With government funding and industry support for research either static or falling, the grant funding environment has become increasingly competitive. Most funding goes to those in secure employment who have been in academia for some time, making the outlook particularly grim for early-career researchers. Jonathan O’Donnell sets out some practical advice for early-career researchers competing for grant funding; starting with what can be learnt by serving as a reviewer of applications, how collaborating with others can help, and finally considering what the options are outside of the peer review system. There is also advice for the funding agencies themselves on what they can do to make the process more dynamic and efficient.
Before I begin, I should point out that I write from a position of incredible privilege. I’m not an academic – I’m a university administrator. I am securely employed, and have been for most of my working life. My job is to help academics find funding for their research.
In that role, I work with Australian academics at RMIT University. I work with artists, designers, educators, social scientists, and humanities scholars, primarily on their Australian Research Council applications. A significant number of the academics that I have worked with over the last seven years have been early-career researchers, generally trying to win their first major grant.
Early-career researchers face a cruel world these days. Even though they are an increasingly diverse cohort, they are still generally imagined as young, full-time academics without significant outside commitments. They aren’t. Many of them have significant responsibilities outside of work, taking care of children and elderly parents or working on limited visas, far from home. Most of them have no secure work, while being expected to take on increasing levels of accountability. Their research outputs, their teaching performance and even their scholarly engagement with the world are under intense scrutiny and evaluation.
SOURCE: O’Donnell, Simon.”How to Survive the Cruel World of Peer-reviewed Funding Applications.” LSE Impact Blog, 23 November 2017.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia