I welcome enquiries from motivated and enthusiastic researchers wishing to join the group. We spend most our time carrying out molecular quantitative genetics on large genomic datasets. If you enjoying messing around with R, Plink, gcta, GenABEL or similar, this could be the right lab for you (and you could be the right person for us). If you are looking for a wetlab or field work based project, then we’re probably not a good fit.
Below are a few tips and funding routes for prospective PhD students and Postdocs/Fellows.
Most PhD students in the department are either UK nationals funded through our NERC doctoral training programme ACCE, or are overseas students who have obtained funds from their government or research council.
Studentships funded by UK research councils are open to EU nationals. However, they only pay living expenses to UK nationals, which effectively rules out applicants from elsewhere in the EU.
If you are an overseas applicant, with your own funds, then I will consider supervising a project, but it has to be on one of our main study systems.
First of all, Dieter Lukas in Cambridge has out together this brilliant list of biology postdoc/fellowship funding opportunities. There are loads of schemes out there, although some are specific to particular institutions.
There are several ways of getting funds for postdoctoral positions. One option is to be a named ‘research-investigator’ on a grant application submitted to one of the UK research councils such as NERC or BBSRC. However, the proposal has to be written and submitted by the principal investigator (me) and the funding success are currently low (~10%). From submission of a proposal until the project starting (if funded) usually takes 12-15 months. In other words, this is a difficult route to getting a job. Fortunately there are other options – usually in the form of fellowships.
Most of the schemes below are highly competitive but are also great steps for career progression. The majority (if not all) fellowships recognise career breaks when calculating years post-PhD, and some are specifically geared towards researchers seeking flexible working arrangements.
Marie-Curie fellowships. I have hosted several Marie-Curie fellows, and these are great schemes. They are well-paid, come with some travel and consumables money, and are an excellent step on the way to becoming an established independent researcher. There are schemes for fellows to move within Europe (e.g. to the UK from elsewhere in Europe) or to spend two years out of Europe and then one year back in Europe. Application deadlines are usually in September. We have a lot of experience in helping with the ‘host institution’ part of the application.
Newton fellowships are partly run by The Royal Society. Fellowships are open to non-UK nationals and last two years. There are typically deadlines in January (applicants from all countries) and July (applicants from specific countries). Applicants should have a PhD (but less than 7 years postdoc experience) and not be based in the UK at the time of application.
Leverhulme fellowships are also aimed at early career researchers. They last three years. Note that the Leverhulme only pay 50% of the costs and the department matches funds. However, we do have a track record of supporting Leverhulme fellows, especially if they have a trajectory that suggests they will be competitive for more independent fellowships such as NERC, BBSRC or Royal Society (see below). Deadlines are typically in early March.
Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships are an excellent program aimed at helping early career scientists that require, or have recently required, flexible working patterns. Applicants must be from an EC country or Switzerland, and hold a PhD but with less than 6 years post-PhD experience (career breaks are not included in this total). Application deadlines are usually in January.
There are several fellowship schemes in the UK for independent fellows such as those run by NERC (5 years, October deadline), BBSRC (Future Leader and David Phillips Fellowships) and The Royal Society (URFs). In general, these are for postdocs with outstanding track records who are about to build their own research group. Holders of these fellowships would not be part of my group but I am very happy to collaborate with and help prospective applicants with overlapping research interests. European Research Council (ERC) Starter or Consolidator Grants also fall into this category. The University, and in particular, our department (off the top of my head I can think of at least 10 successful applications), have a great track record in winning ERC grants, and are very good at helping applicants prepare proposals.
EMBO long-term fellowships. I don’t know much about these, but they appear to be two-year long schemes, with calls for applications in Feb and August. Fellows cannot hold their award in the same country where they were awarded their PhD. They must have at least one first author paper. Evolutionary genomics is within the EMBO remit – I didn’t realise this until recently.