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17 October 2019  


Alan Meehan

Alan receiving his Travelling Studentship award from NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning at the 2014 NUI Awards Ceremony

Alan receiving his Travelling Studentship award from NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning at the 2014 NUI Awards Ceremony

 

 

Alan Meehan was a 2014 Travelling Studentship recipient in Psychology. He undertook his PhD at King's College London. He is now a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London.

 

 

 



In your experience, what is the value of being an NUI award recipient?


"Most importantly, the award gave me the
chance to collaborate with some of the foremost experts in developmental psychology, at one of the most highly-regarded institutions in the world, allowing me to build important professional connections
right at the start of my research career."

By enabling NUI students to pursue doctoral research outside Ireland, the Travelling Studentship offers a relatively unique funding opportunity. On a practical level, I was ineligible for all of the major studentships offered in the UK due to residency requirements. Without the Travelling Studentship, I would have been unable to even start my proposed PhD project in the first place. “Most importantly, the award gave me the chance to collaborate with some of the foremost experts in developmental psychology, at one of the most highly-regarded institutions in the world, allowing me to build important professional connections right at the start of my research career.”

What advice would you give to prospective Travelling Studentship applicants?

Planning is everything. Give yourself plenty of time to think through and outline your research plan, and use this as a guide when writing your proposal. In particular, keep in mind that most (if not all) of the funding panel will not be experts on your research topic. Don't just explain the literature around your research question, but try to highlight the relevance of your topic - why does your research question matter, and how will it differ from what has been done before?

Along with your current or prospective supervisor, getting a colleague or friend to read through your proposal is a good way of checking whether the importance of your proposed research is clear to those unfamiliar with your discipline. In addition, while you shouldn't be afraid to highlight your achievements, try to show how the skills you have developed to date might be applied and developed further as part of your proposed project. Finally, pay attention to presentation and the overall structure of your proposal so that it is as clear and easy to read as possible.

What would you consider to be your major achievements to date?

2014 Travelling Studentship recipient in Psycholohy Dr Alan Meehan

2014 Travelling Studentship recipient in Psycholohy Dr Alan Meehan

Besides submitting my thesis and passing my viva (both major achievements in themselves!), I contributed to several published journal articles and book chapters during my PhD, either based on my own research topic or from collaborations with others in my department. I have also presented aspects of my PhD research at several international conferences over the past three years. Finally, just before submitting my thesis, I successfully secured a two-year postdoctoral position, which will allow me to further develop my skills and expertise as an independent early-career researcher.

 

 

In 2018, three NUI Travelling Studentships will be offered in the Humanities and Social Sciences (including Business and Law).

The closing date for applications is Friday 23 March 2018.