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9th Postgraduate Course for Training in Reproductive Medicine and Reproductive Biology

How to raise funds for a research project - Some hints

Eva Mathur
Management Consultant

Selection of topic

1. A project with a topic that addresses national priorities in Reproductive Health (RH) generally stands a better chance to be funded than other projects. The reason for this is that international agencies (bilateral and multilateral aid programs) almost exclusively work within the framework of the Government.

2. The national priorities in RH are most often spelled out by the Ministry of Health. However, other Government Ministries can be resourceful, too. For example: Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, Ministry of Education. Look for the National Population Policy, if such policy exists in your country. When you address a Ministry, it is  wise to do so rather formally with the backing of your institution.

3. If your country has no Population Policy and the Ministries cannot provide documentation on its RH priorities, it means in all probability, that your country is in the process of developing such priorities in collaboration with the major international population agencies (United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Bank, etc)

Writing of the project

1. It is useful to develop and formulate the project using and international donor’s guideline for writing projects, for instance WHO/HRP’s or UNFPA’s guidelines. These can be requested directly from the institutions. This ways one can be assured to use an internationally accepted project format and no major changes will be needed to pass the review.

2.  The rationale of the project should give reference to the national reproductive health policy and it should be clearly stated that the project wishes to address specific needs as part of the national reproductive health program.

3.  State very clear, measurable immediate objectives.

4. The long- term objectives do not necessarily need to be measurable, but can indicate general impact on maternal mortality, infant mortality, breastfeeding practices, contraceptive use, or whatever the topic of the project might be.

5. Develop a reasonable budget in US Dollars and provide cost justification for each item of the budget.

6. Your work plan should describe the input of the work required to advance the project. If the project lasts one year, for instance, describe what you plan to do during the first month, second month, etc. To avoid confusion, do not use calendar months, as it is not possible to tell exactly when a project will start.

How to raise funds

1. Prepare a formal letter and let yourself be introduced by your Head of Department explaining the following:

  • your institution’s affiliation with the government program
  • your functions
  • that you have participated in the Postgraduate Course
  • that you have developed this project in conjunction with the course
  • indicate your sponsor, if you have one.

2. Then use this letter and approach your sponsor and other relevant international agencies present in your country (upon request, the local UNFPA offices can provides this information).

3. If your budget is substantial, you might want  to consider co-sponsorship, i.e. selected components of the budget are selected by one sponsor and other components by another. Furthermore, your own institution or government might be in position to sponsor local costs such as salaries, administrative cost etc.