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Is a fellowship right for me?

Is a fellowship right for me?

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Is a fellowship right for me?

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  1. Is a fellowship right for me? Chris Blanford 19 September 2013 Some parts flagrantly plagiarised from slides by Nigel Birch, EPSRC

  2. Born in Chicago

  3. Raised in Ohio

  4. University, etc.

  5. My career path • Undergraduate in Chemical Engineering • Postgraduate in Inorganic Chemistry • Porous materials & photonics • 22 papers (Chem. Mater., Adv. Mater., JACS, Science) • PDRAs in Oxford

  6. Oxford: could have been better • PDRA #1: sold on a name • Photonics • Poorly managed • 3 papers, none first author • PDRA #2: luck over skill • Enzyme electrochemistry • 4 papers • Significant, independent results

  7. To date Job history The jobs I didn’t get Royal Society University Research Fellow President of Ireland Young Research Award ERC Starter Grant Glasstone Research Fellowship JRFs at Worcester and St Hilda’s colleges Birmingham Research Fellow Faculty posts at Buffalo, Cambridge Materials, EPFL, Imperial College, Bristol, Imperial College, BGSU, UIUC MSE, Toronto, Maryland, Cornell, UW Seattle (MSE), Wisconsin, Iowa, Georgia Tech (Chem), Northwestern, Rochester, Pitt, MIT, Manchester, Florida, Corning, Chicago, Michigan, UIUC chemistry, Penn State, Central Florida, University College Dublin, Delaware, Iowa State, UCSD, Texas A&M, Oregon State, CWRU, UW Seattle 1991–1995: B.S. Chem. Eng. Notre Dame 1995–2000: Ph.D. Chemistry, Minnesota 2001–2004: PDRA Oxford Chemistry 2004: visiting researcher, Oxford Chemistry 2004–2008: PDRA Oxford Chemistry 2008–2011: EPSRC CAF, Oxford 2011–2013: EPSRC CAF, Manchester 2013–present: Lecture, UoM Materials

  8. Person spec: should I apply? EPSRC Chris Blanford Why do I want to do this? I love my work more than any other part of my life Academic life is comfortable Do I have more ideas than time? Would others see the importance of my work? Can I express myself well in writing? • Independence of ideas • Evidence of leadership • Awareness of other research, desire to work across boundaries • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

  9. Inaugural CAF The process My applications Met a highlighted need Clear benefit to society Crammed full with more ideas than possible Pushing at the boundaries Supported by the track record Clearly different and independent Some peer review goodToo much is bad Response to reviewers hugely important • Initial outline proposal with costing • 1 in 6 went forward • Full proposal • ½ were shortlisted • Interview • ½ were funded • <5% success rate • Lower rate than URF • After a certain point: luck

  10. Assessment criteria EPSRC Chris Significant papers or papers that define a new area of research Show that your work will be different enough from others This will be your own area (not a team) Others interested in your work Acceptable level of risk Giving the reviewers cut-and-paste responses in your application • Research quality • The candidate • Track record • Evidence of leadership • Communication • Importance • Research Environment • Impact • Resources and management • Fit to strategic priorities

  11. I’ve got an interview. Now what? • See who’s on the committee • Panel of non-experts • Get the level right • Especially difficult for interdisciplinary proposals • Have demanding practice interviews • Practice your talk in front of diverse audiences • Make sure they get it • No hesitation, repetition or deviation • Enthusiasm sells the science • What if this goes wrong? • Recycle, reapply

  12. First steps… EPSRC Chris Plan ahead Min. 6 months Ideally 1 year Have contingency plans Life plan Research plan Reapplication plans Talk to others Supervisor/line manager Successful applicants Head of School Research office Project partners • Read supporting documentation and check the areas in which fellowship applications are open • Work closely with your host organisation to identify most appropriate career stage and consider how your proposed research aligns to priority area • Consider when is the best time for you to apply

  13. Make early contact with… • Head of Department • especially for internal selection process • Host organisation statement is needed • Research Office • costing • internal procedures for submission • Project partners for statements of support

  14. Academic sieve • There are not that many spots • The process doesn’t always select the best lectureship PDRA postgrad UG A level

  15. Where to find me • christopher.blanford@manchester.ac.ukMIB/3.01468915 • Funding