26 March 2013 3 Comments
Emily conducted her PhD at the University of Sydney on promoting fruit and vegetable consumption to Australian young adults. She graduated in 2012.
Her honours, masters and PhD projects had a combined budget of less than $400.
Emily is in the process of writing her first set of internal grant applications as an academic staff member, and is interested in the process of developing projects in the context of conducting research on a shoe-string.
I’ve been going through my paperwork from my student days recently. In the process, I found my funding requests for my PhD research. Not including conference travel, my research expenses for my PhD were $375.95.
That included a 1-month subscription to Thinkstock to allow me to buy high quality images for use in an online intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and the purchase of the domain name that I used for the intervention website. My Honours and Masters projects, and the research I’ve been running for the year since completing my PhD, have all been conducted at zero cost (except for my time).
This means that in the last 6 years I’ve spent an average of $62.60 a year on research costs.
At research institutions, developing, submitting, and ultimately receiving, competitive grants is a key indicator of productivity and performance for academic staff. This means that obtaining a Category 1 grant (e.g. ARC Discovery or NHMRC Project Grant) is central to my career development.
Assuming that I want to progress in my career (spoiler alert: I do!) then I would be expected to apply for a faculty-level internal grant ($$), a university-level seed grant ($$$), then a Category 1 Grant ($$$$$$).
As a freshly minted academic staff member, I’m starting small with the preparation of a faculty-level grant (the maximum budget is $18,000, with all funds to be spent in a year). In the process of preparing this grant, I’ve had to think about spending about 47 times more on research than I have ever before. Obviously, I don’t need to ask for the whole amount, but spending months putting together a request for $62.60 in funding would be colossal waste of time for everyone involved!