Previous year’s winner, Daniel Lindqvist, would like to share tips on preparing the application for the EFPT Porto Research Award.
Daniel is a psychiatry resident at the Lund University Hospital, just finishing his training, and an awardee of Marie Skłodowska Curie International Career Grant. He defended his doctoral thesis in 2010 on the following topic: “Redefining Suicidal Behavior – Rating Scales and Biomarkers.” He has an impressive publication list including several well-cited papers in high-impact journals. Daniel has also facilitated the establishment of an important and valuable research collaboration between Lund University and University of California, San Francisco. Daniel’s main research interest is the biological underpinning of depression, anxiety, and suicidality. Within the context, he has developed expertise in a broad number of sub-topics, including metabolomics, pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, neurotrophic factors, cell aging (telomeres and telomerase activity), and mitochondrial dysfunction.
I divided my motivation letter into the following subheadings:
Here I summarized my previous research activities, how I have divided my time between clinical rotations and research. I outlined what it would mean to me personally and for my career if I won the award. Finally, I summarized, as clear and specific as possible, some of my overall long-term career goals.
Overall career statement
In this section I outlined the overreaching hypothesis of my research, and finished with the ultimate goals of my research (with focus on the clinical implications)
Summary of current research project
In this section I turned to the “nitty-gritty” of my ongoing projects. I tried to be informative and engaging, yet as specific and succinct as possible. I also tried to write this part so that someone who is not in my specific research field would understand, and so that person would be able to appreciate the importance of my work and how it could potentially improve clinical psychiatry.
A general advice is to make the application as cohesive as possible. The separate parts of the application should be well-integrated. This is not always an easy task and I believe I used several weeks to prepare and think through the best way to accomplish this before I completed the application. Try to visualize that you yourself would review other peoples applications (not in your immediate research field) and think about how you would react – then try to fine-tune your own application accordingly. It’s definitely a good idea to have one of your senior colleagues read your application and provide feedback.
I wish future applicants the best of luck!