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My winning proposal: Landing a major bid as a first grant

Early-career researcher Vaclav Stetka would not have thought to apply for £817,000 with his first bid to the ESRC if a senior colleague had not encouraged him, he tells Pola Lem.

Vaclav’s top tips

  • Be ambitious if you can justify it; don’t be afraid to go for more big grants early in your career.
  • If your scheme has no deadline, use the time to fine-tune all the peripheral elements of your bid.
  • Recruit diverse project partners and capitalise on existing relationships.
  • If your bid is robust, topicality should only enhance its chances.

Vaclav Stetka is a lecturer in communication and media studies at Loughborough University. In February, he won the largest responsive-mode Research Grant awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council to Loughborough University in the past five years. It is also the first UK grant that Vaclav applied for as principal investigator.

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