The Institute for Educational Research and Innovation Studies (IERIS), University of Education, Winneba (UEW), has organised a two-day training on grantsmanship to hone the prospects of lecturers in writing proposals for grants.
The workshop, which took place at the IERIS Conference Room from Thursday, September 22 to Friday, September 23, 2022, also brought perspective to the components of grant budgeting and skills in grant search.
The Director, IERIS, Prof. Ephraim Avea Nsoh, in welcoming participants to the workshop, expressed optimism that the workshop will strengthen the capacity of IERIS to strategically position itself in grants-making for sustainable funding of its research activities and innovative projects.
Prof. Ephraim Avea Nsoh
“Funding educational initiatives and or projects in many universities in Ghana have become challenging due to the inadequate funding support from central government and universities’ inability to mobilise adequate resources internally to drive such projects.
"It is, therefore, imperative for universities to be intentional in seeking alternative and additional funding sources through grants and resource mobilisation from donor agencies, charitable organisations, corporate bodies, and philanthropists both within and outside the country to complement their inflows," he stated.
Prof. Nsoh emphasised that IERIS ought to be conducting research into various aspects of education, including community science and technology, basic education, and educational policy, but that due to a lack of financial and human resources, the Institute and its centres are unable to carry out their mandate as expected. Thus, it is anticipated that the workshop will inspire more attempts to reawaken people.
Prof. Avea Nsoh walking participants through the obligations of IERIS
"We at IERIS need our own independent finance system where we can handle everything and then report to Management. We need to let people know that we are there, that we are in business, and that we know what we are doing. This is an indication that we are committed to winning grants and improving our research status.
“Yes, this shows that we are aware of the urgent need to raise funds for the Institute and the University. So, these are the kinds of things I want you to have in mind; to understand who we are, what we have not done, why we haven’t been able to do them, and why we need you here as a group to do that big job,” the Director of IERIS stressed.
The Principal of the Accra City Campus, University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Joseph A. Yaro, who was the main resource person for the programme made an elaborate presentation on the topic “Grant Research Proposal Writing” where he shared his experiences on the art of winning grants with participants.
Prof. Joseph A. Yaro
“Each time I tell myself I am still learning even how to write grants. Do you know why? There’s a diversity of grants. Probably, I know how to do the academic type; another time they will advertise something that has got to do with policy, theory, everything mixed together. Another time they are only interested in saving animals in Savanna. Complete different focus. Therefore, the problem statement changes like a chameleon. However, winning the grant is not the most important, no! It’s about the experience. And so, writing ten grants and winning one is a fantastic result for beginners,” he said.
In responding to the challenges IERIS faces as outlined by the Director of the Institute, Prof. Yaro noted that those challenges were not unique to the institute. He proposed scouting experienced and proven grant winners to join the institute as associates; lobbying huge grant winners to do their sabbatical at the institute; and being proactive in poaching mid-level academics to tap into their experience to turn around the institute's fortunes in winning grants.
He entreated participants to humble themselves to enable them to advance in their fields of study and work.
Mr. Enoch Appiah (left) and Mr. Nicholas Ayensu-Appiah
The Finance and Administration Manager at Mennonite Economic Development Associates-Canada, Accra-Ghana branch, Mr. Enoch Appiah, and Grants and Contract Specialist, Global Communities (USAID Fund), Ghana, Mr. Nicholas Ayensu-Appiah, also took participants through various topics of importance to securing research grants.
Among the topics were assessing the funding challenges and opportunities of the Institute, understanding grants acquisition (funding types and funding sources), proposal budgeting (salaries and fringes, and direct and indirect cost consultancies), grants proposal writing (understanding the donor, key topic areas in proposal writing, and do’s and don’ts), grants prospecting using search engines, and strategic positioning for grants and other donor funding.