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Grant Writing: In Conversation With Experts

Writing Winning Grant Applications and Overcoming Rejection

Date: April 5, 2023

Location: Virtual

This event featured two leading Australian quantum science professors: Prof Stephen Bartlett and Scientia Prof Sven Rogge who have collectively secured dozens of grants, many of which were large-scale collaborative projects. The discussion highlighted many important aspects of successful grant writing and building a strong research career. Some of the topics of discussion included:

  • How to write a strong research proposal, with the emphasis on clearly stating the research objectives and demonstrating the impact of the proposed study, and addressing how the project will advance knowledge in the field.

  • Importance early-career researchers receiving encouragement and support from their supervisors.

  • Considering internal funding schemes during a postdoctorate position, pointing out how internal funding schemes could lay a strong foundation for future applications for external funding, building one's reputation, and increasing chances of success.

  • Dealing with unsuccessful grant applications. Rejections are a part of the grant application process and they should not be viewed as personal failures but as opportunities for growth and development.

  • Differences between Australian and European grant applications, stressing that understanding the cultural, administrative, and strategic differences between regions can improve the chances of success when applying for international grants.

  • Importance of increasing one's profile through awards. Awards not only bring recognition but also enhance credibility and can significantly increase a researcher's visibility in their field, helping them attract more funding and collaborate on higher impact projects.

  • Importance of mentors. Having a mentor who can provide guidance, feedback, and support is crucial in navigating the complex and often challenging academic environment. They can help researchers develop their skills, gain broader perspectives on their work, and open up networking opportunities.

  • Ability to deliver on a grant. It is just as critical as securing it. Not only does it affect the researcher's reputation and potential future funding opportunities, but it also has a direct impact on the advancement of knowledge and societal benefit that the research aims to contribute.

Watch the recording here.

About the Speakers:

Stephen is a theoretical quantum physicist and Professor in the School of Physics. He leads a team pursuing both fundamental and applied research in quantum information theory, including the theory of quantum computing. He is a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), where he leads a research program on Designer Quantum Materials. He is the inaugural Lead Editor of the APS journal PRX Quantum.

Stephen completed his Ph.D. in mathematical physics at the University of Toronto in 2000. Moving to Australia, he directed his research to the theory of quantum computing, first as a Macquarie University Research Fellow and then as an ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. Since 2005, he has led a research program in theoretical quantum physics at University of Sydney, with interests spanning quantum computing, quantum measurement and control, quantum many-body systems, and the foundations of quantum theory.


Sven is Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW).  He is an internationally recognised expert in condensed matter physics and quantum information science. As an experimental physicist, Sven’s research focuses on quantum systems in a solid-state environment and their translation to applications in quantum materials and technology. His work on understanding the physics of donor and quantum-dot qubits and their quantum applications has led to more than 150 articles with more than 6,000 citations.

Sven is the immediate past President of the Australian Institute of Physics and was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW and until the end of 2019, he was the Head of the School of Physics. Before joining UNSW in 2011 as a professorial level ARC Future Fellow, Sven worked at the Kavli Institute for Quantum Nano Science at Delft University and Stanford University.

Sven grew up in Germany and a fascination with science from an early age led him to study Physics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He then went on to obtain a PhD in Physics from Stanford University in 1997. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of New South Wales, and a Program Manager at the Australian Research Council’s Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T).

The QW team.

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