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Women in Science

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Video clip: Jenny urges others to be persistent, not to take failure personally, to try again if not awarded a grant or a fellowship, and to become sufficiently expert in one area to effectively pursue a line of enquiry.

So be persistent. Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure’s just the next opportunity to succeed.


You know. Try again with a grant. And I guess one of my little sayings is, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you don’t apply for a grant you’re not going to get it. So you have to apply for it, and we’ve been talking quite a lot about people applying for fellowships and it is a scary process. It’s an awful lot of work to apply for personal fellowships, increasing amounts of paperwork, increasing amounts of forms to fill in. It’s, it’s a very complicated process. People put their life and soul into making applications. But you have to do that to take the next step…


… and you have to also know when you put it in that there’s a possibility, in fact for most applications the possibility is you’re more likely to fail than succeed, simply because there are so many other people competing for, for a small, finite amount of resource …


But, but you have to do that in order to, to get on and, not to take it personally. I think that’s the really difficult thing early on is not taking the failures personally. And to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. And that’s probably the most important thing I would say in terms of persistence, not letting opportunities go. The other, the other thing I think that I would have done differently is I think, I’ve worked in lots of, lots of areas. There’s, there’s been one or two areas where I was getting to the point where I would say, yes, I’m, I’m becoming quite an expert in this area, then for whatever reason, change of circumstances, I’ve not been able to pursue that line of enquiry as it were.


And I’ve had to move on to other things, and that’s just been the way it has. I think if you are able to get yourself into a position where you’re able to follow one particular, one particular path that really is the, the best thing to do. I think it’s probably the most satisfying thing to do, but also you will ultimately be regarded as an expert in that area.