Fellowships

(6 Posts)
MedSchoolRat Sun 09-Sep-18 15:56:27

In about 12months I should have 2 papers published that could support me getting a possible grant or fellowship for follow-on research. Fellowship route looks like wall of obstacles but fellowships pay a lot more money I shouldn't rule out unless sure. TIA if anyone thinks they know answers to below questions.

Does pretty much every fellowship application want a career progression plan from applicants? Do they only want to fund future leaders?

(Other info): I am an RA in public health last 5 years, my PhD was 20 years ago in a different subject. In 12m should have ~34 recent public-health publications, but only 2 will be very similar to the grant proposal idea I have. Is 2/34 too weak?

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Orchiddingme Mon 10-Sep-18 08:29:00

I am not sure of the specifics, I would guess most fellowships would be for future leader types just because they are so competitive. What I do if I want to make an application for a grant is find someone in my institution who has made a successful application already and look at that to see what's likely to be needed. This is facilitated by grant support though, I don't just approach them but it's extremely helpful. You could ask someone as a favour as well if you know anyone.

MedSchoolRat Mon 10-Sep-18 08:57:45

Thanks for reply. That makes sense. I don't know anybody to ask favours of. (Such a wall of hidden obstacles).

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Orchiddingme Mon 10-Sep-18 09:20:36

Can you approach your grant/fellowship office for advice? Our institution has people to assist with every type of externally funded application and they would have a good idea of what you need, publication and otherwise. The downside of this is you are not allowed to make applications without considerable input from them, and often internal competitions, so it can make the process longer and not always in your favour, but it does add a layer of rigour to the whole thing. I would seek advice from someone for sure.

user2222018 Mon 10-Sep-18 21:53:09

I think you really do need research field specific advice.

In my research areas fellowship salaries are not higher: they are just on postdoctoral/lecturer scales, depending on the length of the fellowship.

While more and more schemes are removing criteria such as years since PhD (mostly for ED&I reasons), it would be challenging to get fellowships in many areas with many years of postdoctoral experience. This is not the usual career path in many research fields: people are expected to progress after a few years of postdoctoral research to a long term/permanent position so indeed fellowship applications are assessed with a view to future leadership.

You have written before that a career path of multiple short term contracts is not uncommon in your area, so perhaps the criteria and assessment of fellowships reflect this? Unfortunately I wouldn't know.

For the publication record: again this is going to be hugely dependent on field. I sit on panels for several different but parallel disciplines. What would be a great record for one area is by no means enough for another, as fellowships are much more competitive in the latter area.

If you cannot ask colleagues at your current institution, could you perhaps ask your questions to funders directly? And you can of course read through the instructions for the specific fellowship schemes to get a sense of what weight is put on being a future leader and career progression. You can also look up the success rates and look at who was successful, what kind of record they had.

MedSchoolRat Tue 11-Sep-18 08:45:39

good point, I'm just looking at my institution salary scale for research fellows (goes about £10k above my scale). Maybe I'd be stuck on the lowest part of the scale, anyway.

Will be much easier to just plan to write a grant proposal so I'm planning that, now. Means I don't have to puzzle thru this kind of thing and all the unspoken expectations (like, "You Must Plan to Become Prestigious"). Still 2-3 years planning to come, even for a mere grant app.

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