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My winning proposal: Escaping the postdoc mindset

Marloes Peeters, a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, was one of the first winners of the EPSRC’s New Investigator Awards. Beckie Smith hears how she stopped thinking like a postdoc to win.

Marloes’ top tips

  • Allow a long time—between six months and a year—to work up your bid.
  • Remember that the lack of deadline for this scheme will mean university support staff may take longer than usual to provide their input as they will have more urgent tasks at hand.
  • Don’t write your bid as a postdoc, but as a researcher seeking independence and keen to develop your own ideas.
  • Show that you wish to develop your own ideas in a project and that the bid is not something a supervisor has suggested.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s New Investigator Awards scheme started in July 2017, replacing the council’s First Grants scheme. The broad parameters of the First Grant scheme remained—they are for early-career researchers who have not previously led an academic research group or held a grant worth more than £100,000—but that funding cap was lifted in attempt to encourage greater ambition from applicants.

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