Pile of papers

Devising successful fellowship & research proposals

Our compilation of the highlights from a skills development workshop for early career researchers in April 2015.

Build your network to provide personal and practical support

  • Your contacts can help to you review your proposal, practice your interview technique, offer advice, contribute to your proposal, and support your proposal and subsequent project.
  • Your network should include: supervisor, peers, non-academic stakeholders, research admin/finance colleagues, family.

Pay attention to the process

  • Understand the call and the criteria. What questions would you ask if you were a reviewer?
  • Allow sufficient time for writing, review and to gather supporting information (including financial data).
  • All your interactions with research funders are part of the assessment process: respond positively to reviewers’ comments.
  • Failed applications are learning opportunities and subsequent proposals will be stronger.


  • Be ambitious, show leadership but demonstrate how your project will succeed.
  • Use storylines, examples and quotes to create excitement and to demonstrate innovation and impact.
  • Practice your interview technique!