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Filippo Dionigi, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Name: Filippo Dionigi
Current job title and organisation: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
Department at LSE where you did your PhD: International Relations

How did you find out about your current fellowship?

LSE Research Division information session

Why did you choose to hold your fellowship at LSE?

It was the most obvious choice at least in theory, I was already familiar with the environment and it would have been easier to develop the research project and go through the application process.

How did you go about approaching the LSE to obtain their support for your application? Who did you ask and how did the process work?

I had previous contacts with the Centre and had been working with them before. I sent an email to the director of the centre and he was immediately and fully supportive.

What advice would you give on how to put together a successful fellowship research proposal?

I have the impression that the research proposal is important but is not the only thing they look at. In my case I have developed a proposal on a subject that is very relevant in contemporary political affairs (refugee crises in the Middle East). The project was not extremely detailed but it was clear and structured. I thing a strong asset for my application was having three articles/publications either out or forthcoming in good/excellent academic journals and one book forthcoming with a good academic publisher. I guess if I were a grant selector I would see this profile as confirming the fact that I can deliver research output which is probably what they are looking for.

Can you tell us about the application/interview process for your fellowship?

No interviews, the demanding aspect is developing the research project and then connect all the bureaucratic “dots”, references (it may be hard to find two external referees), budget design, motivation letters, justification of the choice of the centre in which you are going to be based etc.

What are the timescales involved?

Don’t remember exactly but you need to start thinking and planning things at least one year before the deadline to be on the safe side and certainly not less the 6/7 months before the deadline. Otherwise you risk not to get the references on time, the statements of the head of department, and also research division needs time to supervise the application.

What advice would you give to an LSE PhD student considering a fellowship as their next career step?

Try to publish as much as possible…

What is the same or different about being a research fellow compared to being a PhD student?

I cannot tell yet, I guess as a fellow is more mature in terms of research design, implementation and more strategic as regards publications, networking etc. etc. But overall I feel very much I am beginning a another PhD…

How many academic positions or fellowships did you apply for towards the end of your PhD?

At least 30-40 academic positions and probably 10 fellowships…