Challenger Society for Marine Science
The Stepping Stone Early Career Bursary Scheme
The Stepping Stones Early Career Bursary scheme is designed to support career development of members of the UK marine science community who do not have current indefinite employment. The scheme can provide modest amounts of support (up to £1000 per grant) for activities designed to enhance the career prospects for researchers, but not to provide direct salary support.
Bursaries can be used for research related activities including but not limited to travel, collaborative visits, laboratory or field work and conference participation. Bursaries may, for example, be used to develop existing research, explore new research ideas, develop grant applications, establish or further new research collaborations, carry out public engagement activities, participate in conferences, pay for laboratory costs, cover expenses for field work, or attend workshops. Bursaries are open to PhD candidates (PhD thesis submitted) or post-doctoral researchers, particularly those seeking employment in a research environment post-qualification, and to active researchers between fixed term contracts, or researchers wishing to return to research after a break, such as maternity leave or illness. Please note that the Challenger Society will not fund internal flights within the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) unless it is necessary to allow participation (reasonable examples include but are not limited to caring responsibilities and disabilities). We do not require applicants to disclose personal information but ask them to acknowledge that they fall under a reasonable exemption to allow an internal flight in their application.
- The maximum amount that any individual can be allocated in any one funding round will be £1000. Individuals are only eligible to receive one bursary in any three year period.
- Applicants must provide evidence of recent research activity eg. publications, PhD studies, participation in research campaigns.
- Applications are not permitted from researchers holding permanent positions. Those holding fixed term contracts may apply in the 6 months before the end of their contract. Applications are welcome from active or recently active researchers that are currently unemployed
- Salary costs are not eligible to be covered.
- Applicants must be early career researchers who are finishing a PhD (thesis submitted) and are either near the end of contract (within 6 months of the end date) or between positions. The Challenger Society defines early career researchers as those who are:
· within eight years of their highest degree (BSc, MSc, PhD award), or equivalent professional training
· within six years of their first academic appointment (the first full or part time paid employment contract that lists research or teaching as the primary functions).
These periods exclude any career break, for example:
· family care
· health reasons
· reasons related to COVID-19 such as home schooling or increased teaching load.
Please submit your application to Sophie Wilmes (email@example.com).
Applicants must provide:
- Evidence of recent research activity
- Evidence or statement of employment status
- Description of research activity applied for, including costings
- Benefit of research activity to both the applicant and marine science research and/or the marine science community
- A statement from a marine scientist referee in support of the application
Applications will be considered quarterly (deadlines: January 15th, April 15th, July 15th and October 15th)).
The society aims to fund four bursaries per year.
A bursary report must be submitted to the society within two months of the end of the research activity.
Funds will be released once the application has been approved. A statement of spend (including receipts) is required with the bursary report.
If you have any questions regarding the Stepping Stones Early Career Bursary scheme please contact Dr Sophie-Berenice Wilmes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
EDI statement: The Challenger Society is working towards being a fully equitable and inclusive organisation (see EDI statement here). The Society encourages you to consider nominating individuals from underrepresented and/or diverse backgrounds.
Anna Belcher 2016: US cruise in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. Read about her experience at sea and the personal benefits she gained from the bursary on our blog page.
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