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Women in Science

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Kylie VincentInterview excerpt: Kylie's Fellowship was for five years and allowed her to take a longer term view about research and career development.

Can you tell me a bit more about the Fellowship and, and what happened around getting that off the ground and the support you got there and…?

Yes, so the Fellowship I had from the Royal Society was a five year University Research Fellowship and I'd set up a, well the project I'd planned for that was to link together work that I'd done, or techniques that I'd used, in my PhD with systems that I'd studied during my postdoc work in Oxford and I think that's a great formula for making a good Fellowship project is to be able to combine together things that you've done in two separate parts of your career because it gives you the option to create something unique that only you can do because only you have had those two bits of independent experience, two sort of separate bits of experience and so I linked together the approaches from my PhD work with systems I'd studied in the postdoc and planned to develop some new tools that we could use for studying enzymes from bacteria.

But it was a long technique development battle to get there. So if I'd just had the, the initial five years of that Fellowship I guess we never would have got there and it was only because I was then able to pick up some other longer term funding and bring on some really good people on board that finally we got there. But it probably in the end took about seven years to get the technique working that we, that I'd planned at the beginning of the Fellowship application and I didn't end up doing it the way I'd originally planned.

So, we changed direction a bit. But we did get there as far as having tools that, research tools that let us study these enzymes in the way that we'd wanted to at the beginning. But it was a, a really long probably two PhD students worth of, sort of one after the other time to get there in terms of having these things working. But it's all although we've done it different ways to how I'd planned on the Fellowship, my group now, about half of my group, are actually working in research that has come directly out of that Fellowship project and using the sort of research tools, so we developed over the years on that so. So, yeah, so it's, so I think it's a real example of why that kind of long term research funding is so important because if I'd just had a three year Fellowship we'd never could have done that at all and even just with one five year Fellowship without the other big research grants or other, other sort of picking up the permanent position here along the way it would have been very difficult to do that kind of long term funding. Long-term sort of research development I guess, to get to that point.

So it's I think, it's at that kind of early stage it's, I mean, I guess some research is probably more amenable to shorter term funding and shorter term goals but if you really want to do something that's going to set you up for a research, developing a research approach that will underpin a career of science after that sort of long term funding is so critical to that.