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Please fund my Cutting Edge PhD Research…

Funding. Apparently even in these times of austerity it is available for cutting edge research…unless of course the people holding the purse strings don’t realise what you are researching is cutting edge.

And that is my problem in a nutshell.

I’m working on a topic which straddles the disciplines of archaeology, history, literature and art. It is also designed to enhance the information about some of the most iconic castles and landscapes which dot North Wales and the borderlands. I’ve written, so far, 122 letters to charities and other bodies asking for financial assistance.

So far, nothing.

All of the letters were speculative, and aimed at organisations I thought either would, should or may have an interest in my research. Attached to the letter I e-mailed was my most recent published article on my research and my CV to show my publication record.

Some e-mails went unanswered, even after three attempts, (once a week to ensure that they were not missed in the volume of other e-mails that might have been arriving in the same inbox). Some replies were perfunctory, stating simply they did not fund individuals, others more generous with encouragement to complete my research in their refusals to assist.

Others provided links to other organisations which they thought might be able to assist, and these were dutifully followed up – although to no avail.

Which all leaves me in an odd situation. I can stand in a room of my peers and relate my research – to which I invariably receive the question “You honestly can’t find funding!”. Which suggests that there is funding out there for this kind of multi-disciplinary work, but that for some reason I’ve yet to find out who controls it.

I’m signed up to restart my PhD this September at Manchester Metropolitan University, and I could of course borrow the money as a Career Development Loan – which is fine in theory – but if money like this is available as a loan – then where is the equivalent grant for researchers in situations like me.

I’m not saying my research is the most worthwhile cause that could be funded, but I’m certain that what I’m working on will have long term repercussions for the discipline as a whole. And if future generations of archaeologists can look at my work and build upon it, I’ve done the best I can.

If you think you can assist or if you think you know someone who can and you pass this on to them. Thank You.

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3 thoughts on “Please fund my Cutting Edge PhD Research…”

  1. Forgive the naïve layman questions, but have you looked into crowdsourcing? And I’m guessing the Heritage Lottery fund is/was a dead-end? What sort of figure are you talking about, I’m guessing thousands?

  2. Incredible, isn’t it? I have been battling this problem for around 20 years, with the added millstone that I am not in academia, nor pursuing an academic career. Computer modelling to analyse a site, and then that same data used to present a site. I have had the same responses from peers; each time I have done some work, archaeologists have been excited at the sheer breadth and power of the discipline of CGI when applied to archaeological sites and their times, having witnessed what it can do. But can I get funding for it, or even small amounts for specific projects? No. In a time when a highly trained and experienced individual can wield this technology in the service of whatever other discipline, it is sobering to still hear ‘we do not provide funding for individuals’ – the technology and workflow has outstripped the bureaucracy, to the detriment of those disciplines. Can one get around it? Yes – just get on with it, when possible. Hmm – I feel a blog coming on! Good luck!

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