Researchers have been advised on the quality of the grant proposals they write for research funding. This was at the second day of the Faculty and Administrators Capacity Development Workshop organized by the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) and Makerere University. Convening in the Senate Building, Level 4 Conference Hall on 22-July 2014, participants from the various partner institutions were advised to give grant proposals high priority when looking for research funds.
According to Dr. Alex Ezeh, The Executive Director, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Kenya, researchers should focus on the research idea, objectives, time, the budget and budget justification for a smart and transparent proposal in case they are to succeed in the securing grants for their research studies.
“Funders are looking for great ideas which have promises and potential from great individuals who have a great transparent background in research from great institutions, many researchers tend to neglect the ideal of a good proposal and focus on other issues like who should fund and from where, which culminates into the rejection of their proposals,”he said.
In his presentation Dr. Ezeh stated that irrelevance of the research topic, improper budget planning, failure to disclose the funders, and competition among individuals and institutions for grants were among the factors which led to failed research bids. He therefore encouraged researchers to engage in writing their own proposals as this can give it a uniform flow of ideas and also make them realize the errors and common mistakes which can prevent them from securing funds.
“We should find time and write our own proposals. Researchers should write a proposal in their line of expertise, be concrete, collaborate where possible, and also find someone to make a review on their proposals and give feedback before sending it to funders. Research is a public good and so you should not do it with your own salary,” he advised
After Dr. Ezeh’s presentation participants were divided into various groups for parallel sessions based on their areas of expertise. The five parallel sessions sought feedback in the areas of: improving the experience and success rates of postgraduate students entailing mentorship and monitoring; Budgeting and managing research grants; Librarianship and information management; Information and Communication Technology Units of Partner Institutions; and Public Communication Units of Universities.