Report on “Writing successful project proposals – 2024”

photo: Mandy Kong

The CHESS workshop “From idea to project: Writing successful project proposals” was held on 9. – 10. April 2024. A total of 16 participants joined the workshop, coming from the universities of Bergen and Tromsø, and NORCE Climate and Environment.

The main objective of the workshop was to enable early-career climate scientists to successfully apply for external funding for their research, by gaining competences to plan, write, and submit a successful research project proposal. Participants gained knowledge about the different components of a project proposal, and about the most relevant funding sources for early career climate scientists. They obtained skills to present a project idea shortly and concisely (pitching), to develop the different components of a project description, to plan and structure the project description, and to draft a project budget. The newly generated knowledge and skills should enable the participants to independently write a project proposal, and to identify relevant funding opportunities.

photo: Nina Hecej


The workshop included lectures, group work and plenary discussion. At the beginning of the workshop, six participants pitched their project ideas. All participants then selected three of these ideas to be developed step by step into draft proposals in group work during the workshop. Results from each group work were presented in plenary, and the other groups provided peer feedback. Background knowledge about the respective proposal sections and instructions to develop them during group work were given by the instructors in plenary lectures.

Several measures were taken to enable a smooth workflow during group work: The group developed the work tasks using an online document with templates and instructions which was also used for plenary presentation. To facilitate active participation of all group members, they took specific roles such as note keeper, presenter, and time-keeper which they swapped for each group work session. One instructor joined the group work to answer questions and to moderate the work if necessary. New to this year’s workshop was the practice of peer reviewing. After being given instructions on how to give constructive feedback, each group got to discuss the work presented by another group and then provide their consensus feedback to that group. The instructors also provided feedback.

photo: Nina Hecej

The three participants whose ideas were chosen for development into draft proposals, confirmed that their ideas were developed substantially during the workshop, and felt confident to submit them as full research project proposals within the coming year. The participants who presented a pitch which was not selected felt confident to apply the skills obtained during the workshop to develop their own project ideas. The other participants felt as well that they had obtained the skills and competence necessary to develop research ideas into proposals. The feedback from the participants was very positive, both during, directly after the workshop and in the workshop evaluation.

Text: Friederike Hoffmann, Nadine Goris and Mahaut de Vareilles