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The transition from early career researcher (ECR) towards becoming a principal investigator, is an important journey for researchers from all fields. The OATech+ Network identifies with the need to support the development of future leaders in OA research, and to promote the cultivation of cross disciplinary skills sets. To facilitate this process, the Network has appointed a dedicated theme leader to oversee ECR development. This web page has been established to direct ECRs to opportunities available across the Network Partners, and to other opportunities in the field of OA research. These include: Mentoring, internships, fellowships, training courses, funded PhDs and awards.


Theme leader

Prof Jim Richards


Current opportunities including funded work placements 

About OATech+ Network work placements The OATech+ network is offering work placements, which allow discipline hopping opportunities for ECRs students involved in studies associated with OA. ECRs can work in any of the participating Universities and Industrial OATech+ partners. If you are interested in having a work placement, you should first ask for the terms to be agreed in writing beforehand with the sending and host OATech+ partner. This grant contributes towards accommodation/fees up to £3,000 for a period of between 1 week to 3 months, and can be applied for at any time in the year. Applications are made to OATech+ by emailing These need to include:

A letter showing the agreed terms with the OATech+ partner, which should include length of placement and any additional costs.

A completed form stating the reasons why you would like this opportunity.

See this link for the application form also attached below. 

Please use the expertise database to explore individuals and subject areas, also linked below.

All Network Partners are invited to offer their expertise e.g. as mentors, and, to convey relevant opportunities. There is also a newly established working group which has been set up to help guide OATech+ Network opportunities for ECRs and researchers at other career stages. The group has representatives at all career levels, and more information relating to meetings and other events will follow.


Network Opportunities

The Network has begun the process of developing an expertise database. This database also indicates Network Partners who can offer mentoring and work placements.

Access the expertise and mentoring database


ECR / Student Network List

Alongside the OATech+ Network Partner membership list, we are building up a member list of ECRs and PhD students working in this field. By adding yourself to this list you will be the first to know about relevant opportunities. To make the most of this great opportunity please email Cathy Holt or Rebecca Hamilton with your details.


December 2018. A funded placement award was made to Jake Bowd. Jake undertook a month-long work placement at KU Leuven in the Summer of 2019 a link to his news blog available here and link to his report below and paper publication from work completed on his placement here.

March 2019. An award was made to Eva Herbst. Eva undertook a placement with Prof Andrew Pitsillides at RVC starting in October 2019, link to her report below. This follows on from work on Pump Priming Project no. 10 with their research method recently published. 

May 2019. Alex Sehgal was awarded a funded placement with Prof Cathy Holt, Cardiff University, which was undertaken in May-June 2019.

August 2020. Humaira Mahmood was awarded a funded placement with Prof Prof Andrew Pitsillides, RVC and Prof Philip Rowe, University of Strathclyde. This was undertaken in August – September 2021 and link to her report below.

November 2021. Sumetha Kumar was awarded a placement with Dr Mark Elliott, University of Warwick, this was undertaken between November 2021-January 2022 with the link to her report below.


ECR Produced Research 

Dr Humaira Mahmood who completed her ECR placement at the University of Strathclyde and previously completed her PhD at the University of Birmingham. This resulted in several publications investigating articular cartilage looking at surface damage, frictional torque and coefficient of friction assessment (links to published papers attached).

Dr Eva Herbst who completed her ECR placement at RVC has made a tutorial video and guide for the trabecular segmentation work she completed and continues to develop, available to access on her github website. The image of segmented trabeculae has also been selected by the Royal Society Open Science for their cover issue following their paper publication in the journal.


development opportunities

January 2020. Dr David Lunn, a research fellow from the University of Leeds, gives his feedback on his opportunity to attend a modelathon in this report. 

November 2018. Dr Ben Sherlock secured funding to visit Prof. Gordon Wallace, University of Wollongong, Australia. Ben undertook his visit in February 2019. Click on the link to read Ben’s report.


Other Opportunities

Links are provided below for ECR fellowship and grant opportunities including UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship, EPSRC Skills Fellowship, EPSRC New Investigator Award, BORS Fellowship, Verses Arthritis Grants, OARSI Scholarship Awards, etc.