Grant-Writing Skills at the early-career level: Focus on the FWO Postdoctoral Fellowship

10 October 2022 - 14 October 2022
(4 x 2h)


Grant reviewers often say that wonderful projects do not get funded because the idea was not communicated clearly enough. Strong science is not enough for writing a successful grant proposal. To get funded, you also need excellent persuasion skills. 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).


Remote workshop format with additional time commitment for self-study.

Self-study: lecture series in podcast format; 190 mins listening time with 80 mins optional extras. 
Live meetings: 4 meetings of 2 hours. Not recorded for future re-use.

  • Meeting 1: Opening lecture with analysis of the FWO application and evaluation format, and broader
    discussion of persuasion strategies in funding applications.
  • Meeting 2: Structuring the 10-page scientific proposal – Rationale, Objectives, Methodology sections.
  • Meeting 3: The Work Plan component: planning the project and your career trajectory vision, with
    deliverables, milestones, timelines, mobility, and collaborations. As a comparison point, we will discuss
    the Horizon Europe ‘project implementation’ format and its influence on national funding applications.
  • Meeting 4: The candidate’s profile: CV elements, research environment, motivation statement.

Meetings 2-3-4 include both lecture time and group discussion with Q&A, analysis of examples from
open-access funded grants, and exercises including brainstorming and opinion polls.

Learning outcomes

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

  • interpret correctly the FWO application form and scoring grid in order to respond accurately to
    the expectations for a competitive research grant,
  • use strong structure in the key proposal sections: State of the Art, objectives, and
    methodology & work plan,
  • provide clear, convincing answers to the key evaluation criteria of originality, high-risk,
    methodological ambition, and project impact,
  • present persuasively your academic record, and convey a strong message about your
    growing maturity and research independence.


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 interested in improving their grant writing skills can register. PhD students & Postdocs planning to apply for FWO junior/senior fellowship will get priority to attend.
  • max 20 participants

When and where?

  • Meeting 1: October 10, 2022 - 9:00-11:00
  • Meeting 2: October 11, 2022 - 9:00-11:00
  • Meeting 3: October 13, 2022 - 9:00-11:00
  • Meeting 4: October 14, 2022 - 9:00-11:00
  • All sessions will be organized digitally.


  • Registration is possible here until September 19, 2022
  • 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' -one transferable skills course
  • DS ST: category 'research management' - info session on writing a successful project proposal

Back to the Academic research competences - course offer (2022) overview