Tagged / bid writing

Wanted! External Bid Writers

As part of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework, Bournemouth University is expanding its pool of external research funding application expertise.

If you have worked with a good bid writer or, as an external subscriber to this blog, you have written successful research funding applications, please contact us in the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office.

We are particularly interested in those who can provide short courses, one-to-one support, bid writing retreats, application review or a range of these, and related, activities.

Examples of key funders include:

  • British Academy
  • European Commission funds including Horizon 2020
  • Innovate UK
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • National Institutes of Health and other US Federal funders
  • Research Councils
  • Royal Society
  • Wellcome Trust

We look forward to hearing from you.

Wanted! External Bid Writers



As part of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework, Bournemouth University is expanding its pool of external bid writing expertise, through a tendering process.

If you have worked with a good bid writer or, as an external subscriber to this blog, you have written successful research funding applications, please contactus in the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office

We are particularly interested in those who can provide short courses, one-to-one support, bid writing retreats, application review or a range of these and related activities.

Examples of key funders include:

  • British Academy
  • European Commission funds including Horizon 2020
  • Innovate UK
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • National Institutes of Health and other US Federal funders
  • Research Councils
  • Royal Society
  • Wellcome Trust
  • etc.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Writing a successful proposal: live web chat and twitter feed this Friday

Universities are under increasing pressure to gain external funding and with budgets shrinking across the HE sector, this can be a difficult process.

To provide a little help, the Guardian are running a live web chat on Friday 12 April between 12-2pm for academics, whether a first-timer or old hand, to share experiences, advice and tips for writing and managing the process of a successful research grant proposal. You can also follow the live chat on Twitter using the hashtag #HElivechat

Time for research? Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love writing

If I could just work out that perfect sentence I would start writing. Well, if I had the time to think of the perfect sentence that is, because I have emails to answer, and teaching (and emails) and marking (and emails) and meetings and students to see (and emails). But that’s ok, I’ve got a research day later this week, I’ll start writing then.

 With apologies to Jane Austen, it does seem to be a truth universally acknowledged, that there are (at least) 101 reasons why we don’t write. The biggest one perhaps for me, is that fundamentally I find writing hard.  That’s not to say I don’t do it. But there is definitely more (and better) that I would like to write if only I had the time. This blogpost itself is something that I may have put off until an absolute deadline, or until I’d worked out perfectly what I wanted to say (I don’t want to show myself up in front of my lovely new colleagues) but I am happily writing the first draft of this, without waiting for that perfect starting point, sat in the library with a couple of friends, who are also writing. So what’s happened?

I have been reading and thinking a lot about writing for quite a while. Indeed for a long time I have really enjoyed thinking about writing; I had a romantic Sartrean ideal of sitting round in a cafe, thinking wise things, smoking, drinking coffee, and producing works of utter brilliance. (That I wasn’t writing like de Beauvoir and friends was also another source of frustration!!).  Some of the reading and thinking I did was about style; how could I improve the quality of my writing? I came across this book by Helen Sword which has already been blogged about here. But I was also thinking about my motivation for writing and how I could improve it. I love George Orwell’s Why I Write but I felt he didn’t really give me any practical ‘top tips’

In my previous academic job, my ‘research day’ was often a Thursday.  Some Thursdays I was super productive. Fine and good. But some Thursdays I’d start the day listening to the Today programme, with a cup of coffee and mulling over what I was going to do that day. So I’d do my emails. And while doing that the radio would segue into In Our Time, and then of course Woman’s Hour (it should be said these were both programmes I was oblivious too until I had research days). I’d be doing emails, admin, dealing with students etc, so was technically working. I just wasn’t doing any research writing. I would get started maybe late morning, just before lunch. Or maybe I’d have a walk and then start after lunch. Or maybe I’d do a bit more reading first. Now don’t get me wrong, I do have publications, and I do get my writing done, but I’ve never really found it enjoyable.  Writing was something I could very easily procrastinate over (a friend sent this amusing video on procrastination) which of course would then mean I’d also then beat myself up at the end of the day.  This wasn’t every time I sat down to write, but it certainly did happen more often than I felt comfortable with. And then, during one of my research related procrastination detours, I was on a website when I came across this book called How To Write a Lot. Written by an academic, this book helped me rethink my working practices in respect of writing (and was probably the best £6 I have spent in a long time!).

And then a second stroke of luck.  Last week, supported by the Politics Research Group in the Media School, we ran a writing retreat. The first day was run by a facilitator. Now I have been on training sessions where I am feeling I already have too much to do, and that working time (and especially that elusive writing time) is being lost while I am in the session. Yet the beauty of the retreat was that we were encouraged to take along a piece of writing that we were working on.  What was important too was that it didn’t matter that in the session we had different research interests or that we were writing on different topics.  A colleague produced two book proposals and a grant proposal. In one day! Another colleague wrote 4200 words. And I managed just over 3000 words. And this wasn’t 7 or 8 hours solid writing. This was in less than 3 hours in total.  Now these weren’t perfect words, well mine certainly weren’t. And I also didn’t have my perfect opening sentence. But I did have something to work with. And now less than one week later, I have an 8000 or so word chapter that I have sent across to my co-editor. In short we all produced MORE on a training session than we would have done if we had been working in our offices for the day.

 I have written everyday since that retreat and am now starting an article and a research proposal.  I don’t feel daunted by the prospect; in fact I am really enjoying it. It’s just lovely typing away with my writing friends and I am also happy writing on my own. It’s a great combination. I have discovered that I actually like writing and a whole world has opened up to me.  I am not religious (apart from our census form on which all of my family are heavy metal), but it does feel strangely like some kind of Damascene conversion.

Heather Savigny

Senior lecturer in politics

Media School

Grant writing workshops for BU Studentship Competition

To assist staff in preparing their applications for the internal PhD funding competition John Wakeford, Director of the Missenden Centre, is coming to BU to deliver 2 one day workshops on 31st January and 1st February.   There are only a small number of spaces remaining on each day so if you would like to come along please register here asap. 

The workshop will run from 9:30am to 4:30pm and it is an excellent chance to pick up some advice from John on bid writing in general as well as honing your application for the studentships.  The first 6 draft applications received by John will be reviewed as part of the day.  A copy of the draft programme of the day is below.

If you have any queries about the day please contact Susan Dowdle.

Draft programme

 9.15                Coffee and Registration

 9.30                Institutional context – information on the studentships and the support of the Graduate School. Questions.

                                    Prof Tiantian Zhang – new Head of Graduate School

                                    Dr Fiona Knight – Graduate School Manager

 10.00              Agenda sharing (participant introductions and identifying concerns and priorities to be covered).

 10.30              Introduction – National policy and recent developments. Questions and discussion.

 10.45              Coffee break

11.00              Reviewing good research bid.  Teams act as reviewers and prepare outline of comments.  Plenary feedback from John Wakeford and teams.

 12.00              What to do before applying.

 12.30              Lunch.  Groups discuss bidding narrative.

 13.15              Plenary discussion of points arising from narrative.

 13.30              Advising colleagues on draft applications.  Teams act as critical colleagues and prepare advice on drafts direct at different agencies.  Plenary feedback.     Questions and discussion.

 14.30              Coffee break

 14.45              Writing a good application.

 15.30              Reflecting after having an application turned down.

 16.00              Action planning: individual participants draw up plans for progressing own research.  Participants make suggestions to the university to help those bidding for funds.

 16.25              Evaluation

 16.30              Close

Upcoming Missenden Centre workshops – funding available for BU staff to attend

The Missenden Centre still has places available on a number excellent workshops this autumn/winter.

The Research Development Unit has some funds available to support academics and research support staff to attend. If you are interested please contact Julie Northam in the first instance.

Bidding for research funding: pathways to success

9/10 November for academics

10/11 November for research support staff

With Sarah Andrew, Dean of Applied and Health Sciences, University of Chester

Robert Crawshaw, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Lancaster University

‘The course was excellent. I think it will probably change my entire approach to writing grant proposals and will most wholeheartedly recommend it to my colleagues. So, once again, many thanks.’ Dr. Miriam V. Dwek, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry, University of Westminster.



Successful bidding: third of our day clinics

18 November

With: John Wakeford

Bring a draft or previously unsuccessful application for advice on how to turn it into an award-winning form.



Effective supervision

12/13 January

Our unique preparation for supervisors and those with responsibilities for training them.



Speak to the Research Development Unit and book your place now!

Centrally funded places available on bid writing workshop (GIC Ltd, London, 29 November)

29th November 2011, London

GIC Ltd are running a one-day seminar called Total Proposal which will demonstrate the techniques that will make your proposals the ones which win!

Success depends on delivering a winning proposal – a strong selling document which the client will want to buy.  The seminar gives institutions not only the practical tools of proposal preparation, such as bidding plans and checklists, but also shows a range of winning techniques and “selling” devices that will positively differentiate your proposal from those of your competitors.

Half the day is dedicated to practical exercises and a “real life” proposal case study.

Preparing a competitive proposal is a time and resource intensive exercise. As the complexity of tender dossiers, terms of reference and compliance requirements have increased, so have the costs of not winning the business.

Attendees will:
– Refresh their approaches to the preparation of proposals
– Acquire new presentation techniques
– See how to give proposals a competitive edge
– Learn how to maximise the evaluation scoring of proposals.

Colleagues from CRE Operations attended the course earlier this year and found it extremely useful.

Places are £295 (+ VAT). The RDU has funding to support up to five BU academics to attend the workshop. If you are interested in attending please contact Julie Northam as soon as possible to book a place.

Grant Writing Workshops – Research Councils Focus

Dr Martin Pickard is coming to BU on 23rd and 24th November 2011 to deliver interactive workshops on the preparation of research council applications. 

  • 23rd November will be focused on social sciences and humanities research council bids. 
  • 24th November will be focused on applied and natural sciences research council bids, including engineering.

Martin is a specialist in writing and supporting research proposals – in particular European grant applications and tenders – as well as managing projects. He has 25 years experience of writing, supporting and managing literally thousands of research proposals and has worked across Europe with a large number of universities, research institutes, industrial firms and international companies.

Martin came to BU in May last year to deliver a general session on grant writing skills and the feedback he received was excellent:

I was very impressed by the presentations“,

I must say it’s a great workshop, which provides us a number of important points we should pay attention to while drafting our proposals.”

I am confident that I can apply the tips that Martin gave us to significantly improve my chance of grant success.”

Following the workshop, anyone who attended can send Martin their draft application for a personal review and some feedback.

Sessions are free and available to all staff.  Places are limited so need to be booked in advance.  For further information or to book a place please contact Susan Dowdle.

book now for the BU GrantCraft Research Workshop Day!

We are delighted to offer a bespoke GrantCraft Research Workshop Day on May 11th 2011, facilitated by Dr Martin Pickard, a specialist in writing and supporting research proposals (particularly EU). Sessions will be held on grant writing skills, impact and benefit, how to write a Marie Curie proposal and the management of EU projects. You can attend as many sessions as you like throughout the day. To read more on each session and to make a booking see our GrantCraft Research Workshop Day Event Page.