Post doc in epidemiology, Michael O’Rorke

Career background

After a first degree in physiotherapy from the University of Ulster, Michael did a PhD in the School of Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast. He’s remained there as a postdoc, and was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2014 from our Population Research Committee, to work on a project exploring the association of beta adrenergic receptor expression and beta-blocker use with breast cancer survival and prognosis.

The application process

How do you decide which grants to apply for?

I target grants for which I’m eligible and which provide the funding/training I need to enhance my knowledge.

What are the most time-consuming steps in submitting a grant?

Developing a concise proposal, identifying potential collaborators and obtaining their approval on the electronic submission.

How do you deal with complex things, like costings and ethical approval?

Seek ethical approval as soon as you know you will receive funding, then negotiate a start date for the award. It’s important that you agree your costings for contracted work with collaborators etc. so that you have no surprises later on.

The research

What makes a successful grant?

The best proposals are those that meet the funders objectives, are well thought out, offer value for money, are novel/different, come from a capable/enthusiastic applicant and/or research group and are realistic in their time frame and scale of work.

Getting feedback from colleagues on your research proposal

Proposals are always circulated amongst colleagues to get their input/advice before submission.

Advice and common pitfalls

Try and integrate a training component/visiting fellowship into the grant, particularly if you’re interested in obtaining international experience.

Comments from decision panels and reviewers

I’ve not used my feedback for another grant, but found the five reviewers comments very useful for preparing potential questions/answers for the CRUK interview.

Find out more about this scheme

Michael's advice for new applicants

"Try and integrate a training component/visiting fellowship into the grant, particularly if you’re interested in obtaining international experience."

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