I’m very excited to be joining the Graduate School at King’s. My focus as your new careers consultant will be to work with PhD students, helping you build the bridge to the next stage of your career.
I’ve been working in education most of my professional life, specialising in careers advice and student support in several colleges and universities as well as some years working as an independent education and careers consultant. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in European projects, gaining insight into higher education in several European countries. Most recently, I’ve been working at the University of Hertfordshire supporting post-graduate students and researchers as well as international and business students.
I’m really looking forward to working with you all and hope to see you in a workshop or consultation soon.
You’ve got a brilliant idea. You think you’ve found the perfect funding scheme. Your application gets rejected! What went wrong?
Based on reading a lot of applications to various funding schemes in the last few months, here are my ten top tips, in no particular order:
Read all the guidelines and documentation. Have you read all the documents provided? Have you answered all the questions?
Meet the deadline. Many funders won’t accept applications after the published deadline – for any reason! If you’re not sure of the deadline, then contact the administrators. If you really can’t get the application in on time, then ask what leeway there is, but don’t be surprised if there isn’t any.
Answer the question! Think what the selection panel want to know. Be specific, don’t waffle.
Use the word limit as a guide. If the word limit is 500 words, then two sentences isn’t enough information!
Demonstrate commitment from others. Could you include a letter of support? Can you demonstrate a commitment of additional funding from elsewhere if you get the award you’re applying for? If you say, “If I get this money I will talk to…,” it begs the obvious question as to why you haven’t already talked to them.
Talk to the people running the scheme. Make sure you are eligible, ask for clarification about anything you don’t understand. Save yourself from spending a lot of time writing an application that won’t even be considered!
Don’t make assumptions! Explain any acronyms you use. In fact, don’t use acronyms unless you have to! Be really clear about what you are going to do. It’s unlikely the people reading your application will have huge amounts of time to devote to each application.
Get someone not involved in your application to read it! At the very least, they will pick up on typos. Even better, they will be able to tell you where your answers don’t make sense or need more detail.
Be realistic with your costs. Don’t just ask for the maximum amount available (unless that’s really what you need).
Provide a clear budget. Present the information really clearly. A simple table is always a good idea. If possible indicate your working but don’t confuse things with too much detail. Make sure it adds up! Then check it again and get someone else to check it! An error might result in your whole application being rejected. If you can’t add up (the panel might think), what chance have you got of delivering a high quality project, on time!
If you do all these things, you’re giving yourself a great chance of getting funding. I wish you all the best for your next application.
Tweet your comments, or suggest other tips, using #fundingtips @naje99
Dr Nigel Eady
Head of Researcher Training & Development
King’s College London
Are you a student parent, Pregnant or have a regular responsibility for young children whilst studying?
The Student Advice Team within Student Services will be running monthly meet ups for student parents every 1st Wednesday of the Month.
These Meet Ups are a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow student parents within the college, Share Experiences, offer support and most of all we aim to give you the opportunity to relax amongst peers and make friends.
The first Meet Up will be held in the Board Room in FWB5.148 Wednesday 7th October, Refreshments and Nibbles will be available and students are very welcome to bring children and partners should they wish.
If you have any questions regarding the Meet ups please contact Becky Robinson within the Student Advice Team firstname.lastname@example.org
A guest post by Duvaraka Kulaveerasingam, PhD student, Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics.
For the first time, the Randall Division annual retreat at Royal Holloway featured an additional Careers Day exclusively for its postdoctorate, PhD and research staff. It was a huge success.
Randall Division researchers at Royal Holloway
The breadth of experience amongst our speakers was phenomenal and it was interesting to see the different paths they had taken to reach where they were today. It was encouraging to hear how they had overcome obstacles such as funding crises and relocations to achieve their goals. Here is some of the advice they gave:
All of our speakers stressed that you have to be able to sell yourself in any career
Network wherever you go – your contacts may one day find you a job as Roy Edward (Biostatus) found out when he was being made redundant
Make sure you are visible – whether it’s on LinkedIn or at a conference. Alison Care (Kilburn&Strode) let us know that she checks future employee’s Facebook pages too.
Pete Etchells (Guardian) told us to be patient with blogging; tweet, email and ask renowned bloggers to share or give feedback on your work, and practice writing all the time!
Never assume you aren’t right for the job – tell the employers what skills you are willing to learn. Arianne Heinrichs (Nature) described what she had to learn as a non-native english speaker during her career.
Turning down brilliant opportunities for personal reasons doesn’t mean the end, as Chas Bountra (SGC) and Peter O’Toole (University of York) found. They both ended up in their current positions thanks to these turning points.
Contact prospective employers and find out not only if you are right for the job, but if the company or the lab is right for you.
Keep your eyes open for internships opportunities. Aaron Goater (Westminster) stressed that some government departments have small teams with few roles so you need to check websites regularly.
If you are looking to organise a careers event don’t hesitate to contact our team to find out how we did it!