Dan has recently had some big news that is really important for his research – he has been awarded a “research fellowship” by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is the government-funded organisation that gives money for research. It’s always hard to get any research funding, as described on our “What is research?” tab, but NIHR funding is particularly hard to get as lots of very good people apply so there’s tough competition. Dan has applied before and not been successful, but he was not put off (it’s important to be persistent if you work in research!) and this time he did get the money.
There are different types of research grants that we apply for. Most common are grants that we call “project grants”, which give us money to do one particular piece of work. These grants will pay for the salary of a researcher to do the work, as well as for the supplies that we use along the way. We also sometimes apply for equipment grants, which let us buy big pieces of kit like exercise bikes or lung function testing machines – a lot of the equipment we use costs many thousands of pounds so we have to plan carefully how we will pay for new equipment when we need it.
Fellowships are a bit different. A fellowship gives money to one researcher for a set amount of time, often 3 years. As well as paying for their salary during that time, plus the costs of their research, it includes money for the researcher to go to conferences and courses, and – if they are doing a PhD, like Dan is – pays the fees that the university charges. It’s a really big achievement to get a fellowship, as it means that the people giving you the money believe that you, personally, have the potential to become a really good researcher and they want to make an investment in your future.
We are all really pleased for Dan – and Dan’s very pleased with himself! It’s great news that he now has three years in which to do his project looking at the right type of help we can give people with their breathing while on intensive care. We hope he will have some really exciting findings and wish him good luck – there’s lots more hard work ahead!