Retreat on Grantsmanship Organised by School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences

The School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS) has organised a 3-day retreat on grantsmanship for selected faculty members of the School. The purpose of the retreat was to afford participants the opportunity to learn from experienced grantsmen and to exchange ideas on common research areas. It was also to encourage faculty members of SPMS to write winnable proposals for funding from both local and international funders. It took place from Friday, April 7, 2017 to Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Smayak Hotel at Apam.

The retreat also served as a trainer of trainers whereby the selected faculty members would train others in their respective Departments.

The experienced grantsmen who served as resource persons for the programme were Hon. Dr. Kwame Ampofo, former Board Chairman of the Energy Commission, Prof. Sandow Mark Yidana, Head of Department of Earth Science, and Dr. Patrick Kobina Arthur from the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP).

In his opening remarks, the Acting Dean of the School, Prof. Robert Kingsford-Adaboh noted that the physical sciences were lagging behind in attracting grants for research work and for training postgraduate students. He therefore asked the participants to make the best of the opportunity and learn from experienced professionals in the field.

Making a presentation on the theme: ‘Grantsmanship: an Overview’, Hon. Dr. Kwame Ampofo took participants through what grantsmanship entails and how to write and search for grants. He also touched on what grants givers look out for in a proposal before giving out grants. He noted that grantsmanship is an art or a craft that can be acquired and perfected through practice. It however needs patience and tenacity since the application process could take a number of years before materializing. Hon. Dr. Ampofo pointed out that it was important for researchers to know the interest of grant givers and to ensure the interests of both researchers and grant givers are convergent. He therefore encouraged the participants to know the interests of the funding agencies, search the sources, know the scope of the fund, and how to apply for it. He also took participants through some case studies on grantsmanship.

Prof. Sandow Mark Yidana gave a presentation on ‘Components of a Great Grant Winning Proposal’. He noted that the objects of a winning grant proposal must be presented clearly, stating the expected outcome, and output. On the budget, he noted that it has to be presented clearly with explanations and justification. Prof. Yidana also took participants through the preparation of relevant grant proposal documents.

Dr. Patrick Kobina Arthur shared experiences on fundraising for research and took participants through the initiatives that led to the winning of USD 8m grant from the World Bank leading to the creation of WACCBIP as a Centre of Excellence. Mr. Ezekiel Acquaah, a Research Development Officer at the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, informed participants of existing administrative support available for grants writing.

During the session on research groupings, participants were divided into research groups for them to develop research ideas with identifiable collaborators and possible funders. These ideas were to serve as start-up research proposals to be developed into full proposals for the School by the end of June 2017.

Closing the programme, the Ag. Dean entreated participants to share the knowledge acquired with other members of the respective Departments. It was agreed that research ideas presented will be fine-tuned into winnable research proposals. Participants were excited about the programme and recommended that such programmes should be organised by the School from time to time to cover all faculty members.

participants at the workshop