I'm an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow working in galaxy evolution and observational cosmology at the School of Physics and Astronomy in St Andrews. I did my undergraduate and PhD at Edinburgh, after which I moved to Portsmouth as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation for 5.5 years. I moved back to Scotland in March 2014 when I took up my current fellowship in St Andrews.
I remember that as I filled in the application form it became clearer and clearer in my mind that I didn’t have much of a hope in receiving the award. But the format of the application is actually quite useful, and similar to applications for other prizes in that it invites you to review significant achievements to date separately to the more typical research proposal. Aware that practice makes perfect, and frankly desperate for some extra research money, I carried on regardless (with, I remember it well, a sick child on my shoulder the whole time). I was delighted to be shortlisted and that boosted my confidence enormously. The interview day, at the Royal Society in London, was a lot of fun in spite of my initial reservations.