Makerere University School of Public Health Grants Administration Secretariat (MakSPH–GAS) has trained 25 early career researchers from Makerere University in Competitive Grant Writing.
The multidisciplinary Grants writing ‘course’ took place between June-August 2022 was conducted in partnership with Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE) with funding from International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), a global development and education organization.
This grant writing training facilitated by Professor David Serwadda and Fred Wabwire-Mangen among others sought to empower young researchers at Makerere University with practical skills in preparing competitive grant proposals.
Ms. Stella Kakeeto, a Grants Officer at MakSPH says given the global downward trend in research funding, coupled with the fact that majority of the research at Makerere University is supported by external funding, the ability of researchers to write competitive and winning grant proposals is crucial for continued research funding and the University’s sustainability.
“We are sincerely grateful to our funders who facilitated this capacity need in grant writing. I am extremely thankful to our facilitators for being generous with their time and share experiences on their journeys for grant application,” Ms. Stella Kakeeto.
During this training, the early career researchers underwent a two-day physical workshop comprised of presentations, small group sessions and large interactive group discussions, in line with the participants' expectations as stated in their applications to attend the workshop. This physical workshop followed three months of virtual training in grant writing, that started in June 2022. Participants attended on invitation after selection from more than 40 applicants.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the workshop, Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Professor and Dean of MakSPH highlighted that as Makerere University moves towards being a research-led University, the ability of researchers to seek funding through competitive proposals is key.
She cited that such a training seeks to equip the trainees with skills to enable them compete for grants and be inspired to write good grants.
“Early career is not about age but where you are. We have all been there and we have walked that path. I remember the first grant that I wrote which was $25,000 and it was such a big deal for me at that time.
Right after that I moved on to $50,000 and the rest is history. I can hardly remember all the grants because the journey has been so crowded with a lot of opportunities. From my experience, I know that you will get there if you chose to walk that journey, but it takes a lot of commitment and focus,” said Prof. Wanyenze.
She encouraged the Early Career researchers to be resilient while applying and writing grants and further cautioned them against using short cuts to grants. Prof. Wanyenze observes that grant-writing requires discipline and a clean system.
“Be prepared to write grants and you don’t get them. Grants are like games, some you win and others, you lose. Pay attention and have good leadership skills to help you manage the grant. Get grounded in leadership to be able to lead your teams and ensure to be accountable for results and the money,” Prof. Wanyenze further advises.
This training workshop forms part of the larger capacity building initiatives for the Grants and Research Capacity Building Committee of Makerere University School of Public Health, and was made possible with the support of IREX's University Administration Support Program funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York.
By Precious Ashaba