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The Official Funding questions/moans/possible joy Thread

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    Also, I work at a temping agency during the holidays, where I can work full time hours for a couple of weeks at a time. Is that going to go against me when applying for living expenses? I don't work during the term time at all, it is literally just the holidays.
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    hello folks. Firstly, my apologies if this has been addressed before -- I did a forum search but didn't come up with the info I wanted.

    I'll be applying for PhDs beginning 2012, in English literature, and getting funding is crucial for me to continue. I was wondering if anyone who has secured funding could give me any advice on how to improve my chances of getting it. I'm currently in a master's programme, with high distinctions on all essays, a first at undergrad, three graduate conference presentations, and a paper being prepared for publication in a major journal. I feel like I've covered all my bases, and I'm not sure what more I can do -- except, obviously, that killer research proposal and finding departments that are a good fit. But I know that getting the funding extremely difficult. So my question is: what else can I do to be seriously competitive when I submit my applications later this year??!

    huge congratulations to the recipients of funding this year, and best of luck to all other hopefuls out there! Roll on autumn 2012...
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    lol - I got rejected by Barclays for a Career Development Loan because I went into my OD by £4 - Time to Appeal I guess.
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    (Original post by cinosia)
    hello folks. Firstly, my apologies if this has been addressed before -- I did a forum search but didn't come up with the info I wanted.

    I'll be applying for PhDs beginning 2012, in English literature, and getting funding is crucial for me to continue. I was wondering if anyone who has secured funding could give me any advice on how to improve my chances of getting it. I'm currently in a master's programme, with high distinctions on all essays, a first at undergrad, three graduate conference presentations, and a paper being prepared for publication in a major journal. I feel like I've covered all my bases, and I'm not sure what more I can do -- except, obviously, that killer research proposal and finding departments that are a good fit. But I know that getting the funding extremely difficult. So my question is: what else can I do to be seriously competitive when I submit my applications later this year??!

    huge congratulations to the recipients of funding this year, and best of luck to all other hopefuls out there! Roll on autumn 2012...
    well, i would suggest you sound very well qualified. I'd like to offer some support, but I think I was lucky. I was an average student (high 2:1, merit on my MA, though distinction on my dissertation). To my advantage, I have two years of working as a research assistant, which I think helped me demonstrate both why I was interested in the area my proposal was designed around, and also that I was committed to an academic career.

    However, I lost out on multiple studentships because I wasn't quite as up to scratch as other students with straight-A grades. so from that perspective, I think you'll be fine.

    the most important thing is to research well and draft a proposal, and send it to one or two people for comments. that was the most helpful thing I could have done - it was much improved thought that!
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    (Original post by flying plum)
    well, i would suggest you sound very well qualified. I'd like to offer some support, but I think I was lucky. I was an average student (high 2:1, merit on my MA, though distinction on my dissertation). To my advantage, I have two years of working as a research assistant, which I think helped me demonstrate both why I was interested in the area my proposal was designed around, and also that I was committed to an academic career.

    However, I lost out on multiple studentships because I wasn't quite as up to scratch as other students with straight-A grades. so from that perspective, I think you'll be fine.

    the most important thing is to research well and draft a proposal, and send it to one or two people for comments. that was the most helpful thing I could have done - it was much improved thought that!
    hey, congratulations with your success! Thanks for your response/advice. Yes, the proposal will have to be superb. On paper I look OK, I think - but obviously it's not just a numbers game, and I did not get a scrap of MA funding, despite what seemed like a fairly strong application! I suppose there is an element of luck - what I am trying to do now is to do as much as possible that is genuinely scholarly, so that I can show commitment. Fingers crossed... :/
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    I got rejected by Barclays for a Career Development Loan because I went into my OD by £4 - Time to Appeal I guess.
    Was this in the last 3-6 months?
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    I've got no hope then :sigh:

    I went to get my documents signed by Barclays today, but they wouldn't accept the bank statements as they were copies of electronic ones, so I need to find my paper ones and go back.
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    I went to get my documents signed by Barclays today, but they wouldn't accept the bank statements as they were copies of electronic ones
    I get all my statements online from nationwide and when i print them they look exactly like the ones you get sent but they have duplicate written on them, i took them to barclays and the guy signed it for me and sent it through internal mail.

    My mum has just got her credit report and on it is all her credit cards, mortgage, phone bill etc but overdrafts arnt actually shown, so are you sure you got rejected for an overdraft??? dont think going over by £4 would show up, i know people who have gone over by £200 and still got the cdl
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    (Original post by cinosia)
    hello folks. Firstly, my apologies if this has been addressed before -- I did a forum search but didn't come up with the info I wanted.

    I'll be applying for PhDs beginning 2012, in English literature, and getting funding is crucial for me to continue. I was wondering if anyone who has secured funding could give me any advice on how to improve my chances of getting it. I'm currently in a master's programme, with high distinctions on all essays, a first at undergrad, three graduate conference presentations, and a paper being prepared for publication in a major journal. I feel like I've covered all my bases, and I'm not sure what more I can do -- except, obviously, that killer research proposal and finding departments that are a good fit. But I know that getting the funding extremely difficult. So my question is: what else can I do to be seriously competitive when I submit my applications later this year??!

    huge congratulations to the recipients of funding this year, and best of luck to all other hopefuls out there! Roll on autumn 2012...

    My funding is not for English, but for a PhD on the Odyssey in post-1800 children's literature, so it's as close as you can get without studying English Literature. Your educational background and experience sound very good - I had no presentation experience or papers published because I am doing a part-time MA whilst working. But the supervisors will be looking at other things - why you want to do a PhD, what do you hope to do in the long-run? Do you seem like you could cope with working independently and also taking guidance from your supervisor? There are 'soft skills' which are important too. Most people will be ticking most academic boxes, you need to show you are the kind of individual that they feel they will have a mutually benefical relationship with.

    Identify individual potential supervisors early, if you're looking at 2012 you should probably have an application in around Christmas 2011, and start talking to people this September. It's a longer process than you might think, they will want to see a few words from you about what you want to do, then shaping that into a proposal takes time. Be flexible and willing to incorporate ideas from your conversations with staff into your proposal.

    The proposal IS absolutely crucial - I have a feeling I got mine because I explicitly said I wanted to do public engagement as part of my research, which is something in the back of most universities minds. Really dig deep to argue why your work would benefit the study of the subject more generally. Also remember that for AHRC you're limited to 500 words which is a bit of a nightmare. Every single word counts - I spent ages trying to cut 30 words! There's always a way to say things in a shorter sentence - punctuation is your friend!

    Don't spread yourself too thinly - each application will take a fair bit of time. It's not like applying for a BA or an MA, this should be a much more organic process. If it feels right talking to a particular supervisor then chances are things are going well.

    That's pretty much everything I can think of for now. Good luck!
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    (Original post by Cesca86)
    My funding is not for English, but for a PhD on the Odyssey in post-1800 children's literature, so it's as close as you can get without studying English Literature. Your educational background and experience sound very good - I had no presentation experience or papers published because I am doing a part-time MA whilst working. But the supervisors will be looking at other things - why you want to do a PhD, what do you hope to do in the long-run? Do you seem like you could cope with working independently and also taking guidance from your supervisor? There are 'soft skills' which are important too. Most people will be ticking most academic boxes, you need to show you are the kind of individual that they feel they will have a mutually benefical relationship with.

    Identify individual potential supervisors early, if you're looking at 2012 you should probably have an application in around Christmas 2011, and start talking to people this September. It's a longer process than you might think, they will want to see a few words from you about what you want to do, then shaping that into a proposal takes time. Be flexible and willing to incorporate ideas from your conversations with staff into your proposal.

    The proposal IS absolutely crucial - I have a feeling I got mine because I explicitly said I wanted to do public engagement as part of my research, which is something in the back of most universities minds. Really dig deep to argue why your work would benefit the study of the subject more generally. Also remember that for AHRC you're limited to 500 words which is a bit of a nightmare. Every single word counts - I spent ages trying to cut 30 words! There's always a way to say things in a shorter sentence - punctuation is your friend!

    Don't spread yourself too thinly - each application will take a fair bit of time. It's not like applying for a BA or an MA, this should be a much more organic process. If it feels right talking to a particular supervisor then chances are things are going well.

    That's pretty much everything I can think of for now. Good luck!
    Hello - thank you so much for this thoughtful reply, and huge congratulations on getting the funding. Yes, the point about public engagement isn't something I've considered with reference to the proposal, and certainly something I should give more thought to. After all, like (I'm sure) many aspiring academics, the question of what the work is for and why it is important is always at the back of my mind.

    Glad the academics sound solid to you - I have definitely had some interesting and useful opportunities lately to get work out there, so that's nice. I don't have a lot of self-confidence though, and I have trouble with the ruthless self-promotion that sometimes seems necessary. Of course, that is something else I need to work on - I need to be convinced by my application if I'm going to convince anyone else!!

    Your project sounds fascinating, by the way - best of luck with it!
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    (Original post by rroberts88)
    I get all my statements online from nationwide and when i print them they look exactly like the ones you get sent but they have duplicate written on them, i took them to barclays and the guy signed it for me and sent it through internal mail.

    My mum has just got her credit report and on it is all her credit cards, mortgage, phone bill etc but overdrafts arnt actually shown, so are you sure you got rejected for an overdraft??? dont think going over by £4 would show up, i know people who have gone over by £200 and still got the cdl
    Yeah I was well and truly in overdraft sh** when I was offered CDL. I think it was because I opened a Capital One credit card when I was 18, used it and paid it off and then completely forgot about it and it seemed to do my credit rating wonders!

    Also - my sister works in a bank and says that keeping your home address for bank statements and also keeping your home address as your electoral address really helps as staying in one place improves your credit rating.
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    (Original post by cinosia)
    Hello - thank you so much for this thoughtful reply, and huge congratulations on getting the funding. Yes, the point about public engagement isn't something I've considered with reference to the proposal, and certainly something I should give more thought to. After all, like (I'm sure) many aspiring academics, the question of what the work is for and why it is important is always at the back of my mind.

    Glad the academics sound solid to you - I have definitely had some interesting and useful opportunities lately to get work out there, so that's nice. I don't have a lot of self-confidence though, and I have trouble with the ruthless self-promotion that sometimes seems necessary. Of course, that is something else I need to work on - I need to be convinced by my application if I'm going to convince anyone else!!

    Your project sounds fascinating, by the way - best of luck with it!
    Aw, thanks Hope you find what I said useful - I was really lucky in that my supervisor liked the idea of my project and was willing to spend a lot of time revising the proposal, and seems to have a good track record of getting students funded. I'd also say though to try to suss out how motivated a department seem -how much funding they seem to get (not just for research but side projects etc), if people are publishing regularly, if postgrads have a real community and get opportunities to travel etc. If there's a buzz of activity then that's great. I also forgot to say that potential supervisors will expect in-person meetings where possible, so be prepared to travel.

    With regards to public engagement I guess you might have to be a little careful - unless its something that would be an active part of your research then I wouldn't make a massive deal about it on your proposal. I think I had one line about wanting to experience how children actually read texts through outreach work. A willingness to organize/participate in activities which genuinely benefit people who otherwise wouldn't encounter the academic community is always good though. You are right though to have those questions about what the work is for in the back of your mind.

    It's not a banking job in the City, so don't worry about not being massively confident (I'm not). I did feel strongly about my project though and that's the important thing. If you don't get funding, please don't feel it is a slight on your academic ability. I spoke to a lecturer a few months back who had 1 funded place for dozens of applications and she said it was nigh-on impossible to decide.

    Can I enquire as to what you're thinking of doing your thesis on (roughly)? I'm very interested in English literature generally.. Best of luck with your application, you sound like you are definitely on the right track
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    (Original post by Cesca86)
    Aw, thanks Hope you find what I said useful - I was really lucky in that my supervisor liked the idea of my project and was willing to spend a lot of time revising the proposal, and seems to have a good track record of getting students funded. I'd also say though to try to suss out how motivated a department seem -how much funding they seem to get (not just for research but side projects etc), if people are publishing regularly, if postgrads have a real community and get opportunities to travel etc. If there's a buzz of activity then that's great. I also forgot to say that potential supervisors will expect in-person meetings where possible, so be prepared to travel.

    With regards to public engagement I guess you might have to be a little careful - unless its something that would be an active part of your research then I wouldn't make a massive deal about it on your proposal. I think I had one line about wanting to experience how children actually read texts through outreach work. A willingness to organize/participate in activities which genuinely benefit people who otherwise wouldn't encounter the academic community is always good though. You are right though to have those questions about what the work is for in the back of your mind.

    It's not a banking job in the City, so don't worry about not being massively confident (I'm not). I did feel strongly about my project though and that's the important thing. If you don't get funding, please don't feel it is a slight on your academic ability. I spoke to a lecturer a few months back who had 1 funded place for dozens of applications and she said it was nigh-on impossible to decide.

    Can I enquire as to what you're thinking of doing your thesis on (roughly)? I'm very interested in English literature generally.. Best of luck with your application, you sound like you are definitely on the right track
    thank you again, very helpful! Yes, I am very happy it is not a banking job in the City, that is emphatically not a lifestyle I could tolerate!! I am definitely prepared for not getting the funding, I am beginning to get a sense for how competitive it is. My supervisor at my current department said that if I stay here I would be `very strongly supported' for getting the AHRC... but logistically, for various reasons, it may not work out to stay

    I'll pm you with my rough thesis idea, in the interest of avoiding leaving too many real-life traces publicly available!!
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    If anyone can help me on these 2 questions, I'd be massively grateful:

    1) How long did it take some of you to get accepted on the Barclays PCDL? I've only just applied (just under 3 months until my course starts) and don't know if I've left it too late?

    2) I do online banking with Halifax and don't get paper documents. It wasn't until I sent off my Barclays application that I realised that the online documents that I printed out hadn't been certfied (so I know I'm expacting it back any day now). How do I go about getting something printed and certified by Barclays? Will they accept my online printouts? I did get a printout from Halifax and had the Halifax team certify it, but I'll be honest, it doesn't exactly look professional... and then walked into Barclays to ask them and the woman there was ridiculously unhelpful: She kept telling me that I needed professional documents (which I told her I couldn't get because I do online banking), and to send the shabby looking statements that Halifax printed off because "another bank certified them so they might be alright". I'm not sure I have the time for it to might be alright! :s

    My only other alternative is to pay Halifax a fee to get the real things printed off and sent to me, but they've said that could take a good week to get to me, and I'm not sure I can spare that time... So, can I get my online printouts certified, will the Halifax-certified printouts be ok or will I have to fork out and wait for the proper Halifax documents?

    I'm against the clock and starting to get really bloody worried about it all... Please help!
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    Hi,

    I'm looking for advice on what people think my chances of obtaining ESRC funding might be.
    I have just completed an MSc in Teaching Adults at Glasgow University, I won't get a distinction as my taught courses average B (Merit) mark, but may get an A for my dissertation. I completed my MSc part time while working fill time as an Adult Literacies Tutor. I don't have an undergraduate degree, although I have a Pg Cert in Adult Literacy and Numeracy, and a HNC Working with Communties.
    I also have around 9 years expereince working in Adult Literacies, and am just about to start a new job in FE as a Literacies Development worker.
    My PhD topic would be related to Adult Literacies, I have been assured I would receive good references from my MSc supervisor and I have arranged a meeting with a potential supervisor whose interests and publications seem to match my topic very well.
    My question is; how much weighting do the academic qualifications have on obtaining funding and are mine likely to go against me?
    I am also considering undertaking a Pg Cert this year which would also be related to my proposed topic, is this likely to be of use?

    Any advice would be appreciated
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    (Original post by mclauchlana)
    Hi,

    I'm looking for advice on what people think my chances of obtaining ESRC funding might be.
    I have just completed an MSc in Teaching Adults at Glasgow University, I won't get a distinction as my taught courses average B (Merit) mark, but may get an A for my dissertation. I completed my MSc part time while working fill time as an Adult Literacies Tutor. I don't have an undergraduate degree, although I have a Pg Cert in Adult Literacy and Numeracy, and a HNC Working with Communties.
    I also have around 9 years expereince working in Adult Literacies, and am just about to start a new job in FE as a Literacies Development worker.
    My PhD topic would be related to Adult Literacies, I have been assured I would receive good references from my MSc supervisor and I have arranged a meeting with a potential supervisor whose interests and publications seem to match my topic very well.
    My question is; how much weighting do the academic qualifications have on obtaining funding and are mine likely to go against me?
    I am also considering undertaking a Pg Cert this year which would also be related to my proposed topic, is this likely to be of use?

    Any advice would be appreciated
    I can only speak from my own experience, so this is anecdotal rather than empirical, but anyway...

    My experience was that departments this year were relatively cautious about who they nominated for funding to the DTC, because of the limited places, and the lack of control they had.

    I wasn't nominated by my department, because there was another student who, despite not having any work experience or research experience, had a much more stellar academic record than mine (which is like yours...solid 2:1, good merit in my MA plus high distinction in my dissertation).

    However, there was another stream that my supervisor managed to get me nominated through. they really liked my idea, my professional background and research interests fit exactly with their ethos as a research group, and so i was nominated. the DTC obviously liked it too, and gave me the studentship.

    ironically, the girl who was originally nominated on teh other stream dropped out because she didn't want to do a 4 year PhD.

    so...i was lucky, i think, in that my reasearch ideas were so close to the stream. but perhaps departments, having had a go at the whole DTC thing once, will be a little less cautious this year. don't know...
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    Thanks for your reply, I didnt realise there were different streams I could through, I'm meeting my potential supervisor on the 23rd so hopefully I find out more then.
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    (Original post by mclauchlana)
    Thanks for your reply, I didnt realise there were different streams I could through, I'm meeting my potential supervisor on the 23rd so hopefully I find out more then.
    I'm not sure there always are. If you look at Nottingham (for example), when they made their DTC application, different departments clubbed together to set up various streams. Some departments are in multiple streams, but not all.

    the whole process was a bit confusing for me, imo, but i think they'll explain it better this year. last year, no one knew whether they'd been successful with ESRC DTC funding until very late in the game, so it was all a bit crazy, i think.
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    Hi,

    When applying for EsRC PhD funding, does anyone know how far away you can live from the university. I live in Glasgow, there is a uni I want to apply to in Scotland but I am also considering applying to Lancaster Uni. However my partner's mother has cancer, she lives very near to us and he helps care for her so I wouldnt want to move to Lancaster at the moment. Would I be able to apply for a PhD while living at some distance away?
    If the research I wanted to do involved a case study in Scotland would this make a difference? (my proposed research involves literacy and the policies are very different from Scotland to England)
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    (Original post by mclauchlana)
    Hi,

    When applying for EsRC PhD funding, does anyone know how far away you can live from the university. I live in Glasgow, there is a uni I want to apply to in Scotland but I am also considering applying to Lancaster Uni. However my partner's mother has cancer, she lives very near to us and he helps care for her so I wouldnt want to move to Lancaster at the moment. Would I be able to apply for a PhD while living at some distance away?
    If the research I wanted to do involved a case study in Scotland would this make a difference? (my proposed research involves literacy and the policies are very different from Scotland to England)
    Universities often have their own policies on this; Nottingham Law School, for example, asks that students live in nottingham, vis:

    "It is only in extremely rare cases that a student is permitted to do a PhD without being resident in Nottingham. Unfortunately, it is not really possible to answer this question until we have a full application and have considered all the options. "

    While i'm sure your situation would count as rare enough, you need to consider that the new structure of ESRC PhDs often means you are going to need to attend lectures and such like for training at you university, so you would have to travel to Lancaster sometimes...

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