How to write a competitive research grant proposal


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Self-study course

This self-study course introduces you to the key principles for writing a successful research grant proposal (German and international funding agencies).

Target group: Scientists who want to submit individual third-party funding applications for research projects

Duration: 4 months access

Course language: English

Completion time: 20 hours in average

Level: Introduction to grant writing for research projects

Authors: Reinhard Klein-Arendt, PhD and Birte Kathage, PhD


How to write a competitive research grant proposal

This self-study course introduces you to the key principles for writing a successful research grant proposal (German and international funding agencies).
The 14 lessons focus on the basic sections of a research grant proposal and on applying a writing style that will make your proposal text (and thus your research idea) easily understandable and convincing for reviewers.
Each lesson consists of learning texts with tips and tricks as well as an exercise that will help you consolidate what you have learned.
Each lesson can be applied directly to your own proposal text.

What is a self-study course?
A self-study course is a time and location-independent training without the support of a tutor: you can decide for yourself when, where and at what pace you want to work through the learning content.

Who is this course for?
This course is designed for scientists who want to submit a third-party funding application for an individual research project.

What does this course offer you?

This course focuses on grant proposal writing for individual research projects. It provides a sound introduction to the typical structure of a grant proposal and to grant writing techniques, making it a helpful introduction for anyone interested in applying for research funding.

What will you learn in this course?

  • You will get to know the typical structure of a research grant proposal and how it should be designed in terms of content.
  • You will get important information about the addressees of your grant proposal – who reads the proposal and who decides on the approval?
  • You will increase your knowledge of the techniques for writing a competitive grant proposal and what is needed to convince the addressees that your project is worth funding.
  • You will have a concrete idea of how to apply what you have learned when writing your own research grant proposal.

What is the structure of the course?
The course consists of 14 lessons. At the end of each lesson the acquired knowledge can be assessed by a self-test.

  • Lesson 1: What is a research grant proposal?
  • Lesson 2: Addressees of a grant proposal
  • Lesson 3: Basic principles of a successful grant proposal
  • Lesson 4: Scientific and practical result
  • Lesson 5: Overview of the typical sections of a grant proposal
  • Lesson 6: Title
  • Lesson 7: Summary
  • Lesson 8: State of research
  • Lesson 9: Overall objective and sub-objectives
  • Lesson 10: Work plan
  • Lesson 11: Visualising the work plan
  • Lesson 12: Budget
  • Lesson 13: Not to be seen in isolation: sections are interrelated!
  • Lesson 14: Reviewer-oriented writing

What does the course cost?
The fee for the self-study course is € 119.00 (incl. VAT).

How long is the course accessible?
After your payment, your access to the course is activated for 4 months (120 days) – and you can use the course immediately. The learning content is available at any time during this period.

The time required to complete the entire course is about 20 hours on average.
You can work through the course flexibly, i.e., in no particular order. However, we recommend that you complete one lesson at a time and work through the lessons one after the other (from 1-14) linearly.

What can I do if I need more support?

proWiss also offers individual grant proposal consulting. This includes, e.g., the following points

  • Matching of the grant proposal text with the guidelines of the funding organisation
  • Text check and suggestions for correction with regard to formal errors
  • Text check and suggestions for improvement with regard to coherence of content and clarity of language
  • Assistance in
    • highlighting the central research idea, the innovative potential and importance (urgency) of the proposed project
    • developing the proposal sections required by the funding organisation, including budget plan, work plan and schedule
  • Possibility of consultation via Zoom or Skype

For more information see
Or contact us directly at .
We look forward to hearing from you.


Certificate of participation
After completing the course, you can download a certificate of participation from proWiss-Online in PDF format.