Research Fellowships Dr David Joss EPSRC Advanced Fellow Department of Physics 1st Research Staff Conference
Overview • What opportunities are currently available for research fellowships? • EPSRC Fellowships / STFC Fellowships. • Which qualities are the research councils seeking in an advanced fellow? • The fellowship proposal. Improving your chances of success. • Getting started. • Preparing a proposal. • How your proposal will be reviewed / assessed. • Preparing for the interview. • A case study: My path towards an ARF award.
EPSRC Fellowships • Postdoctoral Fellowships • Advanced Fellowships • Career Advancement Fellowships. • Leadership Fellowships (for permanent academic staff). • Other Fellowships. • Royal Society Industry Fellowships. • Leverhulme Fellowships. • Toshiba Fellowships. http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/ResearchFunding/Opportunities/Fellowships/default.htm
EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowships • Early career fellowships. • Aim to start shortly or immediately after PhD graduation. • Scheme aims to allow new researchers to establish independent research careers. • PDFs provide funds to cover fellow’s salary and low level costs. • Open to international applicants (subject to DWP requirements). • Typically 3 years duration. • Exceptions such as Royal Academy of Engineering / EPRSC fellowships can last for 5 years.
More about PDFs Subject area Availability Closing Dates (fellowships / year) (2008) Mathematical sciences At least 7 30/9/08 Theoretical Comp. Sci. Up to 5 30/9/08 Theoretical Physics Up to 5 30/9/08 Life Science Interface Up to 10 30/9/08 RAE-EPSRC fellowships Up to 10 28/10/08
Career Advancement Fellowships • CAFs provide funds to cover fellow’s salary and research costs. • Approximately 50 advanced research fellowships are awarded each year (CAF and LF). • Last year 451 applications were received. Only 23 CAFs were awarded! Advanced Fellowship scheme aims to allow researchers to establish independent careers of international standing by the end of the fellowship (5 years).
What qualities are requiredin an Advanced Fellow? Excellence in research Leadership Good project management skills Enthusiasm Original thinkers Good communication skills Independence
Getting started. • Contact your host institution’s research support services. • They will advise you about the full economic costings and indirect costs that you will need for your grant submission. • Register for an account on the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. • Select an institution and make contact with the Head of Department. • The Head of Dept will help you make contact with the relevant staff in the central research support services.
Preparing an outline proposal • CV (max 2 sides of A4) • There are strict format and content requirements for your CV. See EPSRC webpage ‘Career Acceleration Fellowship Outline Call’. • List of Publications (no limit). • Order in terms of refereed and unrefereed journal articles and conference proceedings. • Explanatory paragraph indicating impact factors and author ordering conventions. • Indicate 10 articles where you have a leading role in realising the paper. • Do not include articles that have not been accepted for publication. • Case for Support (track record and vision, aims and context).
Case for Support Your chance to shine! • A self-contained description of your track record and the aims and context of your research vision. • Keep it clear, concise and free from jargon. • Follow the format rules regarding page limits, fonts and margins etc., • Track record (1 side of A4) • Do not duplicate the CV or publication list. • State your most significant results, the impact of your work, your relevant collaborative work. • You can include work that has not been accepted for publication e.g. papers in preparation.
Case for Support • What is the international context? Who are your competitors? • Does your proposed research overlap with a key strategic priority? • Vision aims and objectives (max 2 sides of A4) • Describe broad aims of research, describe problem that you wish to solve, the methods you intend to use. • Highlight what is original about this research. How does it differ from your supervisor/group leader?
Case for Support – Your chance to shine! • Summarise key staff and equipment in terms of length of post or cost. ASK YOUR HEAD OF DEPARTMENT AND COLLEAGUES TO READ YOUR PROPOSAL AND COMMENT BEFORE YOU SUBMIT ! • Why is this work timely? Explain in terms of research and your personal career progression. • Why are you the right person to deliver this research programme? • ‘I’ not ‘We’ ! • Justify choice of host institution. What can they offer you?
ARF Full Proposal Submission New in 2009 • Letters of support from project partners • Quotes for equipment (where applicable) • Case for Support • Impact Plan (max 2 sides of A4) • Justification of Resources (1 side of A4) • Diagrammatic Work Plan (1 side of A4) • e.g. Gantt Chart
The Impact Plan • Replaces the beneficiaries section from previous years. • Economic impact (EI) assesses demonstrable contribution of research on society and the UK economy. • Impact Summary (max 4000 characters) • Who will benefit from your research? • How will they benefit? (Better public services, increased economic competitiveness, commercial exploitation) • What will be done to ensure that interested parties will benefit? (Communication and engagement strategies) • What are the realistic timescales? • How does the skills base develop? • The full proposal is reviewed by at least 4 expert referees (including one suggested in your application). • You will receive referees reports and have the opportunity to respond to factual inaccuracies.
Economic Impact • Academic Beneficiaries Section (max. 4000 characters) • How will other researchers in your field benefit from your research? • Are there beneficiaries in other disciplines? • What are researchers (UK + International) likely to be interested in? • What is the academic impact of your research? • Will you produce data that is valuable to other sectors?
Justification of Resources • Travel and subsistence. • Are the number of scientific visits appropriate? Why are chosen conferences likely to advantageous? • Justify equipment costs. • Are equipment costs reasonable? Do you need laptop and PC, etc? • Research student or PDRA? • Justify your choice – e.g is the project too technical for a student? • Justify staff time. • How much time will your staff be dedicating to the project?
The Full Proposal Review • The full proposal is reviewed by at least 4 expert referees (including one suggested in your application). • You will receive referees’ reports and have the opportunity to respond to factual inaccuracies. • Keep your responses short and factual. • If your referees’ reports are positive there is a good chance that you will be invited to interview.
What makes a good proposal? An Original Idea International leadership & collaboration A feasible methodology Future research vision Awareness of research impact & potential Awareness of broad research context Reasonable balance of risk and return Reliable costings & clear justification of resources Adventure in research
Preparing for the Interview • Panel Interview. • Approximately 6 experts from the broad remit of the research council. • Get your host department to arrange a ‘mock’ interview panel. • Be prepared to answer questions on justification of resources / project management / contingencies. • Prepare a synopsis of your research. • Broad outline and context. • Key milestones to realising aims. • Ask advice from successful applicants from your research community.
Approximate ARF Timescales Sept 2009 Submit outline proposal to host institution. Late Sept 2009 Host submits outline proposal to research council. Mid - Dec 2009 Decision on candidates to invite to submit full proposal. Feb 2010 Closing date for full proposals. May 2010 Decision on candidates succeeding to interview stage. June 2010 Interviews. June 2010 Final allocation panel meets. July 2010 Fellowships announced. July 2010 – March 2011 Fellowship awards are started.
A case study: My path towards an ARF • Graduated with PhD from Liverpool (1998). • Temporary lecturer Staffordshire & Keele Universities (1998 – 2001) • Opportunity to demonstrate academic role capability. • Opportunity to establish a new research direction. • Joined a UK collaboration to build the GREAT spectrometer. • Principal investigator on EPSRC grant (~£6k travel & subsistence) • Co-investigator on another EPSRC grant (~£40k) • Additional funds EU trans-national access to facilities support. • Preparing experiment proposals for international peer review. • Spokesman for approved experiments at international accelerator labs.
My experiences in research: A case study • Higher Scientific Officer, Daresbury Laboratory (2001 - 2005). • Spokesman for approved experiments at international accelerator labs. • Writing first authored publications for high-impact refereed journals. • Presented work at international workshops, IoP conferences & invited seminars. • Obtained a 3-month visitor grant for an international colleague from Royal Society. • Applied for EPSRC Advanced Fellowship. • ARF awarded in July 2005.
What you can do to improve your chances. You’re Hired! • Raise your research profile • Publish good work in high-impact refereed journals. • Give seminars and talks to your international research community. • Develop a track record in obtaining funding. • Travel grants, project grants, visitor-exchange grants. • Take on leadership roles. • Take on key roles in proposal writing, experiment & equipment design, data analysis, writing publications ….