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FUNDING: Cardiff University Institutional Strategic Support Fund

29 November 2017

Ken Ewan (the current RSG chair) went to a talk about this the week before last and kindly brought back these notes outlining a suite of grants designed to offer routes of academic career support a broad cross-section of the Research Staff Group members.

The College of Biomedical and Life Sciences has dedicated Early Career Researcher (ECR) funding streams in a broad package called Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ultimately funded by the Wellcome Trust) that aims at supporting:

  • scientific skill enhancement
  • work experience outside of the Institution, including with pharma, industry, or government
  • networking opportunities
  • preliminary data collection to support first grants

The grants are assessed within the College and applications have a success rate of around 20%.

Specific grants include:

Consolidator Award (up to £45,000 / 12 months) is for recent PhD graduates (up to 12 months post viva): This provides support for outstanding postgraduates, to prepare applications for early career awards (e.g., Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral or MRC Skills Development Fellowships). Successful applicants will be expected to publish papers from their thesis and undertake a small research project, with a new mentor, thereby enhancing their research skill-set. One was funded last year.

Mobility and Skills Training Award (max. £10,000 / 6 months) allows people to visit external laboratories for “small-scale data collection”, acquire special techniques or be seconded to industry. Two were funded last year.

Reconnect with Science Award (up to £55,000 / 18 months) allows people to return to the University after a career break (e.g. maternity leave). Awards will pay salary initially, including part-time, but researchers will also be able to request research funding for a project or travel to visit other labs as their skills and confidence develop. This is a good opportunity for people to return to science to get some data for a research grant with their PI and be named on the grant. This is a new award.

Fellowship Award (up to £75,000/18 months) allows people to prepare for a fellowship. The award is designed to provide time to collect proof-of-concept data, build new scientific networks and work on submission of an independent funding application.

Seeds for Seed Award (up to £20,000 / variable time) aims to support research staff time and consumables for the collection of preliminary data to prepare within 18 months for the first independent salaried position (e.g., first lectureship or early career fellowship).

Call announcements are expected in December 2017 / January 2018 for the above programs.

Please check the webpage – – for regular updates.

About the contributor:

Dr Kenneth Ewan

Dr Kenneth Ewan is a long-standing Research Associate based within the Molecular Biosciences division in the lab of Prof. Trevor Dale.

School of Biosciences staff page

ResearchGate profile –

LinkedIn profile –

Images – Kenneth Ewan’s image is taken from the School’s staff profile website. Featured image built from a image – > graphics applied using  Canva – design tools