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Grant writing support for ERC Starting grant applications

'We offer a personal, individually tailored and educationally focussed journey of excellence.'

We offer services through all stages of the ERC Starting proposal development and writing process (each is a stand alone service to cater to the needs of each applicant).

All of our work is educationally focussed. I.e. the applicant learns much more than just how to write an ERC grant. We teach researchers how to better review their own work and further enhance their grant writing skills – all of which can be taken and used into the future with other granting bodies and schemes.


Here, we work with applicants who already have a developed proposal concept to write the B2 and B1 documents. This phase starts 6-12 months prior to a call deadline, and includes:

  • Concept finalisation prior to the commencement of the writing.

  • Critical support, feedback and in-depth review of drafts, including CV/TR.

  • Substantive editing of the proposal (for clarity, consistency, flow, tone of voice).

  • Coaching on how to create a strong and balanced B1 from a fully written B2 draft.

This is our most popular form of support
Here, we mostly start working with applicants from the beginning of the writing process (6-12 months before a call deadline), providing advice and support so as to facilitate a strong foundation for the candidate to then start writing and provide in-depth support throughout the writing process. At the commencement of all projects we also work with candidates to create a timeline for sending drafts for review (both to us and to the candidate’s scientific colleagues), thus ensuring that the candidate has sufficient time to optimise the final quality and content of the completed proposal.

Here, we work with applicants closer to the deadline and review a fully written draft of both B2 and B1 (over 1 or two rounds of review).

  • As most applicants approach us for this support close to a call deadline, we are more limited in the number of applicants we can support with this option.  In this case, the earlier an applicant has a full draft ready, the more likely we have availability to take on supporting an applicant.


  • Our feedback on drafts is highly personalised, in-depth, direct and to the point, and should we identify weaknesses in a proposal, we will always work at providing the applicant with suggestions and/or options as to how the weakness can be remedied.

  • When any of our clients interact with us, they will find us to be down to earth and approachable professionals, who have a real passion for what we do, and we understand and appreciate how busy the life of an academic can be.

  • All of our work is based on a strong process-driven foundation.

  • We believe in honesty and transparency, and in building strong and healthy relationships with our clients.

Our method of delivery is via (1) personal ‘one-on-one’ online coaching and feedback sessions; and (2) online via email. The breakdown of this is individually tailored to each individual (some applicants may find online meetings more helpful, whilst others may have more of a preference for working more though email.

You will work directly with with either Fire Sanders or Willem Bouma, both qualified and experienced senior trainers. Both Willem and Fire have experience working with all panels and areas of research, and have worked with numerous applicants and institutions throughout around Europe and beyond. 

We have over 15 years (specifically) working on European, Dutch and other national research grant proposals - and over 25 years experience with scientific promotion cases, research grant applications, interview training, review and editing of high impact research journal articles and writing nominations for prestigious prizes and awards. We specialise in what we do and offer – and ERC grant writing is no exception.

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Hello. Thank you so kindly for your message and query. We will respond to you within 24 hours, and most often quicker than this. Kindest of regards, Fire and Willem @ Whitehorne