AREF 2023 Women in Research Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme

Last Updated on April 5, 2023

Women in Research Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme

Applications for the AREF Women in Research Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme 2023 are now open. The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) works to strengthen the health research capacity of scientists in Africa who are engaged in tackling the continent’s significant health challenges. They recognise the need to support a diverse community of scientists across Africa, therefore, this call is specifically open to female biomedical/health researchers.

AREF is calling for applications from women who are active, emerging biomedical/health researchers in Africa to participate in its Essential Grant Writing Skills Programme. To fully benefit from this Programme you will be at a stage in your research career where you are actively seeking independent funding but have yet to secure that big grant necessary to support your research independence. 

This fully online programme will be held over eight 3-hour sessions during the weeks of September 18, 2023 and November 6, 2023.  There will be a five-week break in between the two sessions, where you will be expected to write a draft proposal.  This is an intensive programme that is designed to produce tangible progress towards a grant proposal by the end of the Programme. Your commitment to the entire Programme and to the additional work outside of sessions will be necessary to achieve these outcomes.

Program Topics

The program will cover the following topics:

  • 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
  • Preparing for a Fellowship interview.


  • AREF does not provide funding for participants to access equipment or internet services with which to participate. Nor do they reimburse you or your institution for any other expenses associated with the programme or any form of per diem payment.


  • 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).

Program Format

The Programme will hold:

  • Monday 18 to Friday 22 September 2023: daily 3hour on-line sessions, 09:30-12:30 GMT
  • Wednesday 08 to Friday 10 November 2023: daily sessions 3hour on-line sessions, 09:30-12:30 GMT

Participants will be provided with appropriate learning materials including preparatory exercises before the first session and between sessions. Each session will be delivered through Zoom. Participants will work in online groups and subgroups.


Read this Guidance on how to apply and what you need then click here to apply online, upload all documents and submit before the deadline of 12 May 2023.

For more information, visit AREF.

Deadline: May 12, 2023

Comments (1)

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  1. JOYCE NDAMBU says:

    Am interested for the next launch.

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