Researcher Realities - Journeys to Funding

Researchers share their funding experiences and offer top tips for securing fellowships or grants in video recordings from the Researcher Realities launch event in May 2023.

Dr Fergus Cullen, Reader in Galaxy Evolution, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh.

Dr Fergus Cullen is Reader in Galaxy Evolution at the University of Edinburgh; his research focuses on finding and characterising galaxies in the early Universe. Fergus received his PhD from Edinburgh in 2015 and worked as a post-doctoral researcher between 2015-2021. In 2021 Fergus was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to study the chemical evolution of distant galaxies. The grant funding (converted to a UKRI Frontier Research Guarantee grant) began in September 2022 and he is now in the process of building his own research group at the Institute for Astronomy.


Dr Annemarie Docherty (Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellow, Usher Institute, CMVM, University of Edinburgh).

Dr Annemarie Docherty is an academic critical care consultant in the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, and holds a Stage 1 Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship. During 2020-2023 she has had the opportunity to work with national collaborations (ISARIC4C, EAVE-II, PHOSP-COVID, HEAL-COVID) to respond to the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. She is passionate about efficient trial design and the integration of research into clinical practice to improve outcomes for critically ill patients.


Prof Michelle Keown (Chair in Postcolonial Literatures, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh).

Michelle Keown is Professor of Pacific and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Between 2017 and 2020, she led a Global Challenges Research Fund (UK) project focused on the legacies of US nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands (more here). She is currently Co-PI on a major 3-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council that aims to decolonize Robert Louis Stevenson’s Pacific fiction through graphic adaptation, arts education, and community engagement. She serves on the AHRC Peer Review College and has reviewed funding applications for the Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, and other international organisations.



Dr Sandy Hetherington (UKRI FLF, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh).

Dr Sandy Hetherington studied an MSci in Geology at the University of Bristol and became fascinated by the evolution of land plants. In 2012 he moved to the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford to undertake his DPhil with Prof Liam Dolan on the evolution of roots. He remained in Oxford, first as a postdoctoral researcher (2017) and then a Junior Research Fellow at Magdalen College (2017-2020). In October 2020 he moved to the Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences at the University of Edinburgh to establish his research group supported by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.


Journeys to Funding, Q&A

Further Resources

If you’re applying for fellowships, do take a look at:

Pilz, Anna, A Comprehensive Guide to Fellowship Applications (2023).

Fellowship Guide

If you’re based at Edinburgh, you can enrol on [login required]

Funded Research | Pathways to Academic Independence