In conversation Professor Laura Bishop
Laura is Professor of Hominid Paleoecology at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). Laura has an international background, having started her academic career at Yale University and New York University (NYU). While at NYU the opportunity arose to continue post-doctoral training in Britain thanks to a Leverhulme Trust award and since then, Laura has been based in the UK.
Her current research explores the environmental contexts of the evolution of human behaviour in Africa. She focuses on the interpretation of the dynamic aspects of hominin evolution, particularly behaviour and ecology. At LJMU Laura is a co-director of the Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology (opens in new window). She is based in the School of Natural Sciences & Psychology; however her research area is an interface of humanities and science, straddling the boundaries of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the AHRC.
Being a Peer Reviewer
Laura became a member of the AHRC’s Peer Review College in April 2012 and took part in an Induction Day in June 2012.
Talking about the Induction Day Laura said:
The mock panel session was particularly beneficial. It was a supportive environment and gave us participants an opportunity to develop an understanding of the process that grant proposals go through. Laura is certain that the training and the understanding she gained will be of future benefit not only to her as a reviewer but also to her institution. She hopes to have the opportunity to feedback from her experience and learning as a peer reviewer internally at Liverpool John Moores University, with a view to improving grant applications from the institution. Laura also commented:
I really enjoyed the networking opportunities that the Induction Day provided as I had the chance to meet academics from outside my research area, which is quite a small community in the UK.
Since her membership began she has been invited to submit a number of peer reviews. Working in a niche research area Laura had an initial concern that the Principal Investigator might be able to work out who carried out the review. But so far Laura has enjoyed the experience, with some initial thoughts around how an institution can nurture a proposal, giving it the best possible chance of success in gaining funding. Laura also thought that
…a mentorship arrangement, looking at proposals together might be a good idea to support a new College member by placing them with an existing member. All in all Laura is looking forward to contributing to the development of the field in her role as an AHRC Peer Review College member.