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The Guildford Bench Methodology Fund

Background

The Fund was endowed by a Trust (Guildford Academic Associates) co-founded by an Emeritus member. It can give modest support for benchwork. Its emphasis is on methodology, with a preference for cellular or bioanalytical work (reflecting symposia, mounted by the Trust, that generated 'Methodological Surveys' publications, which continue in the drug-bioanalysis field). Examples of awards include: feasibility studies by new staff before they apply to a major award-granting body; developing a new technique, or checking the application of a known technique in new circumstances. Assistance by a member to an overseas laboratory can also be supported. Consideration will be given only to applications that are carefully compiled and scientifically convincing.

The Fund will at present suffice for about eight awards per year, suitably focused on the setting up or consolidation of useful methods (excluding data handling). Sample preparation aspects are appropriate, as in isolating reputable cellular material for biochemical study, or extracting plasma to determine drugs or other compounds relevant to health. Awards may finance special materials, and vacation help from a student (normally 115 per week). Possible matching support would be looked upon favourably. The Fund aims to foster both sound methodology and careful presentation as manifested by applicants' submissions; these should deal concisely with all the points that seem from the following guidelines to be relevant.

Guidance to Applicants

  1. The purpose of the grant must be to set up or improve methodology, with appropriate validation. This allows trying out new ideas.

  2. The application should have
    (1) a short Title to indicate what is planned.
    (2) a concise Introduction to indicate existing knowledge and past work. This may usefully contain a few references.
    (3) the experimental Approach planned.
    This should be concise, but detailed enough so that adjudicators can judge the approach. It may include remedies for difficulties that are already known. Possible publishable applications should be given.

  3. Applications should meet the annual deadlines: 1 November (inappropriate for seeking an award for vacation help) and 15 April.

  4. The laboratory, and especially the applicant, should not already be involved in several projects. The submission must cite any existing support and any relevant fund-seeking (or approach to a company) that is pending or has been rejected, or which the proposed work might render feasible. (Members of the Royal Society of Chemistry should have considered trying its Research Fund.) The bid limit is 800 or, if embracing vacation help, 1200. There should be mention of possible complementary support. To help funding students who are before their final year, a bursary (for five weeks) should be sought from a source such as the Nuffield Foundation and the outcome should be notified. An applicant must cite any previous application to the Fund.

  5. Membership of the Biochemical Society or of another appropriate body is requisite; applicants should state how long they have been members.

  6. An investigator who is based in the UK or Ireland may seek help from the Fund for benchwork, not necessarily innovative, in a cash-starved laboratory overseas. The mentor, as co-applicant, will be the channel for the award, which could aptly be for a basic item of equipment (possibly reconditioned or discounted), to be despatched overseas by the supplier.

  7. Where a short-term stipend is sought, the person must be engaged in benchwork rather than writing-up; if it is for a student (who need not be named), the application should state whether the work would be done before the student's final year. Bench expenditure may include special materials or minor capital items. Up to 20% of the grant may be used for institutional overheads.

  8. A short career sketch of the applicant is needed, with an indication of familiarity with the work area (a few citations for example). If the applicant is not in an established post, an endorsement by a senior colleague, preferably the Head of Department, should be given.

  9. Applicants should state to whom a grant awarded should be paid, and when they would take up the notional award. If this depends on matching support they should say when its availability will be known, and should notify the Biochemical Society of the outcome. Awards cannot be extended or renewed.

  10. Successful applicants must (i) guarantee clearances (e.g. ethical/animal experimentation/VAT exemption/radioisotope use; vacation assistance insurance if applicable), preferably from the Head of Department, and (ii) submit an outline (400 words limit) of how the award was spent and what has been achieved. Support must be acknowledged in any publication that emerges.

  11. An application should be made as an attachment to an e-mail sent to guildford.fund@biochemistry.org, entitled Application. This attachment should not exceed three A4 pages. Receipt will be acknowledged within three working days. Decisions are anticipated within five weeks of the deadline. As changes are sometimes made in these Guidelines, applicants should check this site, http://www.biochemistry.org/Admin/Guildford.htm, when they are ready to submit their applications.




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