Dr Aimee Morgans
Reader in Aeronautical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering
The Elsie Widdowson Fellowship created the space and time for me to get things in place for the start of a major grant. For example, combining the recruitment of three RAs with supervising my existing PhD students and dealing with a toddler and 6-12 month old baby would have been really difficult, had I been on full teaching load. The Fellowship even created enough space for me to write, as first author, a conference and journal paper within the first year back, and to co-organise an international workshop at Imperial, which most of the big names in the field attended. This all helped with networking, future opportunities and reminding me how much I love research.
Dr Caroline Colijn
Reader in Biomathematics, Department of Mathematics
I used the fellowship to take a year out of most teaching and administration. I did take on a teaching role during the Fellowship, but it was more intense over a reduced period than a standard lecture course. I mainly used the Fellowship to focus on research. During the fellowship I was building up the ideas and collaborations that fed into my successful EPSRC Early Career Fellowship proposal, which funds me for five years of postdoctoral RA time and various research activities. In the summer of 2012 I spent several weeks in Vancouver collaborating with Dr. Jennifer Gardy at the BCCDC and obtained key datasets and insights for the EPSRC proposal. I was also writing the proposal in the final portion of the fellowship. I would say that if I’d been teaching a full load and doing administration during that year, alongside having a young baby and a toddler, I might not have received the EPSRC Fellowship. I also built other collaborations and attended meetings in term time, including an evolution workshop that has helped me develop a superb community of genomics collaborators. That wouldn’t have been possible if I’d been teaching through the academic year.
Dr Doryen Bubeck
Lecturer in Structural Biology, Department of Life Sciences
I was grateful for the extra time the fellowship allowed me to spend on my research. Coming back from maternity leave, I started with two new members of staff that I needed to train and to get the projects off the ground. My lab was down to zero before my leave so I needed to really start from the beginning. It was a privilege to be able to focus in this way. I used it to take a year out of teaching and administration on paper, but in practice I used it a bit more flexibly to take on teaching in a strategic way, contributing to classes in my area of expertise that I could continue, so that the next year when I started back I wouldn’t have such a steep learning curve of new teaching to prepare. The fellowship was definitely key to the rapid success of the lab. Within two years of coming back from maternity leave my lab published its first high impact publication.
Dr Gabriella Da Silva Xavier
Non clinical lecturer in Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology
I used the fellowship more flexibly. I opted to use the money to hire a part-time technician in the lab whose principle job was to maintain and look after my mouse colonies for me so that the numbers and breeding were controlled as specified by myself according to budget. I chose this option as this task took up most of my time and I needed to use the time to write grant applications instead. I successfully got two grant applications in this time and two papers were published in the same period.