Friday 25 September 2009

'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself'

The Times Higher recently analysed Research Council success rates, and the news was not good. For the first time success rates have fallen to 23%, with the AHRC and ESRC bottom of the pile at 19%.
It’s easy to be dispirited by this. However, success rates only tell a partial story. If your research is good, your case compelling, and your application well framed it is much more likely that you will be funded.
This is shown by some big wins from the very Councils holding up the bottom of the success rate league:

  • Jeremy Carrette (Secl—Religious Studies) has just been awarded £450,000 (TBC) from the AHRC for a project on Religious Non-Governmental Organizations and the United Nations in New York and Geneva;
  • Caroline Rooney (English) and Anne Hammerstad (PolIR) got 2 of only 14 fellowships made by the ESRC in their ’Global Uncertainties’ Programme. Caroline’s award was £274k, and Anna’s was £162k. Programmes are notoriously hard to succeed in, so this is a great achievement.

And it’s not just good news at RCUK. Jim Mansell (Tizard) and Ann Netten (PSSRU) are part of a successful consortium that established a £15m School for Social Care Research (SSCR). Jim and Ann are due to receive £1.1m each from the NHS for their part in the SSCR.

So be brave: Research Services are ready to help with your applications to ensure that they stand every chance of bucking the success rates.

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