Research Fellowships Dr John Burden Research Support Services

Research Fellowships
Dr John Burden
Research Support Services
What is a Fellowship?
• A research based training role
• Personal award aimed at developing an academic career
• Available at all stages of career
• PhD
• New post-docs
• Experienced post-docs
• Special circumstances – Career breaks etc
• Limits on eligibility – 10 years postdoc cut off is normal
• Extremely competitive – 10% success rate common
What is a Fellowship?
It is not a research grant
It is about the Person, Place & Project (in that order)
A bigger picture than just research;
•Where will you be in 5 – 10 years time
•How will this Fellowship take you there?
What gets Funded?
What are funders looking for?
Evidence of:
•Academic leading research group in 5-10 years
•Commitment to academic career
•Outstanding research ideas
•Leadership potential
Person, Place, Project
Person - What is in a Track Record?
• Publications – quantity / quality / citations
• Independence – your ideas, not working for someone else
• Funding – collaborations, small amounts, fellowships, prizes
• Managing staff – postdoc, student, research assistant
• Teaching – developing & delivering content
• Get yourself known
• Talks, presentations, workshops, visits, networking, letter of
• Make a plan now!
• address any gaps, training, colleagues
Person - Impact
•What is the outcome of your research?
•Who will benefit from it?
•How will they get to know about it?
papers, publications, conferences, books, workshops,
methods, theory & application
policy, public engagement, enhancing quality of life,
health and creative output, environmental sustainability,
social cohesion
Economic competitiveness, wealth creation,
commercialisation, R&D Investment
Why have you chosen Warwick?
Research Environment - Support necessary for project and developing
research skills
Training Environment – What development opportunities, courses etc
are available to support ECR development?
Dept. commitment
Lab space, equipment, support staff, office
space, finance, contract, future plans
Ability to support research and development,
previous record, independence – not a free
• Internationally leading
• Pushing the boundaries of research in your area
• New direction
• Independent
It is yours – not supervisors
Based on experience and previous research record
Part of the “Big Picture” – where does it lead?
Provide research training
Successful outcome – realistic & deliverable
Writing a successful proposal
General Guidelines
• Funder Documentation – Read guidelines and rules and stick to them
• Match to funder mission & strategic priorities
• Well written, detailed & clear
• Allow sufficient time – Rushed proposals show
• Eligibility criteria vs readiness
• Use input from others – Academics, Fellows, Peers, RSS, non-specialists
• Excellent research, value for money, high impact, well presented
What is in a proposal?
• On-line or paper application form - many “pages” with specific word
limits, etc
• Case for Support
Background, Aims, Methodology
Costing – from Research Support Services or host institution
Justification of Resources
Track Record / CV
Management & Risk
Research Environment
Impact Plan
Supporting letters
What’s in a proposal
• In addition you will also need:
• Referees/ Mentors – careful selection
• Institutional Support/ Departmental sign off
• Future developments
• Gantt chart, equipment quotes, letters of support etc
• Training Programme
Training plans
Post Doc
Where do you want to be in 5/10 years time?
What will you need to be able to do that job?
Where are you now and what skills do you need to bridge the gap?
Research skills, Management Skills, Teaching Experience
Courses, Masters modules, University training & Development schemes
Adding value
Collaborators and mentors
Strengthen your application with support from external collaborators &
mentors, either as a mentor, part of an advisory committee or through
letter of support.
•Experts in field
•Relevant to proposed project
•Outcomes & Impact
•Outside Warwick/Other Departments
•Letters of support
Plan ahead and build your network – conferences, invited speakers,
direct contact.
It all takes time!
Proposal Development
Internal Peer Review
University Sign-Off
The more time you can spend
developing and refining your
proposal, the better it will be.
Allow time to complete formal
submission processes such as
internal peer review and university
sign-off before submission
Minimum of 3 months – don’t leave it
until the last minute
6-9 months before final decision, 1
year until start
What is right for you?
• Research Area – Who is funding it? What schemes are
• Eligibility – experience pre/post PhD, nationality
• Geographical requirements
• Stay put or move on?
• Relationship with host department
• Other ways of funding your work?
• Are you ready?
Sources of Funding
Research Councils BBSRC, MRC, NERC, (ESRC), AHRC
Royal Society
Personal Fellowships, very competitive (<10%).
URF (3-8 Years Post Doc), Dorothy Hodgkin (flexible work)
Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, very prestigious/competitive. Up to 5
years Post Doc.
Wellcome Trust
Major funder of biomedical research, all aspects of biomedical
science, clinical & non-clinical, range of awards for all career
Other Charities
Many charities fund research – specific, problem solving, partial
European Funding
Marie Curie-Sklodowska Fellowships
Must move country
Success rates higher than many other fellowship schemes
Most successful have large input by host academic
Deadline Annually in August – Decision by Christmas
European Research Council (ERC)
Up to 7 years post-doc experience
Excellent science, Excellent researcher
5 years funding aimed at establishing research group
In summary……
• Start early;
• Build track record
• Establish collaborations
• Develop proposal with input from others
• Offer what the Funder wants;
• Fit research to funder criteria
• Understand the form & fill in correctly
• Excellent research, value for money, high impact, well presented
• Remember the bigger picture
• Career Development
• Training award
• Future Academic leader
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