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Women in Science

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Video clip: Fran had a colleague who encouraged her (just a few hours before the deadline) to apply for a Lister Institute Research Fellowship. She feels very grateful because that was the start of her independent career.

After about three years of funding through that research stream, I was then developing a research group within the Institute and I applied for a fellowship to fund my salary independent of the Searle research group and that again was another sort of pivotal stage because as soon as you get independent funding you can really take the science in the direction that you really want to follow.

And I didn’t actually spontaneously apply for this fellowship. I thought that I wasn’t ready, or I hadn’t published enough or all sorts of reasons that I thought that I wouldn’t be competitive for fellowships. And it was a colleague in Cambridge who phoned me up and said, ‘Look, the Lister Institute Research Fellowships, the deadline’s tomorrow. You should apply.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s impossible, you know, it’s tomorrow’, and I spent the whole night just writing a sort of stream of consciousness sort of proposal. Virtually no editing because there was no time. Submitted it. Was interviewed and remarkably got the funding and that was really the, you know, another major sort of milestone in my career and again it was only through that mentorship from a colleague saying, ‘Look, you are ready for this. Just do it’, that really pushed me to, to apply. And I really owe him a huge debt of gratitude because that was really the start of my independent career.