Altogether 143 researchers from Nigeria took part and completed a grant writing training organised and coordinated by the University of Turku’s Global Education Services in May and June 2022. The training sessions focused on the Horizon Europe research and innovation funding programme and were led by research funding specialists from the University’s Research Funding Unit.
As part of the European Union-Africa partnership, the EU strives to develop cooperation with Africa to promote actions and initiatives on finding locally adaptable solutions to challenges that are global in nature but which can often hit countries in Africa the hardest. The role of research and innovation has become increasingly central in facing shared challenges such as the need to promote green transition, sustainable growth, digital transformation, mobility, security and good governance. Participation of African partners in EU-funded research and development projects is therefore viewed as very important.
The overarching aim of the Grant Writing trainings was to provide the Nigerian researchers with a comprehensive understanding of the Horizon Europe funding programme and the role of African participants in it. Furthermore, the participants learned about the EU funding and tender portal, and trained to become more fluent in reading and analysing funding calls as well as writing funding proposals. As the trainings were organised on-site at the University of Turku campus, the researchers were also able to visit the University’s research labs and meet local researchers.
The training sessions, which were organised as lectures and group work, were attended by researchers from various different disciplines. The sessions also left time for open discussion and the researchers were especially interested in discovering how to find partners for funding proposals. In addition, the participants were keen to create contacts with researchers from the University of Turku and wanted to know more about the role and previous participation of African partners in Horizon Europe programme.
The University of Turku’s Research Funding Unit was a natural choice to lead the training sessions as the Unit has a lot of experience and expertise in writing successful funding proposals and organising related trainings. The Horizon Europe programme is currently at the forefront of the Unit’s work and the research funding specialists have extensive knowledge and experience on the programme. In addition, the Research Funding Unit also has a special Global South funding proposal support in place enabling support for proposals with partners from the Global South.
- These trainings are often very motivational and provide new perspectives for researchers from the Global South. It is important to provide grant writer training to people in these areas, especially if we want to have good partners and collaborators from there in the future, explains Research Funding Specialist and Grant Writer Johanna Toivonen de Gonzales from the University of Turku. – Trainings such as these also enhance the attractiveness of the University as a high-quality and reliable partner globally. Furthermore, the trainings give an opportunity for the University to do our part as a responsible, global actor. Universities and other institutes of higher education are in many ways forerunners and trailblazers in bearing global responsibility and solving global challenges, Toivonen de Gonzales concludes.
Photos: Iina Hautala, University of Turku