Grant-writing skills for early-career researchers (focus on FWO fellowships)


Grant reviewers often say that wonderful projects do not get funded because the idea was not communicated clearly enough. Excellent science is not enough for writing a successful grant proposal. To get funded, you also need excellent grantsmanship. So how do you make sure the advantages of your work are understood and appreciated?

The trainer of this workshop is Julia Staykova-McKinnon (scriptorium consulting).

Please note that peer review will be incorporated into this workshop on demand, if there are a minimum of 6 participants interested in exchanging comments on their proposal samples.


Workshop launch, followed by self-study.


  1. the three tiers of a grant proposal;
  2. understanding correctly the CV requirements;
  3. analysis of the FWO scoring grid

Self-study period:

  • Podcasts and slides. You can listen to the podcast sessions (~190 minutes listening time) at your convenience. The podcasts cover the following topics: “Introduction: Persuasion in Grant Writing”; “State of the Art,” “Objectives,” “Methodological Programme,” “Key evaluation criteria: Novelty, Feasibility, Impact,” “The Abstract,” and “CV and Personal Statement.” Each podcast session is supported by a slide show. Additional podcasts on interviewing skills are available and can be accessed upon request (+90 mins extra listening time).
  • Assignments: (1) analyse examples of funded proposals; (2) analyse the FWO application form and scoring grid.

Small group meetings (two groups)

  • Brainstorming your proposal strengths based on questions frequently asked by reviewers and discussion of examples from funded proposals
  • If there is a group of at least 6 participants interested in peer review, this will take place on the second date (October 27th) and will require submitting excerpts from your future proposal and providing comments to 2 other participants. If there is no sufficient interest in peer review, both small-group meetings will follow the same programme.

Final lecture, discussion, and lessons learnt

Learning outcomes

After having attended this workshop, participants will be able to...

  • interpret correctly your application form and evaluation criteria,
  • use strong structure in State of the Art, Objectives, and Methodological Programme – the key scientific sections,
  • provide clear, convincing answers to the key requirements of novelty, feasibility, and project impact,
  • write a compelling abstract that conveys all the key project strengths,
  • make the most of your academic record (integrate CV elements into the FWO proposal); write a compelling motivation statement.


An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In the current workshop, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • academic research competences:
    • obtaining and managing funding
  • interpersonal competences
    • persuasion
    • presentation skills
    • written communication
  • task-orientedness:
    • project planning


For whom?

  • PhD students & Postdocs planning to apply for FWO fellowship
  • max 20 participants

When and where?

  • Workshop launch: October 19, 2021 - 09:00 - 10:00
  • Small-group meetings: October 26 or 27, 2021 - 09:00 - 10:30
  • Final lecture: October 28, 2021 - 09:00 - 11:00
  • All sessions will be organized digitally.


  • Registration is closed since September 19, 2021.
  • Please register only if you can attend all sessions. As places are limited, registering does not automatically imply that you will be able to participate. You will be notified by email in due time.
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).

Acknowledged as?

  • DS BSH: category 'research management & communication skills' - course on general research skills
  • DS HLS: category 'transferable skills' - half of a transferable skills course
  • DS ST: category 'research management' - info session on writing a successful project proposal