The long road: How I got funding for a PhD

So back in 2013 I made contact with my supervisor at UCL. At this time I had also decided to apply for some charitable funding through Guys and St Thomas’ Charity to do some work in the neuro psychiatry memory disorders service at South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. I was awarded funding to do 1 day a week in the memory disorders service –  with a two fold purpose. Firstly to identify how many patients in the service could benefit from SLT and secondly to gather preliminary data to develop an intervention for people with Primary Progressive Aphasia. My potential supervisor mentored me at this time, consulting with me in the development of the protocol and identifying dissemination avenues.

I started to explore funding for a PhD and decided to apply for an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship or an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship.This took some time. In developing the protocol for the Guys and St Thomas’ funded project I started developing ideas for the next stage of my research, this enabled me to build a real research plan for my application. I got in touch with the Research Design Service who supported me throughout the application process. From the 85 page application document, to mock interviews once my written application was accepted at the first stage. From start to finish the application process itself took 10 months, and that doesn’t include the preparation we did beforehand. I started the forms in October 2014 and was informed I had been awarded an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship in August 2015.

I am now so pleased I took this route, not only is it a generous grant with a supportive network of fellow trainees. It has been an interesting process of learning about writing grant applications and has prepped me for the world of research. I now have a really clear idea of what I am going to be doing over the next 4 years. I feel secure in the knowledge that I have a plan and that someone, or lots of other people, have said my plan looks good.

See the link below for advice on the NIHR Doctoral Fellowship schemes:

http://www.nihr.ac.uk/