Sophie Roberts, Research Grants Officer, chatted with Alzheimer's Society funded fellows and board members to put together her top tips to help you prepare for your fellowship interview.
Congratulations on being shortlisted for an Alzheimer’s Society Fellowship grant! Next step – the interview.
Interviews can be stressful, especially if you are already eight to twelve months into the application process, and you feel as though your career is riding on clearing this final hurdle.
What should I expect at the interview?
Shortlisted fellowship applicants will be invited to interview at our office in London.
The interview panel will be made up of members of the Grant Advisory Board and Research Network – our dedicated volunteers who all have personal experience of dementia – living with the condition or as a carer.
In total, the interview will be 25 minutes long, split into a five minute presentation and a 20-minute period for questions from our panel.
Our panel will challenge you but ultimately, they are there to make sure that you are prepared for a successful and impactful career in dementia research that could make a difference to people affected by dementia.
To help you as much as possible, we've prepared a list of five things to keep in mind ahead of your fellowship interview.
5 top tips to help with your interview
1. Do your research.
Speak to as many people as possible – mentors, experts, family and friends. Call on the experiences of colleagues who regularly sit on grant panels, and previously successful applicants of fellowship schemes for advice on what to expect at interview.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself.
Fellowships are as much about the person as they are about the research.
Be proud of your achievements and show how you have grown from your experiences so far.
We want to grow and nurture a world class dementia research community, so your career aspirations are important to us. How will this fellowship help you get there?
3. Practice, practice, practice.
Mock interviews are a great way to prepare. A diverse practice panel will help refine the focus and delivery of your presentation and provide an opportunity to think about interview questions and responses.
Presenting to friends and family will highlight areas that are not particularly clear to them and help you to frame answers that are more accessible to the general public.
Being able to communicate well, including to people who have no specialist or research background, such as our Research Network volunteers, is essential.
4. Always keep the big picture in mind.
Tangible impact is at the very core of what we do at Alzheimer’s Society. We want you to consider the implications of your research on the wider research community and ultimately people affected by dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society are looking for people who are committed to working in dementia research and to developing a career in this field.
Show the panel why you think research on dementia is exciting and important.
5. Don’t give up!
The application process is tough. If you are unsuccessful in this round, don’t be disheartened. Use the experience, the feedback, and the reviews, to further develop and enhance your proposed research plan.
People tend to trumpet their achievements and keep quiet about their failures but as you either know already or are now finding out, research careers are built on persistence and resilience and sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on.
Best of luck to all our prospective fellows.
What's new in our Research Funding programme?
Recently we've made some changes to the focus of our research.