'What began for me with trepidation has very quickly transformed in to a thoroughly enjoyable experience such that I'd rather be working on my proposal than anything else. Writing has never been my strong point, but reigniting my passion for astrophysics has been an utter joy. I am excited at what might lie ahead, none of which would be possible if it weren't for the Trust, you and your colleagues.'

Writing your proposal

Daphne Jackson Fellowships are unique, and the application process reflects this. Trust staff offer advice and support at every stage of the application process and onwards through the Fellowship. 

The application process for a Daphne Jackson Fellowship is unlike any other in the fields of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM), and so the proposal is different to a normal academic research proposal. These guidelines detail how to write and present your proposal, comprising of a research project and retraining programme.  They indicate the order of the sections required for the proposal and the required content in each.The final assessment of your proposal will be carried out by the Daphne Jackson Trust’s Awards Assessment Panel, comprised of researchers and academics from a variety of STEM backgrounds – please bear this in mind when you write your proposal.

Proposal layout
Body Text Font: Calibri 12pt
Titles and subtitles: Calibri Bold 20pt, 16pt and 14pt
Line Spacing: 1.15
Margins: As Default (2.54cm)
Page Footer: Name.  Page No.  Date

Please provide a word count at the end of the subsections which have a word limit. do not include figure legends and tables in the word count.

Each section should start on a new page.

The whole proposal (excluding section 3) should be written in the first person

Please mark the document as DRAFT . You can do this in Word by going to page layout, choose watermark and ‘diagonal draft’.

Section 1: Cover Sheet
Include your name, and names of supervisor and host organisation. Include your project title too. 

Section 2: Reasons for Applying for a Fellowship
Give a brief overview of your research before your career break, reasons for the career break, why you think you are ready to return and how you will overcome any work-life balance issues.  Include your suitability for holding a fellowship and commitment to return. (max 400 words)

Section 3: Research Summary

Title of Project
Your project should have a succinct but meaningful title.

Popular Summary
Briefly describe the aims and methodology of this project using non-technical terminology so it could be read by a layperson. This section should also spell out the impact and possible practical applications of the proposed research. (max 350 words)

Scientific Abstract
Briefly describe the project to a scientific audience. (max 150 words)

Section 4: Host organisation
Provide brief details of the host organisation, proposed supervisor(s) and relevant collaborations. Please include details of how well equipped the host organisation is to support the proposed research plan. Include names of anyone who will be involved in your proposed research or retraining program. (max 400 words).

Section 5: Retraining Programme
Briefly describe the retraining programme including planned training in research methods/techniques & personal development. Distinguish between new and refreshed skills. (max 400 words)

Section 6: Proposed Research Plan
Your project title should be the heading for this section. Outline your proposed research by describing the hypothesis to be tested and the research methods to be used. The study design should be described in sufficient detail for our Awards Assessment Panel to understand what is proposed.  Describe how your retraining will be useful for the project. Describe the risks involved and how you will overcome them.(maximum 1500 words) (written in the First Person)

Section 7: Ethical Approval and Licences
If your project will require Ethical Approval or a licence, please give specific details including timescales for approval. Indicate who will have overall responsibility for the submission of each application. Approval not being obtained in the described time-frame should be identified as a risk in section 6 and a contingency plan presented.

Section 8: Timetable (1 page in landscape)
Provide a simple diagrammatic work plan in a Gantt chart as a word table or excel chart illustrating the proposed research including the retraining elements. Please use the columns as individual months (i.e. 1 to 24) and label the rows as tasks/ actions. Indicate major outputs/landmarks. (Inserting a section break at the bottom of the page before the table and another after the table enables you to select landscape orientation within that section without affecting the remainder of the text).

Section 9:  References
Any literature referred to in the proposal should be listed here.
A smaller font can be used here to keep this to one page.

Section 10: Future Planning
Describe your career plans and how you specifically intend to acquire future employment following your Fellowship.  How will the skills obtained in your Fellowship aid your future career? Describe the various options that you can realistically aim for in order of preference, e.g. the ideal (but realistic) next position you will aim for, followed by other alternatives you will pursue. (max 400 words)

Please liaise with your Fellowship Advisor on the first drafts of your proposal and ensure that you work to the mutually agreed deadlines.  

Do not hesitate to contact your Fellowship Advisor with any queries.


Updated March 2016