A lecturer in finance in Edinburgh University's department of business studies, SethArmitage had no great hopes of getting an ESRC research grant at his first application. "Everybody said you can try but you might not have much success," he says. "But I was lucky."
A year and a half after receiving his PhD, Armitage says he is "sort of on the next step" with his work, "Share Issues by Quoted Companies: Costs and Market Response". The project is methodologically connected with his PhD. Both used "event study" as a way of approaching the subject - and its size is "PhD scale".
Armitage, who spent some time as a merchant banker before he returned to academia seven years ago, is not on his own for this project: his ESRC grant of just under Pounds 30,000 has enabled him to hire a research assistant for 12 months, buy a computer and the necessary software, and fund a number of trips to London. Meanwhile, he is still teaching.
Although he heard last November that he would be getting the grant he has only had his research assistant since the beginning of March, and has just finished writing up a literature review. Does this mean there has been some delay? "I've been impressed by the ESRC's thoroughness in reviewing my proposals," says Armitage tactfully. "But they have been quite slow in releasing the money."
Even with help from Edinburgh's administrators, the grant application was "ridiculously time-consuming. There was about six weeks' work involved in putting it all together, reading all the ESRC gumpf and so on. Reading around the subject is something you'd do anyway - but that's a lot of time if your application isn't going to be successful."