Taking the funding view to find the grant for me
We’ve been working with seven other medical funders to create a ‘funding view’ of the interactive career map. The ‘funding view’ will help you find which grant or fellowship is the right one for you. During his three-month MRC Policy Internship Andrew Eustace, PhD student at the University of Bristol, helped us test the map. Here he explains how it will help with career planning.
After months of thesis writing I begin to catch a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Like all students at this stage, I’m starting to think about what to do next. Do I pursue a career in academia, industry, or leave science altogether?
A career in scientific research can mean short-term contracts and long working hours. Despite this, you might, like me, still be inspired by scientific research and so assessing the postdoctoral job market.
Once you’ve made that choice, it is almost time to make another: what will you do after a postdoc?
Today the MRC has published an interactive ‘funder’s view’ framework aiming to help you answer these difficult questions. It maps out the ‘what, where, when and who’ of available medical funding at different career stages.
My eventual aim is to become an independent researcher, so I’ll need to start considering fellowship and grant applications. While it may be too early for me to apply for funding, it is helpful to be aware of each funder’s selection criteria well in advance, as well as how I can remain competitive.
If you have spent time in any research group, you will probably have seen your peers preparing research grants. As part of that process you probably also saw them experience exasperation and rejection along the way. The sometimes competitive and convoluted nature of the application process is no secret. Each funder sets different timeframes, boundaries and criteria. The actual process of identifying which grant or fellowship to apply for can involve hours scrutinising each funder’s website.
Long awaited shortcut
This new initiative from the MRC offers a much-needed shortcut. They have combined the ‘funder’s view’ with an interactive career framework to give the user an easy way to navigate the funding landscape. The framework contains a summary and related links for each type of award, including what they can be used for, the required level of experience, level of funding and their duration.
In my experience, a single resource that shows the awards of all medical funders in one location is something that we’ve needed for a long time. Exploring the framework is a must if you are, like me, new to funding applications. It should also be useful for anyone interested in returning to a career in science, hoping to transition to independence or looking for project grants. Hopefully it will mean we can now spend less time searching for grants, and more time on writing high quality scientific applications.