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UK Grad

In addition to this great question: would European search committes see doctoral scholarships from external bodies (e.g. AHRC, SAP, BSPS, Wellcome, etc) as evidence of the ability to attract funding? If so, what is the best way to highlight this in cover letters?

Dr. K

During my PhD that was partially in experimental philosophy there was no other way to fund experiments than through external funding, so my supervisor helped me apply for it and I can now list two small-medium grants for those types of requirements.

It's hard for me to see how non-experimental philosophers could do that at this stage of their career (it becomes more feasible later on).

Anon UK Grad

I'm far from an expert in this, so take what I say with salt. And, I am happy to be corrected by others who might know more. Also, these comments are primarily directed to PhD students in the UK.

In response to UK Grad, I think the answer is yes - things like AHRC, BSPS, Analysis Trust, and Wellcome funding would be looked at as evidence of ability to attract external funding. The main issue is that the funding has to be competitive, and not issued by your university.

Another avenue would be to apply for, and receive, funding for hosting conferences (from, e.g. the Scots Philosophical Association, or the Aristotelian Society).

Pekka Väyrynen

For jobs at the level of Lecturer/Assistant Prof, lack of a track record of obtaining external funding is not normally a disqualifier, since in most cases opportunities have been few to begin with. (At least in my institution we take into account the fact that things are very different in North America in this respect.) Small things count, e.g. just getting a couple of grand to organize any sort of broadly academic event or activity.

What you can do instead is to signal in your application that you are clued in and willing to make an effort to apply for external funding. You can signal this e.g. by mentioning some relevant funding schemes that you'd look to apply for in your first years in the job. This can be done e.g. in relation to your research statement: which project in your future research plans would make a suitable basis for a grant application? Marie Curie Individual Fellowships is one great example of schemes to tap into (though UK's future eligibility to host these remains TBD). In UK, you could check out AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust for fellowship schemes aimed at early career people in permanent jobs. (Don't commit howlers here though. E.g. British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships won't be for you.) Many other European countries will have similar funding bodies. You'll just need to do your Googling or ask around, e.g. in academic social media groups.

To UK Grad: Yes, success with competitive PhD scholarships counts as such evidence. One place where you could mention this is the part of the application where you address external funding plans. (E.g. "I aim to build on my success in securing [your competitive scholarship] by applying for [your future funding plans].")

Pekka Väyrynen

Follow-up to Anon UK Grad: some university-issued scholarships are highly competitive, in a way that you can flag to your advantage. E.g. in my institution there are just 1-2 scholarships per year awarded by a Faculty (of Arts and Humanities) wide competition. Getting one of those is hard!


I work in Europe. Whatever you do do not bullshit. You will look completely unqualified. It is better to be forthright about it or say nothing. But you will be held in very low regard if you try to fake it and get caught.


In addition to everything mentioned above (especially the suggestion to research relevant funding schemes), have an elevator (or, seeing as we're partly talking about the UK, lift) pitch for one or two projects ready to go. Try to keep this short and sweet, and make sure it actually fits with whatever scheme you are discussing (e.g. some of them, especially from the AHRC, require a serious "impact" element, whereas others, especially from the Leverhulme Trust, are more about pure research).

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