“I applied for the International Exchange, as part of a suite of applications to visit my collaborator, Professor Vincent Rotello, at the University of Massachusetts (UMass), partly to exchange ideas and develop a project, and partly to learn more about chemical research in the US more generally as a postdoc.
"The Royal Society’s funding scheme was particularly attractive as it provided enough funding to cover research expenses needed for the work, and allow me to travel to UMass, which necessitated a hire car as well as flights and accommodation.
"The scheme also permitted me to make multiple shorter visits, meaning our project could be simultaneously developed in the US and UK, better leveraging the developments in Professor Rotello’s lab, rather than me solely undertaking US work in the US lab and losing the international nature of the project. By having my collaborator visit the UK, I was able to drive enthusiasm for our work and introduce my colleagues and a wider academic audience to the possibilities of the work that Professor Rotello and I were focussing on, as well as getting to know Professor Rotello better.
"Finally, this scheme was my first piece of independently sourced and managed funding, and although that came with its own teething problems, I feel it was instrumental in me succeeding in subsequent applications for fellowships.
"By way of outcomes, I enjoyed my time working overseas, and was able to take up a Killam fellowship at the University of British Columbia, to continue working in North America. I was also successful in attaining an LKAS fellowship at the University of Glasgow to continue developing the project we started over the next 3 years, and move my career towards full academic independence. Two papers prepared in collaboration have been published, and we have another resulting publication in press. I will also be presenting the work at several international conferences in the near future.”