You are here:

The Union to launch new course on how to write an operational research grant proposal after successful pilot

Published on


The Union Training and Education

Monthly ‘round-up’ news item – March 2024

The Union is proud to announce it will be launching a brand-new course to empower researchers in low or middle income countries (LMICs).  

The course, which aims to help learners develop an operational research grant proposal​, has been developed with support from the PROTECT project and funded by the CDC Foundation.  

The course has been piloted on a group of 15 researchers from across the PROTECT Study teams in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Haiti and Ukraine, who are currently working on a project to evaluate TB preventive treatment in their country.  

What content is covered on the course? 

The course covers topics such as defining the research question, research methodology, data collection and analysis, ethics, study design and sampling, and project management and budgeting. This comprehensive coverage ensures that students gain a well-rounded understanding of the research process and its various components. 

What is the format of the course?  

The pilot course consisted of an asynchronous and synchronous component in addition to mentorship. 

The course has seven modules in total and each module has two to six educational units to complete. It is expected to take approximately 20 minutes to complete each educational unit.  

When the course is launched it will be offered in an asynchronous mode so that participants can study at their own pace in their own home. Participants might want to complete the course with their research team members, especially if preparing to submit a grant proposal. 

How did the pilot training go? 

For the pilot, 15 participants with an interest in preparing a research grant application were selected and organised in teams, so they would work on a joint research grant proposal throughout the duration of the course.  

There were milestones that participants and teams needed to meet along the way. At the end of each online module there was a live session with the faculty of the course, which included a short discussion on one of the module topics and a Q&A session with participants. 

Furthermore, dedicated plenary sessions were held during which each team submitted the latest iteration of their proposal to the entire group. These sessions, unlike the live sessions, were more extensive, allowing ample time for all participants and mentors to thoroughly review each proposal and offer constructive feedback to their peers. 

How did the mentorship part of the course work? 

Participants were divided into groups and each group was assigned a dedicated mentor – an experienced operational researcher.  

During the course, mentors had regular meetings with their mentees to discuss their progress and any challenges or difficulties they might have had. 

Mentors continued working with participants until they had finalised their research proposal. Each team prepared a research proposal to be submitted to a funding agency. 

Team members working on proposal

Will there be a course fee?  

No, the course will be offered free of charge – as part of a legacy.  

How do I sign up for the course? 

The how to develop a research grant proposal course will be launching shortly. If you would like to find out more or would be interested in additional mentoring support from The Union for a group of researchers, you can email