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Video clip: Blanca’s fellowship proposal benefitted from collaborators who brought additional angles to her proposed experiments. She recommends getting as much feedback as possible from mentors and colleagues before submission.

And since then you have applied for and won your own fellowship?

Yes

You said how important it was to have collaborators. Do you want to just summarise for other younger researchers how you go about getting your fellowship?

Yes.

It’s so important.

Yes so the, the first fellowship I applied for was an Intermediate Fellowship, a Career Development one that allows you to go. So it’s usually when you are 4, 5 years post doc and then you are trying to build your independence. I was supported by Oxford in doing so and they are quite keen on people getting fellowships. And I had a topic in mind and I developed a proposal and, but then it was very important to have experimental collaborators, people who would provide an additional angle to the fellowship that would make it more unique. And that would allow me to develop into something different during the, the fellowship. And it also is really, really important to get exposed before you submit. What I mean by that is, it is always hard to get feedback and it’s always hard to get criticism but we need to get on with it. And I think it is much, much better to get that feedback from people you know before you submit than to actually wait for reviewers to give, to criticise your work. And I think that sometimes inexperienced people are frightened about feedback or don’t want to be criticised or are reluctant to show their fellowship proposal to their colleagues because they feel, they don’t feel confident enough. And I think that needs to be overcome as quickly as possible.

So would you recommend people presenting their work in a seminar or something?

I would recommend talking to people about your ideas. That’s, you know discussing that with people you trust, have mentors that help you shaping up your plans and, and mentorship I think is really, really important. Having people you can ask for advice in all sorts of things and especially fellowship applications. And also actually literally submitting your fellowship proposal at, like sending your fellowship proposal for review to your colleagues, anybody you, you trust can give you a feedback before submitting.

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