Focus On: EPSRC ICT Early Career Researchers Workshop

Posted by Dr Adam Luqmani on 20 March 2017

Event Format

Both events ran on identical schedules with information presented by EPSRC staff and academics from across the ICT portfolio. The workshops provided focused sessions covering a range of important topics to consider as an early career researcher, with more senior academic mentors discussing their experiences. You can see the full set of slides on the ICT Theme Early Career Workshop page.

Plenary Sessions

Day one opened with a keynote from EPSRC ICT Theme Leader, Liam Blackwell who gave an introduction to EPSRC, the ICT Theme, and an update on our strategies and future plans. His presentation highlighted changes following the Balancing Capability  exercise and a rundown on the theme strategy and Cross-ICT Priorities.

The introduction was followed by a plenary session in which Zoe Brown – ICT Portfolio Manager explained the Peer Review process, explaining different funding schemes available to early career researchers. Zoe also showed the journey of a proposal – from submission to final decision and provided advice on becoming a reviewer. Our attendee’s knowledge was challenged by a live Socrative quiz and finished with a Q&A session with input from academic mentors.

The EPSRC early-career workshop provided me with invaluable experience in career development and proposal preparation. The event is organised in an interactive way and I got to know many researchers in other fields which opens a window for interdisciplinary research activities.
Dr Zhixin Liu
Lecturer in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University College London

Writing a Successful Grant Proposal

A highlight at both events was a discussion on writing a successful grant proposal, led by Professors Stephen McLaughlin (Heriot Watt University) and Mike Fraser (University of Bristol). They covered the principles of grant writing, common pitfalls, dos and don’ts in a PI response, and general approaches for success. There were also group exercises to reinforce learning and keep delegates engaged.

Parallel Sessions

The afternoon of Day 1 and most of Day 2 revolved around 6 parallel sessions – attendees were able to choose the sessions which were of most interest to them. All of these sessions were very well received by our attendees as is evident by some of the great feedback below:


The career development session included valuable reflection and planning activities that encouraged us to think about our career path and the steps we need to take to achieve what we want to over the next five years. We also benefitted from some refreshingly honest advice from an experienced academic about ways to make yourself more visible in your research community, and times when it might be necessary to be less visible in your department in order to make progress with your research.
Dr Kate Howland,
Lecturer in Interaction Design in the Department of Informatics, University of Sussex


I participated in the session on Cross-Disciplinarity and Co-Creation - I have found work with other disciplines to be the most rewarding part of my research so I was keen to learn more. The session started with an experienced academic sharing how she has developed an environment to foster cross-disciplinary working, including a fascinating model of student supervision and a different way of doing seminars. This is something I will be taking back to my own institution!
Dr Sandy Brownlee
Senior Research Assistant in Computing Science and Mathematics, University of Stirling

A great experience for all

Attendees and mentors from both events have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback about the workshops. The EPSRC ICT team also found this to be a great opportunity to meet some of our early career researchers, and we are glad it has been well-received. EPSRC is committed to supporting early career researchers to develop their research careers, learn about our strategic objectives and understand the opportunities available to them through EPSRC funding.


Throughout the workshop, I particularly valued the opportunities within the sessions to engage with such a diverse group of peers and mentors.. It was inspiring to hear about the range of things people are working on and I hope that connections explored over coffee might become research collaborations in the future. Thanks EPSRC for a great event!
Dr Elizabeth Black
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Informatics, King’s College London


Copies of the presentations made at the workshops can be found on our event page.


In the following table, contact information relevant to the page. The first column is for visual reference only. Data is in the right column.

Name: Dr Adam Luqmani
Section / Team: Portfolio Manager - ICT
Organisation: EPSRC

Adam Luqmani is a portfolio manager at EPSRC. Portfolio Managers work directly with the research community to help put the UK at the forefront of International Research. Adam helped to design and run the EPSRC ICT Early Career Workshops in February and March 2017.