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Five-year research plan for job application
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tresleches · 06/09/2022 10:16

I'm an ECR have to submit a five-year research "outline" for a job application - social sciences - and I'm struggling to (1) work out the level of detail for an "outline" and (2) decide the best format (i.e. text or table). It's also a teaching heavy post, so do not want to over-claim on progression of research plans

I have begun with separate five-year plans for two research projects, with categories including "research grant", "knowledge exchange" etc, however this format is already requiring a level of projection/detail that seems unrealistic. Additionally, it's likely that one of the projects will begin a year before the next, so perhaps a combined 5-year table is better?

Has anyone written one of these for a job application and have any advice? I have asked colleagues but noone has had to do one before! I have googled, and not found much useful practical information as examples tend to be extremely detailed for people in post rather than a slightly more strategic/concise job application.

Any advice most gratefully received :)

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bigkidsdidit · 06/09/2022 19:53

I’ve done one. How many words are you allowed?

I was allowed one page. I did an intro emphasising unanswered questions; 3 aims of work I would do; collaborations I could establish with colleagues in the department I was applying to; and funding I would target. It was tight!

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tresleches · 06/09/2022 20:02

Oh that sounds like an achievable structure - no word count has been given, only "outline" of five years. Perhaps suggests one page? I'm adding too much detail already..

Did you write yours in plain text or put it in a table?

I like the collaborations in the dept idea, I will add that. Thank you!

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bigkidsdidit · 06/09/2022 20:36

I did mine plain text. I didn’t put in any prelim data but I did mention bits (eg ‘using my novel and well-characterised cohort collected over the past two years j will…’

blow your own trumpet!

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tresleches · 06/09/2022 21:05

Thank you, and for trumpet advice, I needed that!

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parietal · 06/09/2022 22:01

specify

  • what your major research ambition is. what BIG question do you want to answer & why does it matter
  • who you want to collaborate with (inside & outside this university)
  • what grants you will apply for (several options, some top-rank and some smaller)
  • how you will get PhD students (find out what rules your new uni has on this)
  • what resources you will bring to the job / need to access
  • knowledge exchange activities
  • conferences / events you might plan or have a big role in


I would do plain text, not a table because the different topics may not fit neatly into different years.
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tresleches · 07/09/2022 10:15

Brilliant, thank you - looks like I need to keep it simpler than I have been

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LuftBalloons · 07/09/2022 18:06

The overall point of this is to demonstrate that

  1. you have a handle on your overall research trajectory, and that it is legible - so that the selection committee can see how your current research proceeds logically from your PhD or postdoc work - or that you can tell the narrative of your research career to date, and how that expands and develops over the next 5 years.

    And 2) that you are fully cognisant of what it means to do research in the modern university & the UK system of grants, REF etc.

    If you think it's a teaching-heavy post & you want to mitigate risk & demonstrate feasibility, then you might also include something about the way that you could use some of your research to inform research-led teaching - so that you double up opportunities to explore research ideas by using them in your teaching, and you expose your students to cutting edge research.
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MedSchoolRat · 11/09/2022 11:49

It's cool you know what to write & have a plan, OP.

I effectively ended up being PI on a grant recently and omg I hate it. In particular the progress reporting to funder, the staff management (even getting a contract set up for staff is turning out to be a huge hassle), and potential forward planning for follow-up research are all enormously pissing me off. It's good I had this little taster & can be happier than ever in my lack of aspiration for career progression.

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tresleches · 11/09/2022 20:12

Thanks again for all advice, including @LuftBalloons my final draft has elements of all your comments, and a colleague has read it over for me. If I get an interview or even the post, I will be back with more thanks :)

@MedSchoolRat I share your ambivalence towards some of the boxes we have to tick.. especially when a lot of research doesn't need significant funding per se, but promotion criteria requires bigger numbers to be applied for. And as someone told me recently "the skills you need to win a big grant are not the skills you need to manage one"

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