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Dr Phil Davies Leads Early Career Researcher Grants Webinar

Dr Phil Davies, Lecturer in Operations Management and member of the Centre for China Management and Global Business, hosted an inspirational webinar on 24 June 2020 to discuss the importance of grants and his experience as an early career researcher (ECR) in applying for, winning, losing and managing grants.

Philip Davies Photo mtime20200626201520

Attended by dozens of academic staff across Henley Business School, the purpose of the talk was threefold. Firstly, to highlight why grants are important and can support and enhance academics' careers. Secondly, to share some lessons learnt from recent grant wins and the review process. Thirdly, to stimulate ECRs to apply for research grants in the future.

To summarise how grants boost academic careers, Dr Davies highlighted how they allow academics to buy time, whether that is against teaching requirements or for outsourcing data collection services, equipment and travel and subsistence costs that might not be possible to cover from internally allocated research spends. He went onto elaborate on how grants are a means of focusing on outcomes and delivery, particularly if project partners are involved, and that funding bodies often tailor their calls to focus on the bigger, multidisciplinary problems or cross-country problems. His example was the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which recently had a UK-China focused call that required collaboration between institutions in the respective countries.

Addressing what can be learnt from grant wins, Dr Davies then gave an honest and open discussion of his experiences, both of being awarded funding and being rejected. He emphasised the importance of both reading the call documents in detail before starting to write the grant and the team working together on it. His perspective was that impact is not just about stating who will benefit from this research, but what is the pathway through which that impact is going to be created; it is all well and good stating 'local and national government will benefit from the results because...' but he stressed that if it is not clear how those stakeholders will be engaged the comment becomes almost meaningless.

The talk concluded by providing a detailed insight into two different grants, one of which Dr Davies is currently leading and the other of which has passed review and made it to panel, where the final decision will be made in a few months. Moving forward, grants between different countries are increasing, providing the opportunity for the members of the Centre for China Management and Global Business to not only collaborate on papers, but submit competitive grants to address larger, multidisciplinary problems relevant to both China and the UK.

Published 26th June 2020