Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Opening up research proposals

I'm involved with a submission to the Knight News Challenge called "opening up research proposals". The basic idea is to make more funding applications publicly accessible. In the hope that this will increase collaboration, reduce unethical application recycling and generally make the world a happier and more productive place.

I think I have to practise what I'm preaching. Therefore I have made my Rutherford Discovery Fellowship Application available via figshare.

Ten suggestions for selecting a research topic

Paul P. Gardner1 and Venkateswarlu Pulakanam2

1. Biomolecular Interactions Centre and School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
2. College of Business and Law, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Selecting a research project is one of the most important decisions researchers at any stage of their career can make [1][2][3]. This is of particular importance for early-career academics. An early selection of the wrong project can have a negative impact on later career options. We believe it is very important to invest time mulling over which of the infinitude of projects we can investigate. In the following we present a number of ideas that will mitigate the risk of failure before embarking on a project. We target our suggestions for younger scientists, however, more experienced researchers may also benefit from these ideas. We hope that this will further your career goals, rather than sap your will to live.
The project management literature contains a number of useful tools for identifying good projects. Tools like SMART criteria [4] for identifying sensible objectives and SWOT analyses [5] for selecting good projects are handy additions to include in your strategic approach to research.
We have identified 10 key tools that we believe are of particular benefit to early-career scientists.