Muki Haklay, professor of geographical information science at University College London, has successfully won more than £7.8 million in grants during his career. He tells James Field how he always kept an eye out for flexible funding and, in fact, avoided being a PI wherever possible.
“Early-career researchers have to be very opportunistic,” says Muki Haklay, professor of geographical information science at University College London. “Unless you want to be in competition with your professor you’ll be looking to develop in a very specific, possibly unusual area. The likelihood of you finding funding for that is very small.”
Instead, he says that early-career researchers should start looking for projects that are loosely related to their research areas, but that have flexible funding attached. “It depends on your department,” he continues, “but I was lucky: my department at the time let me keep that flexible funding. It often amounts to £10,000 or so—about a third of a postdoc.”