Developing Your Project
Many people who approach a potential supervisor do not initially have a fully developed and detailed description of a project they want to undertake. This is absolutely fine – in fact, having a very detailed and predefined project can be difficult for potential PhD students or clinical fellows, because it might not be well fitted to the academic environment, the specific supervisors available or to a three year project timeframe. But equally, it is best not to search for a supervisor and a project without any idea at all of what you want to do. Developing a project is therefore a flexible, iterative affair where the trainee identifies a potential supervisor; discusses potential projects of mutual interest; and then works up a specific project into a Fellowship application. This process can take several weeks or months and so it is important you leave enough time to do this. But getting it right is important, because a successful project with an outstanding supervisor is the foundation of your future academic career. A good project is one that has addresses a clearly articulated scientific question of basic or clinical importance; that is achievable in a three year time frame; and has challenging but realistic goals.