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My winning proposal: Landing a Leverhulme Research Centre


Chris Thomas, who led the University of York’s winning bid for a Leverhulme centre, didn’t wow the panel with globe-spanning collaborations. He tells Sophie Inge how a bid that keeps things local can still be highly ambitious.

Chris’s top tips

  • Don’t play it safe with the Leverhulme Trust; it seeks bids that other funders might turn down because of their riskiness.
  • On large bids don’t be tempted by international partnerships if they’re not appropriate, sometimes keeping all your major collaborators in one place can be an advantage.
  • Interdisciplinary research takes extra time as different disciplines learn to speak each other’s language so incorporate that time into your bid if you can.
  • You should feel genuine excitement about big bids due to the time and effort involved, even if they’re unsuccessful.  

When the Leverhulme Trust launched its second call for the Leverhulme Research Centre scheme in September 2017, the trust’s director Gordon Marshall told Funding Insight he was looking for bids that would “be ambitious, be adventurous, come forward with something not just incremental, something more than yet another turn of the big science machine”.

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