Quite a year!

Despite all my good intentions it has been very quiet in this space. For a long time. Nine months to be precise. Which only illustrates what a hectic year it’s been! Yes, I know I wrote exactly the same last time, but this year has even been more hectic. So, here is a quick update of the past 9 months – as soon as that is out of the way, I can start writing proper posts again. Just a word of caution though: I might forget things, or repeat myself, as I am severely sleep deprived.

First of all, in October 2013, I applied both for a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. Well, I was planning to only apply for the David Phillips, but colleagues persuaded me to also apply for a URF, since I was going through the effort of writing a proposal anyway. However, even though the URF is even more prestigious than the David Phillips, I was hoping for the latter because it comes with far more money for consumables, so a David Phillips would actually enable me to do the work I planned.

I was very disappointed to find out that I didn’t even get through the first stage for the URF, but, after a stressful period of preparing and going through the interview (about which I am planning to write a post) I got awarded a David Phillips fellowship!

I can’t even describe how happy and relieved I was – especially since I was going on maternity leave and knowing that I had secured this funding meant I could really sit back and rest on my laurels a bit!

So, that brings me to the second major thing that happened this year: I put a new human being on this lump of earth (as an ecologist or global change scientist, you might not agree with adding another human being to the already burgeoning world population – however, I am convinced that little Fedde will save the world, so this one is justified (and yes I am a very laid back parent, as long as Fedde becomes a mountain biker and a scientist, he can do whatever makes him happy)).

Me and my new human being.

Me and my new human being.

Together, these two things mean that it has truly been a crazy year. I had to go through the interview process for the David Phillips fellowship being very pregnant, which essentially meant that I didn’t sleep during the two months between being invited for the interview and hearing the outcome, even through I was exhausted for most of the time (and it also meant that I bought a formal maternity outfit for the interview, which I wore only once and will probably never wear again). In addition, I had to finish loads of things and tie up any loose ends before the little one arrived, which included submitting papers, grant proposals and studentship proposals.

But, most importantly, these two things combined mean that I will start setting up my own research group (I will be employing a postdoc and a technician on the fellowship) while at the same time making the transition to being a mum in academia and combining my career with taking care of my child. So, goodbye to 50 or 60-hour working weeks and hello work-life balance… Which is probably a healthy thing anyway, but I am curious what will happen to my productivity. If you’re interested, keep following my blog. Although I will probably have even less time to write posts, I am planning to document this exciting time, and I hope I will get more efficient (as well as better at
multitasking, which I am already putting into practice – I am typing this post one-handedly on my iPad while feeding Fedde).


4 comments on “Quite a year!

  1. ibartomeus says:

    Congrats on everything! In my experience, you will end up doing about the same amount of work in less than 40 hours, but much less mountain biking.

  2. Thanks Ignasi! I am hoping to take Fedde cycling in the bike trailer soon 🙂

  3. Justyna says:

    Hi, I just came across your post about fellowships and even though I am not yet there to apply for David Phillips, I definitely take all the points! Your list of fellowships just directed me to Newton International fellowships, which seems to be “doable” for me, a mother of two boys, 5,5 year after getting PhD (excluding 2 maternity leaves) and planning to move to UK for my second postdoc (biomedical science). Can you share some more experience about Newton fellowship? Would you have any advice what other fellowship one can apply for when moving to UK for postdoc with too-many-years-after-PhD baggage? I saw also women in science L’Oreal postdoctoral fellowships allow many years, did this one worked for you?
    From my side I can advise Chariot CX trailer to pull your boy everywhere you can cycle, we just did cycling holidays on Gotland and everyone enjoyed 🙂
    all the best!

    • Apologies for my very slow reply! Just been overwhelmed with work and having a now toddler! I applied for a Newton Fellowship immediately after finishing my PhD, but this seems to be really focussed on freshly graduated PhDs. L’oread is good, but very competitive, but does;t pay your salary, so perhaps not what you want. Maybe look at Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships from the Royal Society? They are aimed specifically for people after a career break or on flexible hours.

      And we have a Chariot Cougar 🙂



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