Fellowship application myth-busting

Team of four doctors in laboratory reading medical report.

Worried that career breaks or staying put in one organisation will be held against you applying for an MRC fellowship? We confront four common misconceptions.

We often get asked the same questions about applying for funding and have come across some common misconceptions. So we asked Medical Research Council (MRC) fellowship panel members and current fellowship holders to share their experience. Here are my tips but watch the full video to hear us bust some myths about applying for an MRC fellowship.

Will it count against me if I’ve taken career breaks?

I don’t think there’s any problem with changing disciplines or having career breaks, and we would never hold that against anybody coming to the panels, we’re really open to people. What will make a difference is:

  • the candidate
  • the ideas
  • the research
  • the place that they are.

Will I need to move to another research organisation for my fellowship?

Absolutely not. You can easily stay in the same institution. However, that institution must have the skills and the environment that will help you to do the type of work that you’ve planned. So, I think that’s the key point. You need to be in a centre that has some excellence or track record in the area where you’re wanting to conduct the research.

Can I ask MRC for advice on my application before I apply?

If you need further advice, the best thing to do is contact programme managers at  MRC for advice in the first instance. But also, to look within your own institution at people who sit on fellowship panels because they are able to give you advice about the process. It doesn’t matter if their specialty is a different one from your specialty, or if they work in a different area. A lot of the information advice is generic and so getting their input will be really useful and helpful to you.

Do you use journal impact factors to evaluate the track record of candidates?

It’s really the outputs and the kind of outputs that matter more than the journal. We’re absolutely not supposed to take into account where you’ve published, it’s more the content of it.

Find out more

Watch the full video to hear more fellowship holders and MRC panel members bust common myths about applying for an MRC fellowship.

Find out more about applying for an MRC fellowship.

Watch a mock fellowship panel interview and videos from the panel members.

For advice on your application, please contact fellows@mrc.ukri.org

See our fellowship panel members.

Top image:  Credit: skynesher / Getty Images

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