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My winning proposal: Sharpening an ESRC grant to a fine point

 Image: Courtesy of Melissa Colloff

Deciding what to exclude was crucial to Melissa Colloff's successful new investigator grant bid

Top tips

  • Avoid the tendency to overstuff an early career application with research questions—focus on what is important
  • Reaching out for feedback can be awkward at first but is essential to crafting your bid
  • Steering groups in particular can give valuable input and also demonstrate buy-in from relevant stakeholders
  • Every grant application helps you to gain experience and will make the next one better

The Economic and Social Research Council’s new investigator grants support early career researchers in making the transition to become independent researchers. Candidates from anywhere in the world may apply. However, applicants must have the strong support of an eligible research organisation in the UK to host them. Grants are worth between £100,000 and £300,000, with 30 to 35 winners each year. The scheme is open year-round without a deadline.

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