Career Development Competition 2024

Standing Allosaurus Skeleton at The Lapworth Museum of Geology

The ECDN LES & EPS Career Development Competition is now closed for applications. Thank you to everyone who applied. We will try and inform all winners by close of play on 30 April. Good Luck! 

Who Can Apply?

The competition is for funding to support and enhance career development for postdoctoral and early career researchers, academics and late stage PhD Students. 


Applicants can apply for awards of up to £500 each. There will be some flexibility in the upper limit in exceptional circumstances.  Please be aware that funding is limited and not all applications will be successful. 

Deadline for applications

The deadline for submission is 12 noon, 4 April 2024. Please email your completed application to Richard Jones.            


  •      The applications must have a clear and demonstrable benefit to your career development, not only over the short term but over the longer term as well.  Applicants should think about how the proposed activity will develop your skills, capabilities or experience.
  •     The proposed activities should have a direct relevant to the applicant’s career development, however we are particularly looking for activities which take an innovative approach to career development, this may include activities such as visits to other labs or sites, training and development courses, delivering public engagement and impact activities.  Please see below for examples of previously funded activities.
  •       Awards must only be spent on the activity specified in the application.  If for any reason you have received an award but are no longer able to carry out the activity, please contact Richard Jones as soon as possible.
  •     Group applications may be submitted. Please state this clearly in your application.
  •     Applications are limited to one per individual or group.
  •     Attending or presenting at conferences can be funded if it will directly benefit the applicant.
  •     The purchase of items of equipment for research purposes is not eligible for this fund.
  •     The application is expected to be written in language suitable for a lay audience.
  •     Successful applicants will be notified following the decision by the Competition Judging Panel in April 2024.  Any money awarded must be invoiced by 21 June 2024. Once invoiced, the activity may take place after this date.

Decision making process

Your application will be reviewed by an evenly split panel of post-doc peers from LES & EPS. After an initial review your application will be discussed and decided at a panel meeting. You will receive a decision on your application by 30 April 2024.


Successful applicants will be required to submit a brief report following the completion of their activity, describing the activity and the benefit to your career.

Presenting at the ECDN conference

The successful applicants will have the opportunity to present the activity they carried using the Career Development Competition funding at the ECDN Conference. 

Examples of previously funded activities

  •     Research visits to collaborators in the UK and further afield to develop applicant’s own research ideas.
  •     Training course to obtain a drone pilot licence in order to carry out research and to access future research projects and funding opportunities for which this license is a requirement.
  •     Membership of relevant professional bodies in order to access to career development opportunities, contacts with industry, networking opportunities and discounted rates at conferences.
  •     Online training courses in order to develop professional-level scientific communication skills and improve creativity and generation of ideas.
  •     Organisation of a one-day workshop on impact and engagement for postdoctoral and early career research staff.
  •     Research Assistant support to develop public engagement activities with the public, in order to facilitate data collection for the applicant’s grant applications and publications and to develop the applicant’s research profile ad capacity for future teaching, research and impact activities.
  •     Training in meta-analysis in order to enable applicant to collaborate with researchers outside current area of expertise and lead on seminal papers in applicant’s discipline.

Please also see these testimonies from previous competition winners for ideas and inspiration:

"I was awarded the ECDN fund to support a study visit to the University of Edinburgh with Dr Nicolas Chevalier. During my study visit, I learnt about the inner workings of conducting an EEG experiment with children aged 5-11 years. I was also able to take part in knowledge exchange with Dr Chevalier's Cognitive Control Lab group and consider future research ideas and collaborations. This award has greatly helped me to learn more about neuroimaging techniques in practice and has helped me to expand my research perspective for future funding bids. Thanks so much!"

“The ECDN career development fund supported me to visit a European Laser Lab (ICFO) near Barcelona to receive training on an existing EU horizons research project – Developing biological artificial intelligence (NEU-CHiP). As part of this laboratory visit, I was able to work on testing 3-dimensional fluorescent microscopy techniques to visualise stem cell derived brain models. This visit significantly improved my understanding of how 3d printing can be integrated into biological models of the brain and was a great opportunity to get international lab experience.”

"Utilising the career development award from the Early Career Development Network (ECDN), I had the invaluable opportunity to enhance my research career through specialised training in organ-on-a-chip development at Synvivo INC, located in Huntsville, Alabama. This cutting-edge, advanced in vitro technique stands at the forefront of biomedical engineering, offering revolutionary platforms for studying human physiology and disease models in a controlled, micro-engineered environment. My training at Synvivo INC significantly enhanced my expertise in this state-of-the-art technology. It marked a significant milestone in my journey towards becoming a leading researcher in my field. This specialised training is pivotal for expanding my research capabilities and developing in-house expertise within the School of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham (UoB). By integrating this sophisticated technology into our research framework, we are setting a new standard for experimental precision and innovation in our institution. This endeavour will enhance our research output and foster a more collaborative and interdisciplinary research environment, ultimately advancing scientific knowledge and its application in addressing complex environmental and biological challenges."