposal.

Course Topics

This course consists of four learning units, spread over four weeks. The learning units consist of the following topics:

Learning Unit 1:

  • Choosing a funding scheme;
  • Checking your eligibility criteria;
  • A realistic timing and planning;
  • Formulating your big idea

Learning Unit 2:

  • The elements of a proposal and the information it holds;
  • The parts to include in the narrative;
  • Weak and smarter writing examples

Learning Unit 3:

  • The primary investigator section;
  • A personal statement;
  • Writing a compelling abstract;
  • Using graphs and charts.

Learning Unit 4:

  • Creating an overview of budgets;
  • The knowledge utilization part;
  • The rebuttal;
  • Wrapping up your proposal (with a bow).

Learning Methods

The whole course will take place online. The following learning methods will be used:

  • Weblectures by the expert
  • Real world examples
  • Cases
  • Self-editing exercises
  • Group discussions

Course Deadlines

Week 0
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself

Week 1
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 1

Week 2
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 2

Week 3
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 3

Week 4
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 4


There will be no form of assessment in this course.


There is no accreditation available for this course.

Entry Requirements

To enroll in this course you need:

Please note
As this is an online course, you do need access to an internet connection in order to be able to complete assignments and communicate with fellow participants.

Course Reviews

''I found Karen Galindo’s grant writing workshop extremely beneficial. Not only did it show me the pitfalls and principles of successful grant proposal writing, it was all done in a humorous, engaging and thoroughly refreshing way.'' - Professor Michael Burke

''I've really enjoyed the course. It was nice to have a teacher who checked in regularly. That made it more personal. Also great that we could do the assignments whenever we felt like it. Although I had a hard time to be in time, the encouragments helped to get me through it. About the content: I learned a lot from it, really thought about the details, which was helpful as I'm currently writing a proposal. The teacher in the lectures was also great. Very clear and well done.'' - Kirsten Renkema

''I did not have any experience with online learning before, but I thought that this course was very useful. I would certainly recommend it because of the useful content and the good/flexible learning environment. Karen Galindo is an excellent teacher, she clearly has a lot of experience in this subject and that is the most important factor.'' - Martin Ziegler

Course staff

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Academic staff
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Pick a date for this course:
(Enrollment deadline: 8 September 2019 - 23:59 CET)
49 days left.


Pick a date for this course:
(Enrollment deadline: 8 September 2019 - 23:59 CET)
49 days left.

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