Winning Proposal Writing Training Workshop Report - 8 – 9th September 2021, Khartoum, Sudan

Winning Proposal Writing

The Mycetoma Research Centre (MRC), in collaboration with the Higher Academy for Strategic and Security Studies (HASSS), organised a training workshop on writing winning proposals.

The opening ceremony was attended by Dr Abdelrahman Mohamed Ahmed Kafeel, the Academy Director, Dr Mohammed Hassan Elrikaby, the Leaders Training Center Director, and his deputy Dr Maria Alkhalifa Ahmed. They had expressed their pleasure and gratitude for the collaboration between the two institutions and are looking forward to a more effective partnership to promote the scientific and academic community in the country and overseas.

The workshop continued for two days and was available online via the Zoom application to enable the MRC collaborators at The Social Sciences for Severe Stigmatising Skin Conditions (5S) Foundation and the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Sussex University to attend online. Twenty-five participants participated in the face-to-face sessions, and they were from different academic backgrounds.

Then the workshop started with a nice ice-breaking session conducted by Prof Fahal where each participant introduced himself/herself, academic qualifications, and hobbies. They then voiced their objectives for attending the workshop, and finally, they all agreed on the workshop objectives. A pre-workshop MCQs test was conducted as part of the workshop evaluation and feedback. 

During the first day, participants have been orientated on the Proposal, its definition, the importance of the research proposal, and how to write a sound research proposal for different purposes. The discussion focused on the proposal components, how to formulate the summary, the proper way to write the introduction, how to express the study rationale, justifications, and objectives, and the difference between them. Then the issue of study design has been discussed comprehensively with examples. The interactive discussion then covers how to select patients, the calculation of the sample size, and different techniques for that. The study procedures and data management were interesting issues to discuss. Then came the importance of ethical considerations and how to be careful about that.

The workshop then featured a presentation from Dr Imad Abugessaisa, a senior scientist from RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Japan, who discussed further the types of proposals and gave participants a good idea about the types of grant funding. Not all that, but he discussed further the process of the grant proposal and the guidelines to apply for funding. Dr Imad finalised his interesting talk by giving valuable advice.

After the break, participants were divided into small groups, and each group was asked to formulate a proposal in their field of specialisation, including just the first steps: title, introduction, the rationale and justification, and the objectives.

On the second day, participants gave feedback on the first day, and that was positive. Professor Fahal continued the discussion on the leading points on formulating a sound research proposal. Participants were full of questions this time after yesterday's exercise. The presentation discussed the project's expected outcome and its importance, as it must be stated clearly in the proposal. The discussion continued with the budget and its components, followed by different referencing procedures and the assisting software that may save the researcher time and ensure accuracy.

After a short break, general instructions, including writing skills, communication issues, were clarified. That also included types of sponsors, the nature of the reviewers, and how to deal with challenges, accept, and deal with the probability of success in your proposal been granted.

Small groups then met and continued their tasks on the proposal writing exercise going through all steps. Each group then presented their task of writing a proposal. Professor Fahal has then made a comprehensive discussion with interventions from Dr Imad Abugessaisa and the rest of the participants on the groups' presentations.

Then post-workshop MCQs test was done, and participants were asked to give their feedback. All feedbacks reflected the satisfaction of candidates and their desire to continue such workshops. They were pleased with the workshop venue, environment, instruction methods used, and scientific content. The participants thanked Professor Fahal, the MRC, and HASSS staff for a nice, pleasant and informative training workshop. At the closing session, the certificates were presented by the HASSS and MRC Directors and workshop organisers. Group photographs were taken.