NPAW 2021: Getting the Grant: Strategies for Crafting Competitive Grant Applications

Date & Time

Wednesday, 22 September 2021 - 10:30am to 12:00pm


Online via Zoom


Postdoctoral Fellows Office



In celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week, hear from a panel of experienced grant writers and facilitators about common strategies and pitfalls when writing competitive grant proposals and applications

This panel features:

  • Dr. Stephane Dragon – Manager of Research Development, SPARC; UBC
  • Dr. Omar Herrera – Manager, Transportation Futures, Clean Energy Research Centre; UBC
  • Dr. Erica Machulak – Owner, Hikma Strategies

This event is part of 2021 National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Click here for a list of all NPAW events!


Dr. Jeffrey Richards (Professor, Department of Zoology)

Dr. Jeffrey Richards

Jeffrey Richards is a Professor in the Department of Zoology.  He runs an active research program with a focus on understanding how animals respond to changes in their environmental. His research program spans both basic and applied aspect of animal biology.  He has held NSERC discovery grants, NSERC accelerator supplements, an NSERC collaborative research and development grant, NSERC strategic grants, and most recently a $1.8 million grant from the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund to study how to improve practices in salmon aquaculture.  Professor Richards has also sat on numerous grant review panels and is Chair of the UBC Animal Care Committee, which oversees the ethical review of all animal-based research.  


Dr. Stephane Dragon – Manager of Research Development, SPARC; UBC

Dr. Stephane Dragon

Dr. Stephane Dragon is the Manager, Research Development, SPARC (UBC VP-Research and Innovation Office to Support Programs to Advance Research Capacity. Stephane is a project management professional specializing in the design, administration and evaluation of funding programs that support research, training and knowledge mobilization. He is responsible for the facilitation of faculty support programs designed to enhance research capacity at UBC and leads SPARC’s services for the CIHR Project Grant program. He was responsible for the coordination and delivery of funding programs at the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), and previously reviewed and evaluated policies related to the management and financial administration of grants and awards at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Stephane received his Ph.D. from the Department of Immunology at the University of Manitoba investigating the cellular mechanisms that drive allergic airway inflammation.

Dr. Omar Herrera – Manager, Transportation Futures, Clean Energy Research Centre; UBC

Dr. Omar Herrera

Dr. Omar E Herrera is a Senior Program Manager at the University of British Columbia. He is a mentor, researcher, engineer, and entrepreneur. He has PhD in Mechanical Engineering with an Engineering Management Subspecialisation. His work has taken him from research and development and leadership positions in startups to energy companies to academia. Since 2015 he has been leading research, innovation and partnerships at the University of British Columbia. He has published over 30 publications and patents. He has been working in hydrogen and electrochemistry since his undergrad days. His current research extends from basic science to breakthrough technologies to regulations and policy. His current focus is on hydrogen, energy, optimization and policy.

Dr. Herrera has a long history of developing partnerships with industry, government and academia. He has received over $32M for research and development during his career. The funding has been used to take ideas from the benchtop to prototyping to commercialization.

Dr. Erica Machulak – Owner, Hikma Strategies

Dr. Erica Machulak

Dr. Erica Machulak is the Founder of Hikma Strategies, an organization that helps people with unique expertise attract funding, build partnerships, and communicate complex ideas to new audiences. Through editorial consulting, writing, instructional design, and facilitation, she works with experts across fields to effect change through knowledge exchange. Her work has been published by Inside Higher Ed, Intellect Ltd, the Yearbook of Langland Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (BA), the University of Oxford (MSt.), and the University of Notre Dame (PhD). 


Registration in this session is required, and is now open. Those successfully registered will receive a registration confirmation within one week of the session date.

NO-SHOW PENALTY: If you register and do not attend or cancel after 3pm on the day before the event, it may affect your eligibility to join future events. To avoid this no-show penalty, please cancel by at least 3pm the day before the event by e-mailing


If you have a disability or medical condition that may affect your full participation in the event, please email in advance of the event.


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By participating in a PDFO event, we commit ourselves to:

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This panel will be delivered online via Zoom. The following suggestions may help to improve the online experience:

  • Use headphones to reduce noise and avoid feedback between your mic and speaker.
  • Ensure that you are in a quiet location so that the audio does not get polluted with unwanted noise.
  • Keep your microphone on mute unless you are speaking during the session.
  • In case of technical problems, time for plugin downloads, etc., please attempt to log into the Zoom meeting 10-15 minutes before the start. You will be placed in the waiting room until the official start time.

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