Applying for a Fellowship - hands on advice
- University of Liverpool
- North West
- Date first submitted:
- 16 Nov 2009
- Date last modified:
- 16 Nov 2009
- Relationship to RDF:
- Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Knowledge base
- Domain B: Personal effectiveness
- Professional and career development
- Domain C: Research governance and organisation
- Research management
- Finance, funding and resources
- Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
- Researcher-led activities
- Research project skills
- Enterprise-related activities
- Career development
- Research staff
Impact Level 2: Learning
Research Staff aspiring to achieve own research independence have the opportunity to discuss research funding and processes with current Research Fellows. This includes the opportunity to improve their knowledge on funding mechanisms and discuss opportunities that are available to them as well as understand how the process works and what they should be thinking about for developing during the early stages of their research careers. The workshop aims to increase the confidence of new researchers and motivate them to engage with funding schemes that are relevant to their disciplines. The impact of attending the training session is immediate in terms of clarifying key information and highlighting successful practice through evidence provided by the experienced Research Fellow. Following the input and presentation from the Research Fellow, participants have the opportunity to use the information they have received and link it to their own practice, within their research area and the work they have developed to this stage. This can be considered as an early, informed step in the preparation for a funding application. It may materialise in the near future with further help from the PI and personal commitment to submit a competitive proposal to a funding scheme.
Impact Level 3: Behaviour
The course isn't compulsory, as a results, researchers attend on their own merit, most likely recognising that the nature of this training opportunity will be beneficial to them in their future career development. This in itself demonstrates an active engagement on behalf of the researcher and a behavioural change towards assuming responsibility and planning own career development. Through active reflection and self awareness, participants recognise the value of attending an accredited course that will allow them to demonstrate their commitment to CPD and academic related work.
Impact Level 4: Outcomes
Evidence that we have collected up to this stage gives us the indication that more researchers are actively looking to gain funding by applying to appropriate externally sponsored opportunities. This arrangement enhances the University's reputation as more early career researchers are engaging with projects that are funded externally. This has a direct impact to the University's rates in terms of funding success and an increase in research projects sponsored by funding bodies where research staff are managing the process. In addition, the researchers themselves benefit from their success and demonstrating the impact of their work. This should lead to better career prospects.
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
A step further in the career of a researcher is to consider applying for a fellowship that will allow moving towards independence in the research career path. The application experience is complicated and the whole process is extremely competitive and requires proven excellence in research methods and high impact output. Researchers new to the process can benefit from the experience that has been developed by existing fellowship holders. On an institutional level, research staff who successfully apply for fellowships add to the University's research profile and the evidence of achieving research excellence.
The training fits well with institutional commitment to effective reseacher development and communication amongst researchers for the benefit of the researcher community.
The seminars will be facilitated by Fellows and they will use their successful application to deliver the key information. Each part of the application will be discussed and the session will offer the opportunity to research staff to experience the process through a reflective discussion and pragmatic advice from the Fellow.
The main aim of this training provision is to offer the opportunity to early career research staff to consider the next step in their careers within a research context. Identifying as early as possible the opportunities that exist should allow researchers to consider their options and take control and shape their own development agenda.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
The workshops are open to research staff who consider applying for a fellowship. The workshops are expected to be interactive so participants need to engage with the speaker and the information presented.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
This training provision is part of a wider development arrangement that aims to support the career structure of research staff. Benefits include enhancing the profile of the University through a potential increase in the number of successful fellowship applications as well as giving the opportunity to research staff to receive quality support in a demanding and competitive application process.
The course facilitator has to engage productively with the audience and guide them through their reflective thinking. Research trends and topics change all the time, as a result fellowship candidates need to be able to understand the research environment and apply the information they received in the session in the current context and the contemporary challenges that are in place in the research agenda of a funder.
Senior researchers are busy with their own roles and the session they have to deliver is demanding in terms of preparation time and effective delivery. This type of mentoring needs to be integrated to the role profile of the Fellow and rewarded by appropriate institutional mechanisms.
Senior researchers who have been successful in the application process for a fellowship consider this type of training as part of their role and are willing to to mentor early career researchers and offer detailed advice and information on funding opportunities and moving towards independent research status. Their contribution needs to be taken into account in the institutional reward mechanisms and Fellows recognise that their experience is of benefit to the developing careers of new researchers.