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Fellowship success

How the Research Grant Development team supported one researcher to be shortlisted for three fellowships.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Corwin Wright wanted to secure independent fellowship funding and take the next step in his research career. He consistently reached the interview stage but then failed to be awarded the funding. He was understandably discouraged.

It was clear that Corwin needed support to prepare more effectively for the interviews. Members of the Research Grant Development team worked with him on different aspects during 2017, to help him develop these skills.

They started by looking at where he was applying. They encouraged Corwin to reapply to NERC and ERC, where he had been unsuccessful at interview stage. They also suggested he applied to the Royal Society for a University Research Fellowship (URF) which he had not considered before.

Then the team looked in detail at his interview technique. They supported Corwin’s department to arrange interview coaching from a professional trainer. They also invited him to sit on some internal mock interview panels, to gain experience of being on the other side of the process.

When Corwin was invited to interview for all three applications the team worked together to support his preparations and maximise his chances of success. They each looked at specific aspects of the interviews. These included responses to draw out his approach to leadership as well as connections to government priority areas such as the GCRF.

Both the NERC and the Royal Society made fellowship offers to Corwin. He chose to accept the Royal Society URF which provides full salary support and research funds for the five years. He was also very close to securing the ERC fellowship; receiving an ‘A’ grade but falling just below the cut-off for funding.

We are delighted with Corwin’s success and look forward to working with him on even more ambitious proposals!

Dr Corwin Wright says: "The Research Grant Development team's help has significantly advanced my career. I had previously been interviewed for national research fellowships repeatedly, but I always failed at the final interview stage. The RGD team arranged with my department for me to have external interview coaching. Following this I was successful in all of my national-level fellowship applications this year.

“This both gave me ~£500k in direct research funding (plus another £600k as Co-I on a grant application I wouldn’t previously have been eligible for), and allowed me to take up a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship. This gave me the visibility to dramatically enhance my research profile."

‘The Research Grant Development team's help has significantly advanced my career.’
Dr Corwin Wright, Postdoctoral Fellow

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