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Charterhouse Square Postdoc Network: Top Tips for becoming an independent researcher July 27, 2012

Posted by qmresearchers in Academic Careers, Career Talks.
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Yesterday saw the second event in a series of initiatives for the Charterhouse Square Postdoctoral Network. The events are intended to guide and support Postdoctoral Researchers at The William Harvey Research Institute, the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine and The Barts Cancer Institute (all part of the School of Medicine and Dentistry). These events are supported by Dr. Ian Forristal and Dr. Tracy Bussoli.

Yesterday two speakers, Dr Melania Capasso and Dr. Dianne Cooper gave informal talks related to how they had secured their own research funding after their postdocs. The top tips that came out of their talks were:

  • A ‘less than perfect’ publication record as a PhD student and, even as a new Postdoctoral Researcher, does not mean your chances of securing future funding are over. Both researchers had published a limited number of papers in medium- impact journals as PhD students and new Postdocs. Their publication record improved over time.
  • Do extensive research into the funding bodies that support your research area. Unfortunately there is not one single site that lists all the funding bodies, so sourcing appropriate funding bodies will take time and effort. Talk to academics and look at smaller funding providers as well as the Research Councils. Be aware that some funding bodies have a limit to the number of years that you can be a postdoc prior to application.
  • Try to obtain some preliminary data that shows that your research idea ‘has legs.’ This will be important evidence to build a good case for funding your research.
  • Get involved in grant writing as soon as you can. This will give you some exposure to the process, giving you invaluable experience.
  • It is better to complete fewer fellowship applications well than do lots of applications poorly.
  • Practice fellowship interviews with supervisors and PIs. This will familiarise you with the process, which can sometimes be very challenging.
  • Apply for internal grants to bolster your funding.
  • Publish as a first author if you can, and supervise PhD students.
  • Choose your research laboratory wisely e.g. choose a laboratory where they are producing lots of high-impact publications.

Watch this space for future postdoc network events and or click here for future workshops for PhDs and Postdocs. 

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