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Individual writing support for ERC Synergy research grant applications

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

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

Preparing for an ERC Synergy grant is a challenging and time consuming process - on top of the everyday challenges of academic life. Our focus is on making this process as enjoyable and as stress free as possible - for all individuals that we work with.

All of our work is also educationally focussed. 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.

A hallmark of the way in which we work with applicants is the numerous interactions throughout the support process - allowing for a fully personalised trajectory for each applicant that we support.


Here, we work with applicants who already have a developed proposal concept to write the B2 and B1 documents. This phase starts 5-12 months prior to a call deadline, and includes:

  • Concept expansion (scoping the content of B2 document) prior to the commencement of the writing.

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

  • 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.

Here, we work with applicants closer to the deadline and review a fully written draft of 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 quite limited in the number of applicants we can support with this option, and only take on this support if we have capacity to do so.


  • 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.

  • Our support is also highly educationally focussed, helping (1) applicants develop their grant writing skills in such a way that they can better write and present proposals into the future, and (2) helping applicants be better mentors to junior members within their own group.

  • 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