Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Doctoral Training Wordwheel (DTW)

Now I'm sure many of you have been struggling with the nomenclature that the Research Councils use for their doctoral training awards. One week it seems to be DTCs, the next DTPs. Or is it CDTs? Or CTPs? It's all so confusing, isn't it? And that's even before you start factoring in European ITNs, including EIDs or EJDs.

Well, don't worry because Fundermentals is, as ever, on hand to help. Why not make up your own favourite three letter acronym to describe a doctoral training network using the wordwheel below? After all, as fashions change, I'm sure your favoured acronym will have it's time in the sun.

Now remember the rules: invent a three letter doctoral training acronym using the letters in the wheel below. You can only use each letter once, and you must include the letter in the centre. Enjoy!

Thanks to Carolyn Barker for highlighting the endless possibilities of the three letter doctoral training acronym. If any of you have policy-based puzzles to share, don't hesitate to get in touch. 

How to Prepare a Successful ERC Application

Last Wednesday we hosted Maribel Glogowski, our UKRO representative, who gave a thoughtful overview of the European Research Council (ERC) and offered insights into how best to target the funder. Dr Heather Ferguson, who recently won a Starting Grant, joined her to offer an invaluable viewpoint from someone who had been through the process.


The ERC has been one of the great success stories of the EC's Framework Programme. The prestigious, responsive mode fellowships were clearly what the European research community wanted, and this was demonstrated in the heavy oversubscription of the first call for Starting Grants in 2007, when over 9,000 people applied for just 300 awards, giving a success rate of just 3.4%.

Since then the situation has settled down, and now the Starting Grant success rate is actually broadly in line with that of the ESRC at 12%. In Horizon 2020, the ERC is part of the 'Excellent Science' pillar, which funds responsive mode research. Of the total €24.2bn budget for the pillar, the ERC has almost half (€13.1bn). It provides five types of grants:

     Starting Grants: up to €2m for 5 years for investigators 2-7 years from PhD
     Consolidator Grants: up to €2.75m for 5 years for investigators 7-14 years from PhD
     Advanced Grants: up to €3.5m for 5 years (no set career point restriction, but investigators must be well established leaders in their fields)
     Synergy Grants: up to €15m for 2-4 investigators. The scheme is currently on hold.
     Proof of Concept Grants: for ERC award holders: up to €150k for 18 months.