Getting Started in Research
Kathryn Adcock
Wellcome Trust
University of Birmingham
27 September 2011
Outline
• Wellcome Trust
• who we are
• what we fund
• Applying for funding
• the written application
• the interview
Wellcome Trust
•We were established in
1936
•We are funded from a
private endowment
•We spend approximately
£600 million on grants per
year
•Our interests range from
science to the history of
medicine to public
engagement
Our vision and mission
Our vision is to achieve
extraordinary
improvements in human
and animal health
Our mission is to support
the brightest minds in
biomedical research and
the medical humanities
Five major challenges
1) Maximising the health
benefits of genetics and
genomics
2) Understanding the brain
3) Combating infectious
diseases
4) Investigating
development, ageing
and chronic disease
5) Connecting
environment, nutrition
and health
Medical research:
Extraordinary opportunities
• Phenotyping people
• Physiology
• Pathology
• Medical imaging
• Informatics
• Genetics
• Measuring the environment
• unpicking complex disease
• understanding complex processes
• new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines
Wellcome Trust funding schemes
Support for individual researchers
Principal Research Fellowships
BASIC
Senior Research Fellowships
Sir Henry Dale Fellowships
NIH-WT PhD
Programmes
WT-MIT Postdoctoral Fellowships
Four-year
PhD
Studentship
Programmes
Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral
Fellowships
CLINICAL
Senior Investigator Awards
Clinical PhD
Programmes
New Investigator Awards
Research
Training
Fellowships
Early Postdoctoral Training
Fellowships
PhD
PUBLIC HEALTH &
TROPICAL MEDICINE
Postdoctoral Training MB/PHD
Fellowships
Intermediate Clinical Fellowships
Senior Research Fellowships
Training Fellowships in Public
Health & Tropical Medicine
Masters
Fellowships
Principal Research Fellowships
Intermediate Fellowships in Public Health &
Tropical Medicine
Senior Fellowships in Public Health & Tropical Medicine
EARLY
INTERMEDIATE
SENIOR
Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellowships
Research
Training
Fellowship
Intermediate Clinical
Fellowship
Postdoc Training
Fellowship for
MB/PhD graduates
Schemes
administered
by the Trust
Early Postdoctoral
Training
Fellowship for
Clinician Scientists
Trust
schemes
administered
by host
institutions
Clinical PhD
Programmes
Training Programmes for Clinicians
in Translational Medicine & Therapeutics
Senior Research Fellowship
in Clinical Science
Principal Research Fellowship
New Investigator Award
Senior Investigator Award
Trust-administered schemes
Research Training Fellowships
• Who?
• for medical, dental,
veterinary and clinical
psychology graduates
• little or no research training
to date
• Why?
• to develop a career in
academic medicine
• MD or PhD
Research Training Fellowships
• What?
• high-quality, hypothesisdriven research project
• up to 3-years
• clinical salary
• research expenses
Research Training Fellowships
• Considered three times a year
• Interviews in:
• November/December
• April
• June/July
• No preliminary application
required
• Trust staff happy to discuss
plans
Next deadline for full
applications: 17 September &
8 February 2013
Imperial-administered schemes
PhD Programmes for Clinicians
• Programme is tailored to the
unique needs of clinicianscientists
• Programmes provide:
• a structured, well-mentored
environments
• access to high-quality
research environments
Apply to institution directly.
Look out for adverts in BMJ,
Imperial & Trust websites –
coming soon!
Interdisciplinary Training Programmes for
Clinicians in Translational Medicine and
Therapeutics
• to provide clinicians with the
expertise to design and conduct
studies that aim to develop and
evaluate novel therapies in
humans
• Partnerships
• academic institution
(Imperial)
• industrial partner (GSK)
Interdisciplinary Training Programmes for
Clinicians in Translational Medicine and
Therapeutics
• Programmes at:
• Imperial College London
• University of
Edinburgh/Scotland
• University of Cambridge
• Newcastle University
Trust-administered schemes
Postdoctoral opportunities and beyond…
• Postdoctoral Training Fellowship
for MB/PhD Graduates
•Early Postdoctoral Training
Fellowship for Clinician Scientists
• Starter Grants for Clinical
Lecturers (run by AMS)
• Intermediate Clinical Fellowship
• Senior Clinical Fellowship
Applying for funding
The Process
Good idea
Choose a funding agency & scheme
Preliminary application stage?
Write application
University admin office
Submit application
External review
Short-listing Committee
Interview
Committee
Reject
Fund
Fellowships
• How do we assess
applications?
• Person
• Project
• Place
Tips on writing a good application
Before starting your application….
• Read the application form and guidance
notes carefully
• Check deadlines to avoid rushed
applications
• Think about who you may need to contact
for information/signatures
• Is your boss going on holiday, to a
conference etc?
• Allow time for the application to be
processed by the admin office
• Warn people that your application is
coming
• Queries? Contact the funder’s office staff
A ‘good’ application
• A strong and original central
hypothesis/research vision
• Easy to understand and read
• Consider all readers
• avoid jargon
• avoid abbreviations
• check grammar and spelling
• Requests for resources should be
justified
• Animal use and studies using
human subjects should be carefully
justified and power calculations
provided, where appropriate
A ‘good’ application
• Not over- or under-ambitious
• Takes into account the current
literature (including conflicting
opinions)
• Clear research plan.
• approach is feasible
• realistic timescale
• potential pitfalls and fall-back
plans
• Appropriate expertise
• sponsors, collaborators and
research team
A ‘good’ application
• Get someone with a critical eye to
read your application before you
submit it
• Very senior people may not have
the time
• Try someone outside your area
The Interview
Beforehand
Practice, practice, practice!!!
There is no substitute for mock interviews
Own the project
Be familiar with recent advances in the
field
Find out who is on the panel & know what
they do
Afterwards
• Don’t call us, we’ll call you
• Yes – celebrate and get to work!
• No – ask for feedback, many
funders will give detailed advice
• Will a re-submission be
considered if so what must
change?
Questions?
www.wellcome.ac.uk
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Getting Started in Research