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British Society of Gerontology Pre-Conference early career workshop Writing Successful Research Proposals in Ageing Studies ‘The Research Journey and the.

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Presentation on theme: "British Society of Gerontology Pre-Conference early career workshop Writing Successful Research Proposals in Ageing Studies ‘The Research Journey and the."— Presentation transcript:

1 British Society of Gerontology Pre-Conference early career workshop Writing Successful Research Proposals in Ageing Studies ‘The Research Journey and the ‘Art’ of Securing Funding’ Monday 5 th July 2010 Teresa Waller 1

2 What are your career goals? PhD Student Postdoctoral Researcher Lecturer / Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Either way: Need to develop independent research direction Will be expected to apply for funding 2

3 Role of 21 st Century Researchers Shift to knowledge-based economy Global, contemporary challenges (e.g. ageing population) Contribution to society as thought leaders and providers of new knowledge 3

4 Research Excellence Framework The quality of research outputs The vitality of the research environment The wider impact of research 4

5 Research Councils Pathways to Impact Who might benefit from this research? How might they benefit from this research? What will be done to ensure they have the opportunity to benefit from this research? 5

6 Early Career Researcher Development Needs June 2009 - Report commissioned by Brunel, Royal Holloway and Westminster universities to review training and development needs of early career academics (IFF) A total of 30 telephone interviews were completed with: 6 Members of CommitteesProfessors Heads of DepartmentEarly career academics Business leadersGovernment/HEFCE leaders

7 7 Findings GroupPriority Development Needs Early Career Academics securing funding managing people / managing time reputation building networking Senior Academics wider skills (management, decision making, influencing) networking securing funding Business / Funding bodies / Government vision communication understanding end user needs

8 8 Personal journey of development Starts long before you begin to write a proposal The Art of Securing Funding

9 7 steps to success Spell out your Vision Understand your Environment Cultivate Mentors Communicate Effectively Empathise Secure your Networks Stay Resilient 9

10 Spell out your Vision 10 Prepare a Research Plan Set out your intellectual vision and aspirations Demonstrate independent thinking Be strategic and creative

11 Understand your Environment Interdisciplinary Competitive International More Directed Funding streams 11

12 Cultivate Mentors 12 Crucial qualities successful, accessible, critical, generous, balanced, insightful, mutual respect Support career advice, navigating university politics, introductions to partners, scientific guidance

13 Communicate Effectively Target communications to your audience (potential partner / collaborator / funder) Everyone is busy …… Be engaging and clear “ Your research might be ground-breaking but people need to want to listen to you.” [Professor ] 13

14 Empathise 1 14 Become “T-shaped”, …especially in interdisciplinary fields deep problem solvers in home discipline but with ability to interact with and understand specialists from a wide range of other disciplines and strong socio-political skills

15 Empathise 2 15 “We look for people who are so inquisitive about the world that they’re willing to try to do what you do. We call them ‘T-shaped people’. They have a principal skill that describes the vertical leg of the T – they’re mechanical engineers or industrial designers. But they are so empathetic that they can branch out into other skills, such as anthropology, and do them as well. They are able to explore insights from many different perspectives and recognize patterns of behaviour that point to a universal human need. That’s what you’re after at this point – patterns that yield ideas.” IDEO CEO Tim Brown

16 16 Empathise 3 Key Qualities and Skills Lateral thinking Emotional intelligence/ Empathy Socio-political awareness “ Research is different today, it’s very competitive – you have to have an awareness of who will be using your knowledge and why, you have to be connected, it’s not enough to be good at research, you have to be a jack of all trades and a master of them all” [Head of Department]

17 Secure your Networks Research is a contact sport! Find synergies Find chemistries Be curious Colleagues (e.g. Brunel Collaborative Research Network in Ageing) Conferences Knowledge Transfer Networks “ they are saying ‘how do I get my next grant in a week’ rather than ‘how do I get and maintain a pipeline of good contacts?’” [Government leader] 17

18 Stay Resilient 1 Funding schemeSuccess Rate Royal Society University Research Fellowships 5% British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships 5% ESRC Fellowships17% Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowships 15% 18

19 Stay Resilient 2 Competitive process Good research fails to attract funding all the time The best researchers are consistently rejected Success in winning funding is judged over a cycle About an agenda, a context and building a track record 19

20 Characteristics of Successful Grants Promise excellent, original research Use an appropriate methodology Demonstrate impact Convince of capability of research team and ability to deliver Demonstrate value for money 20

21 Useful Self Tests 1 Does the proposal convey the significance and contribution of this research ? Does it tell the story I want? Will reviewers want to read it? Is jargon kept to a minimum? Will a non-expert understand it? 21

22 Useful Self Tests 2 Have I made a convincing case about why this research should be funded now? Is the research methodology appropriate? Is the work programme realistic? Are the outputs and dissemination plans well defined? 22

23 Useful Self Tests 3 Is it clear why I should lead the research? Is the role of end users clear? Are the requested resources sufficient? Does it offer good value for money? Does it address all the funder’s assessment criteria? 23

24 Golden Rules of Proposal Writing Know your funder Set out a clear and compelling narrative Convey your enthusiasm and vision Get lots of people to read it 24

25 In summary … Be passionate about your research Be dispassionate about your proposal 25

26 Teresa Waller Research Support & Development Office Michael Sterling Building, ML259 Tel: 01895 266206 Email: 26

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