5. After application

Once we’d got through the application stage, there was an interview to do. There was guidance on what to prepare and some initial things that the panel wanted to cover about the research proposal. It is important to reflect on these and address the issues at the interview. Some may be simply asking for more detail, some might be a challenge to your research methodology or question. As for Step 1, it is important to consider these but if you feel these are important, stick to your guns and defend your decisions. This process is supposed to increase the quality of your project, not compromise it, and as the chief investigator you are in the best position to know the impact of any suggested changes.

As part of the next stage, Scott kindly arranged a ‘mock’ interview with some researchers from the department. This was extremely valuable, if not over the top compared to the real thing! It also gave me the opportunity to practice the presentation element of the interview. Preparing for a mock interview in advance of the real thing was valuable in giving me time to reflect so that I felt prepared for the actual visit down to London. Having said that, these things are always pretty nerve-racking, no matter how much you prepare!

After the initial celebration at being awarded the grant (fruit juice in the pub) the next phase was the signing of the terms and conditions of the grant. The plan was to then get the ethics and governance approval prior to project start in January 2015 (separate blog entry coming soon).


So, that’s our journey from inception to award. At this point, it is probably worth giving an understanding about how long this process took:

Research question identification: August 2013

Literature review and development of research question: September 2013

Initial decision to apply for funding: November 2013

Putting together the research team: December 2013

First draft of research proposal: January 2014

Contact with RDS: February 2014

Contact with collaborators: March 2014

RDS Consumer Panel: April 2014

University application approval process: April 2014

Application deadline: May 2014

Interview: July 2014

Response to comments from panel: August 2014

Terms and conditions signed: October 2014

Project start: January 2015


I’m not sure this process could have happened any quicker, and don’t forget that up until the funding comes through, all this work takes place in addition to the day job. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s worth it in the end to have time to do research that’s important, interesting and extremely satisfying!


Good luck to anyone embarking on this journey!

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