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This course focuses on writing proposals with a significant qualitative component. This may include larger grants with a qualitative work package, a stand-alone qualitative study or a fellowship application.

Some of the approaches and techniques we use can also be applied to mixed methods and other types of research design, but these are not our main focus. We will adapt content and individual feedback to suit the needs of attendees.

Professors Ziebland and Pope have extensive experience of writing research grants for the NIHR, research councils and charities, puzzling over feedback from hundreds of reviewers, celebrating successes, and coping with rejection.

They have also served on a range of national and international grant funding committees as panel members and chairs, as well as spending many years teaching and writing about research methods. Professor Sue Ziebland also brings along her experience as an NIHR Programme Director for Research for Patient benefit (which involves observing around 14 funding committee meetings a year).


100% of previous course attendees have said they would recommend this session to a colleague, and nearly everyone thought that early, mid, and senior colleagues would benefit from attending it.


This course will include:

  • An overview of the application process
  • Tips for writing successful proposals
  • How to deal with committee and reviewers’ feedback
  • Introduction to a charting approach to grant writing
  • Group workshop activity 
  • Small group work developing a set of objectives and methods for an application
  • Feedback from experienced experts

Learning outcomes

By the end of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Structure and develop a grant proposal
  • Respond to feedback from funding committees or reviewers
  • Understand the role of the funding committees and panels in decision-making 
  • Be aware of (and be able to avoid) common pitfalls for qualitative researchers when applying to health research funders

We provide:

  • A course handbook containing slides and materials
  • Online access to slides and materials
  • Experienced, approachable tutors who are research-active and knowledgeable about research funding  
  • Lunch and refreshments