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Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Research Grant Writing Workshop

January – March 2022

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) invites applications from early career health researchers in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Rwanda, & Zimbabwe to participate in a fully-funded Research Grant Writing Workshop.

We are seeking individuals interested in developing proposals for research in the field of safe abortion (SA) and/or postabortion care (PAC).

This workshop is part of the RCOG’s “Making Abortion Safe” programme, which seeks to increase healthcare professionals' capacity to address the barriers to SA and/or PAC. The Research Grant Writing Workshop will be delivered by The Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF) who work to strengthen the capacity of researchers tackling health challenges in Africa.  To benefit from this workshop series, you will be actively seeking research funding but are yet to secure a grant significant enough to support your research independence.

The fully online, interactive programme will be held over eight 3.5-hour sessions during the weeks of 21 February 2022 and 28 March 2022, with a 4-week break during which you will be expected to write a mini research proposal for peer-review.

This is an intensive programme that is designed to produce tangible progress towards a grant proposal by the end of the workshop series. Your commitment to the entire series, and to the additional work outside of sessions, will be necessary to achieve these outcomes.

Following the workshop series the RCOG will be awarding seed-funding for research of up to $30,000 for the two proposals of highest merit[1].  Researchers awarded funding will also be invited to join the AREF mentoring programme which offers 6 months of virtual mentorship from a senior AREF alumni or member of their “college of experts”.


The workshop series

Workshop aim

The workshop aim is to enable talented early-career health (and health-related) researchers from the 5 RCOG “Making Abortion Safe” programme countries to build skills to develop research proposals of the quality required to win competitive international, regional, and national research funding.

What the workshop will cover

  1. Developing and expressing your unique research niche
  2. Formulating your compelling research question
  3. Understanding funders’ requirements
  4. Writing in plain English
  5. Research on culturally/legally challenging topics
  6. Writing the different sections of a proposal
  7. Key parts of a typical Case for Support / Project Description
  8. Planning your proposal project plan and budget
  9. Principles of managing your collaboration and team
  10. Understanding and practicing peer review

What the workshop will not cover

The workshop will not cover the following: how to gain ethics approval; how to complete individual funders’ application forms; the details of intellectual property management; practice in research communication.

Facilitators may use examples of real funding applications, and participants will submit a mini research proposal for peer-review during the workshop process. However facilitators will not be assisting participants directly with their own specific funding applications. 

Format of the workshop series

The workshop series will be held as follows:

  • Monday 21 to Friday 25 February 2022 – daily 3.5-hour online sessions, 10:00-13:30 GMT
  • Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 March 2022 – daily 3.5-hour online sessions, 10:00-13:30 BST

Participants will be provided with learning materials including preparatory exercises before the first session and between sessions. Each session will be delivered through Zoom. Participants will work in on-line groups and subgroups.  All sessions will be conducted in English.

Our expectations of participants

You will need to:

  • commit to all online sessions for the full duration of each session. These sessions are interactive and will require your active participation.
  • commit approximately an additional hour each day of the workshop, and for a few days prior to commencing, for reading and pre-work assignments/reflections.
  • dedicate significant time during the four-week period in between workshop sessions to write a mini research proposal, which will then be utilised in the final three sessions.
  • have access to good bandwidth and a computer or laptop that is set up to use the Zoom platform.
  • be able to use a smart phone simultaneously with the Zoom platform.
  • participate in monitoring and evaluation surveys to track outcomes from the workshop.


There is no funding available from RCOG or AREF to cover expenses such as per diems, internet costs or technical equipment.



The RCOG welcomes applications for this workshop from early-career researchers who are actively working in the field of sexual reproductive health and rights and are committed to research and the advancement of a rights-based approach to the provision of safe abortion and/or post-abortion care[2].

Applications are welcomed from those with training and experience in any of the following disciplines: public health; clinical medicine; biomedicine; physiology and pharmacology; clinical sciences; allied health professions; epidemiology; statistics; environmental health; behavioural, social and economic sciences; or health policy and systems research.



To be eligible, you need to provide evidence that:

  • You are a citizen or resident of one of the following countries: Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Rwanda or Zimbabwe
  • 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 1 January 2016); 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 Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Rwanda or Zimbabwe by a recognised university and/or specialist research institution (e.g. teaching/research hospital).
  • A significant part of your current employee role is to develop and conduct health research, or you have commitment from your employer which would enable you to conduct research.
  • You do not already have a significant portfolio of international research grants (combined value of $300,000 or more).


Criteria for selection

Through your application, you will need to demonstrate that you are at a stage in your career where you are highly likely to be able to apply your learning to win research funding, and be able to implement the proposed research if funding is received. 

Your application will also be assessed in terms of your capacity to benefit from the training, using the following kinds of evidence:

Capacity to benefit

  1. Your research experience, outputs and other achievements as an emerging researcher up to now.
  2. How you will use the training to achieve your development as a researcher and in the advancement of access to safe abortion and/or postabortion care services[2].
  3. How you will “cascade”, i.e. to pass on, the knowledge and skills you have gained from the workshop
  4. Ability to demonstrate the capacity to commit the required time necessary to complete the workshop
  5. Adequate fluency in English

Participants will be shortlisted from those eligible applicants using these criteria. Only applicants who demonstrate the “capacity to benefit” criteria will be on the shortlist, from which the final selection will be made.  Preference may be given to those applicants who have not previously benefitted from similar workshops.

Diversity and inclusivity

The RCOG is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity and are particularly encouraging applications from underrepresented groups within research such as women and those with a disability. To ensure equity across research organisations, no more than two shortlisted participants will be selected from any one employing institution.


How to apply

To apply, please complete the online application form.


Key dates

Application deadline: Sunday 26 December 2021

The RCOG aims to inform successful applicants about their selection by Friday 14 January 2022.



If you have any enquiries about this opportunity please contact  Whilst we will endeavour to respond to all enquires this may not always be possible.


[1] The RCOG reserves the right to withhold funding and/or to run an open call for applications if it deems that research proposals received form workshop participants do not meet the required standards and/or do not align with the intended objectives of the funding.

[2] *Within the legal framework