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Application Q and A session

CHASE applicant advice session 22 November – record of Q&A

Q: Is cross-institutional co-supervision mandatory?

A: No, it is available where it benefits the project.

Q: Is there an upper age limit for studentship funding?

A: No, CHASE welcomes applications from mature students.

Q: Is there a different deadline for those who have already commenced a PhD course?

A: The 10 January deadline does not apply to those already registered for MPhil/PhD study. Please check with your institution for their deadline for funding applications.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of students each institution can submit?

A: Yes, each institution can submit up to 25 applications to the 2018 competition.

Q: Roughly how many students are successful as a proportion of applicants?

A: The success rate for all applications is approximately 1 in 5, rising to close to 1 in 2 for shortlisted applications.

Q: Can the funding be backtracked to the first year for current students?

A: No. Funding is awarded for the remaining duration of the PhD.

Q: Are unsuccessful applicants given feedback?

A: Feedback to applicants is something that we have considered, but the CHASE Management Board concluded that it is not practical for CHASE panels to offer feedback to applicants. As well as the administrative challenges, panel scores represent a range of views, which can make it difficult to offer meaningful feedback.

Q: Does Question 8 refer to experience relevant to our discipline/field of research?

A: Yes, Question 8 offers the opportunity to list professional experience that is relevant to your project. This might include work on your proposed research area in an administrative, curatorial, or creative capacity.


Q: So if someone does not have relevant experience you wouldn't recommend on applying?

A: CHASE welcomes applications from all eligible candidates. Professional experience is considered as well as academic record to encourage a wider range of applicants, but it is not an essential part of the application.

Q: Can a studentship be deferred for a year if the PhD had to be delayed?

A: it is not normally possible to defer a studentship award – you would need to re-apply.

Q: If successful when applying as full time student and study needs to change for any reason, can it be amended to suit part time study?

A: It is possible to change status (e.g. from full- to part-time study) once during the studentship. We recognise that life circumstances may change during the research project, and try to support our doctoral researchers as far as possible.

Q: How are language skills assessed? Is it just to test fluency in English?

A: It is assumed that candidates will be sufficiently fluent in English to complete a thesis to the satisfactory standard, and this is assessed through the project proposal and interview at your proposed institution. Question 10 asks for details of language skills; by this, we mean languages other than English that are necessary for your research.

Q: Do you have examples of successful research proposals that you can share?

A: We will explore sharing a selection of successful proposals.

Q: Is there a recommended/mandatory word limit for the proposal? Or follow institution guidelines?

A: There is a character limit of 10,000 not including spaces.

Q: Please expand on ‘schedule of works’?

A: Use this section to show that you have a realistic plan for completion of the project within the period of the award. You may want to think here about dividing the proposal into sections (not necessarily chapters at this stage) with a timetable for researching and writing up each section.


Q: Are the abstract and title included in the word count?

A: No, they are not included.

Q: Is the bibliography just for things mentioned in the proposal, or can it be a more general indication of your sources?

A: The bibliography can be a more general indication of sources, up to 20 items.

Q: Should the bibliography be annotated in anyway?

A: No, we do not ask for an annotated bibliography.

Q: In which section of the proposal should potential skills gaps be mentioned?

A: These should be referred to under ‘Research background and questions’, and methods to address any gaps should be included in your schedule.

Q: Can a co-supervisor come from a non-CHASE institution?

A: CHASE co-supervision arrangements only apply to supervisors from member institutions.

Q: Is there any bias towards country of project focus? Only asking as my PhD is focused on Barbados as a case study, not the UK.

A: We have no restrictions or bias towards any geographical area of research. CHASE-funded researchers are working in Europe, the United States, South America, Africa and Asia. Research costs that are included in the project proposal (e.g. field trips) will be supported by CHASE if the project is selected for funding.

Q: Are there any casual assessments by CHASE of the development of the project?

A: All member institutions have monitoring processes for student progress. CHASE works with member institutions to ensure that students have appropriate support to progress in their research.

Q: Is this the last round of CHASE funding for PhD?

A: This will be the last round under the current AHRC funding scheme; we hope to continue to offer PhD studentships under a successor scheme.

Q: My research idea has some overlap with other disciplines, does this complicate things? (Largely practice based in art.)

A: CHASE welcomes and is a supportive environment for interdisciplinary research – we encourage our researchers to work across disciplinary boundaries and provide support for research networks.

Q: With regards to references, would you recommend using both supervisors for those who have already commenced study? Trying to ascertain whether one of my supervisors and previous Dean or both supervisors would be best…

A: Applicants need to provide a Supervisor Statement plus two references. One supervisor can provide a reference as well as the supervisor statement, but there is the opportunity to include a reference from another source as well.

Q: There is no stipend provided to EU applicants, but some institutions mentioned that a stipend "may be given to EU citizens". When will that be decided and how?

A: Some institutions offer a stipend award to EU national students who are awarded CHASE funding. This is an institutional decision, and separate from the CHASE award. This decision would follow the award of CHASE funding.

Q: What makes an application stand out, and what is the best way to show a good fit for research environment?

A: An outstanding application will be intellectually exciting, and really clearly thought through. Discussion with your proposed supervisors is really important to establish an exciting research question, as well as to plan how this can be achieved within the funded period. Your supervisor should demonstrate the fit with the research environment in their statement, but this is another good thing to discuss with them before submission.


Q: Are there any rules about applying to other AHRC consortia?

A: You can apply to as many AHRC Doctoral Training Partnerships, or specialist Centres for Doctoral Training, as you like. You can only hold one offer from an AHRC DTP/CDT, and we ask that if you accept an award from another source, you let us know.


Q: Is the funding exclusive? Can you receive small grants form other places?

A: The funding is exclusive in the sense that you cannot hold another studentship award offering fees and stipend at the same time. However you are not prevented from seeking other funding sources to support research or personal development activities; if these cover living expenses, your CHASE funding can be interrupted.