YWU-60312 Research Master Cluster: Proposal Writing


Credits 12.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper8
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. WKP van Loon
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. R Geurts
dr. CF Barrett
prof. dr. JH Bitter
A Pachuau MSc
dr. NB Sutton
BM Horvath
dr. JAB Duncan
dr. VGAA Vleeshouwers
dr. ir. H Bouwmeester
dr. AE Mars
dr. O Noroozi
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. D de Ridder
dr. ir. WKP van Loon
prof. dr. JH Bitter
prof. dr. ir. CGPH Schroën
prof. dr. T Bisseling

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

The student has to have finished the writing phase of the MSc thesis before starting with this course. 
Further requirements are: 

1. submit a motivation letter;
2. organise a personal coach, as an academic expert on the relevant research area to support the writing of a PhD grant proposal (e.g. thesis supervisor);
3. arrange a confirmation letter from the personal coach stating the acceptance of the supervision of the the writing process. This should include a statement  that the student is a potential PhD candidate and  that the coach has the available time to discuss the proposal at least one hour per week;
4. have information literacy, computer literacy and presentation skills;
5. have English verbal and writing skills on a level that allows self-reflection, feedback and independent functioning in the feedback network.

The motivation letter an dthe statement of the personal coach need to be uploaded at: https://sharepoint.wur.nl/sites/rmc/SitePages/Home.aspx

Deadlines for the upload are: 12th June for period 1; 16th September for period 2; 11th November for combined period 3-4; 31th January for period 5; and 24th March for period 6. 


The course Research Master Cluster: Proposal Writing specifically is to acquire and improve students'  professional skills in writing and defending a scientific research proposal. The student will conceive a realistic scientific idea and develop this into an attractive grant proposal of high quality that can be defended before a jury of experts and peers. 

The student is in charge of the proposal writing process and is responsible to arrange the meetings and make agreements with his/her personal coach, the group coach, fellow students and/or other experts.

Besides the actual writing, presenting and defending, additional skills training will be given, such as argumentation and presentation skills.Additional lectures deal with stakeholder analysis, including the identification of governmental, public, private and industry funds for supporting scientific research (e.g. EU, KNAW, NWO, Top Sectors or company-based R&D). Reflection on personal and other students performances is an integral part of the process. Also lectures on publication culture, ethics and daily life as a PhD student are given.

During the course, the students formulate and compose the proposals, based on the application form “NWO Open Competition Domain Science - Klein-1” provided by NWO, who is considered as the external commissionaire for the purpose of this course. Reflection on personal learning goals and the student’s performance is an integral part of the process.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- apply academic knowledge and skills to design a research project in the context of the Wageningen Life Sciences domain;
- collect relevant information within a scientific field, identify existing gaps in knowledge and translate them into research objectives;
- define and describe the methodological aspects of the chosen approach in the research project;
- critically analyze the scientific merits of other's research proposals;
- present and defend a PhD grant proposal;
- communicate effectively with other academics, including personal and group coaches, reviewers, and a scientific jury;
- reflect upon your own research proposal;
- reflect upon their  functioning as an academic;
-become efficient in organising meeting and reaching deadlines.


Students will write their own proposal under supervision of senior scientists, members of one of the Graduate Schools within Wageningen University. Students will be part of a multidisciplinary groups of 7-10 international students. The intermediate products, such as the pre-and the draft proposals, will be presented and evaluated in these groups, which will act as a scientific community.  Peer-reviewing, practising presentation and argumentation will take place also in the groups.


The assessment consist of three parts:
- writing process by the personal coach (30%);
- written PhD proposal by the lecture team (40%);
- oral presentation by the scientific jury(30%).

Restricted Optional for: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMSc3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MBIBiologyMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MOAOrganic AgricultureMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MEEEarth and EnvironmentMSc2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MFNForest and Nature ConservationMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MLPLandscape Architecture and PlanningMSc6WD
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MPSPlant SciencesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMSc2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MBEBiosystems EngineeringMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MNHNutrition and HealthMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MBFBioinformaticsMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MTOTourism, Society and EnvironmentMSc6WD
MIDInternational Development StudiesMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD
MCHCommunication, Health and Life SciencesMSc3WD+4WD, 6WD
MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMSc1WD, 2WD, 3WD+4WD, 5WD, 6WD