Customised assistance: funding offers, application preparation

Customised assistance ranges from providing an overview of available funding opportunities from various sources to tips for writing an application and pre-screening of application as well as assisting in finding a project team or inter-institutional project team. Individualised support will also facilitate the professional development of the academic staff and will improve communication and cooperation between the HEI’s support staff and the international academics and PhDs. Increased academic activity will influence positively the HEI’s visibility and may increase enrolment and retention of academic staff. This service requires well-trained support staff in the area of academic development, funding opportunities and procedures, and project drafting. However, writing an application is not a simple matter. It requires knowledge of the methods and techniques of creating applications.

An indispensable part of the application preparation is a thorough reading of the funding scheme documentation, for proposals with attachments. programme thematic priorities, guidelines for applicants and project beneficiaries, funding principles, etc.. These documents describe all major information, including who can apply for a grant (i.e. eligible applicants), what grant can be obtained (grant size and total call budget), the procedure and deadline for application (when and where to submit an application), what the project evaluation criteria are, how will they be assessed, what costs are eligible, or it is possible to find the content of the future contract along with the terms of the project implementation. Before completing the application, each applicant should also check whether the instructions for its preparation have been provided. The task of the support staff is to provide support and assistance to the applicant in the process of preparing and submitting the application.



Improved access to information Improved visibility Improved procedure/efficiency Increased enrollment and retention Improved quality of service Improved skills and knowledge

Basic information
Categories Profesional & Academic Development
Mobility stages During mobility phase
Delivery schedule Continuous
Importance Important to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)
Types of contracts of researchers Full degree student Permanent employee Visiting scholar Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs) Fixed term employee Exchange student
Career stages of researchers Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers 0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months
Practice setup

The setup activities may include:

  • Defining the scope of support, funding programmes in the focus (specific European, national, regional programmes, international cooperation programmes, research focus, teaching, etc),

  • Appointment/Setting-up responsible units/departments,

  • Establishing contacts and cooperation with external institutions - consultation with relevant grant agencies and other support offices (e.g. NCPs), embassies/cultural institutues to agree on ways of collaborations,

  • Narrowing down the funding schemes to follow in more detail (e.g. incoming/outgoing fellowships for international/local PhD students and academics, or if existing - internal grant schemes of the HEI to attract researchers),

  • Training the support staff,

  • Subscribing to various funding info channels/newsletters,

  • Preparing infomation briefs about major available funding programmes in English - e.g. structured according to target groups and purpose (individual support schemes - international incoming/outgoing fellowships, intersectoral secondments; research funding (frontier, applied, cooperation with non-academic sector), teaching grants, networking and international collaboration) (if not available from other national, regional resources or databases),

  • Studying of the programme documentation of the key funding schemes where more specific advice will be provided,

  • Preparing easy to follow guidelines for academic staff, tips for preparing an application in English (if not provided by other actors/grant agencies etc), An example of some tips see below.

  • Defining the operation standards of the support office

    • breakdown of activities - from information about calls for proposals, and basic information, through giving advice to individual applicants, ensuring some formal support documents to the applications, to pre-screening of applications, partner search/promotion of sciencitific teams and preparing/drafting specific application parts)

    • main target group of support (from PhD students, to R4 researchers and professors, or only specific ones, internationals vs. nationals)

    • code of conduct and liability issues

  • Internal promotion of the provided services - defining the communication channels of information broadcasting (institutional mass mailing, social media, intranet, specific webpage)

Several tips on how to prepare a successful application:

  • Read the call text carefully;

  • Make all necessary arrangements at the stage of preparing the application;

  • Make all the financial aspects clear;

  • Plan a project valuable for you (and for partner[s] - if applicable);

  • Learn carefully about the offer of the grant agencies;

  • Plan the project group recruitment (if applicable);

  • Choose publications and achievements that show you from the best perspective;

  • Provide comprehensive information that meets the assessment criteria;

  • Organize the information so that it is legible and logical;

  • Plan concrete results, ambitious publications and grants, and long-term cooperation;

  • Do not assume that something is obvious;

  • Put yourself in the role of an expert (does the application answer its questions?);

  • Devote enough time and pay proper attention to writing the required application;

  • Leave some time for revision and/or proofreading of the application before its submission.

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Research office
  • Project management office
  • Career development centre
Partners involved in practice setup
  • Language centre
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
  • Embassy
  • Career advisor
  • Local/national funding agencies
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Process organization developed
  • Number of processes designed

In the setup phase the external partners’ role is mainly to provide information and trainings to the HEI’s staff:

@Embassy/Cultural institutes - could present details related to the funding opportunities of the respective state, it will allow for a better orientation in the possibilities of applying to foreign grant institutions;

@Local/national funding agencies, @support offices/stakeholders and @Other HEI/research organisation in city/region - meeting with mentioned institutions (in the setup activities  phase) should help HEI be aware of what issues are the most important during the process of organizing support for researchers/academics in the preparation of grant applications, and may also become an opportunity to establish wider cooperation in the future (e.g. in the field of organizing workshops/webinars for scientists on the preparation of grant applications).


Practice delivery

The delivery activities are mainly focused on:

  • searching for and publishing information about upcoming calls for proposals, signposting to the relevant grant databases and announced calls

  • providing up-dated information

  • assisting in project and application drafting.

The support at this stage may also include assisting in finding a project team or inter-institutional project team. The formation of interinstitutional or international research groups is currently a very important factor in research activities. It might be helpful to be familiar with various networking and partner-search opportunities/platforms, facilitating exchange of experience and building professional contacts in order to initiate further research activities/cooperations.

HEIs can prepare databases of potential scientists/top research teams in major scientific disciplines presenting achivements and assets for project cooperation or for hosting further international staff. Another type of support is the coordination of the recruitment process for the project group as well. 

The support staff should undergo regular trainings regarding the support offered.

Challenges (factors to consider): Ensuring the provision of the information and assistance in time. Ensuring regular trainings for the support staff.

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Research office
  • Library
  • Project management office
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Municipality
  • Language centre
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
  • Embassy
  • Career advisor
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Number of researchers assisted annually
  • Average satisfaction rate

In the delivery phase the external partners’ role is mainly to:

  • provide and update information to the HEI’ staff,

  • assist (give feedback, supplement information, etc.) in the project drafting process,

  • help to create inter-institutional projects teams.

@ Municipality and @Embassy: the information delivered and updated can include funding opportunities offered by the city, region or another state.

@ Other HEI: can help to create inter-institutional projects teams and share its experience regarding projects acquiring and drafting.

@EURAXESS centres: the information delivered and updated can include international funding opportunities.

@NCPs for various funding schemes - joint information events/workshops

@Language centre: can support the academic staff regarding the language issues of potential applications and projects.

Examples of practice

National Science Centre Days

The purpose of the event is to encourage researchers at various stages of their research career employed at various research institutions to participate in the calls for proposals launched by the National Science Centre and help them to draft funding proposals. This event is organised on a regular basis, each time in a different part of Poland. This year, it will be co-organised by the academic and research institutions from the Podlasie region, namely the University of Bialystok, the Bialystok University of Technology, the Medical University of Bialystok and the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Bialowieza.

Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange meetings across Poland

It is a series of meetings across Poland: “A day with NAWA” during which Organizers want to introduce the offer and the programmes of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) to institutions, researchers and PhD candidates. During the meeting, NAWA programmes are presented, including a programme for scientists. The participants could also learn more about the offer of programmes directed to institutions. During mentioned meetings are presented the issues of recognition and authentication of documents.

National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic - Tips for Applicants

The website of the National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic provides tips for the applicant on how to write a scholarship-winning application. It covers areas such as Stay Timeframe planning, CV, Motivation letter, Programme of the Stay, Letters of recommendation, and Invitation Letter.

MSCA matchmaking platform - tool to seek future project partners

Platform to allow 1:1 meetings for future MSCA proposals, inspiring sessions, informative workshops and more.  The networking session is temporary, however open for 1 year.

EURAXESS partnering tool - to join and search

In order to establish potential research collaborations or to seek potential workplaces for placements - it is good to search and register in the EURAXESS partnering tool.