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Switching FB ETA to Research Grant Advice


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I was fortunate enough to receive a Fulbright ETA grant for '18-19 but am sort of second-guessing accepting it now that I just found out about the specific host university placements and also got accepted for grad school in the data analytics field that I'm planning to make a career switch to after Fulbright/next. The placements will be split between two smaller cities (4 months each) that don't have a ton of related business opportunities or are as known central IT hubs as some of the other larger cities in the country that I was hoping to be placed in. From my understanding of speaking to current ETAs there, the amount of time teaching is small (6-8 hours/week) so there's a lot of downtime to pursue other activities/projects/etc. Therefore, I was hoping to find local organizations/businesses to intern or work with to build and develop experience but the options are very limited to none in the two cities I've been placed in. Part of me is excited and thinks it will be a wonderful experience but the other part of me doesn't want go and take a year off from the real world (been working for about 2.5 years now) without developing professional experience or pursuing some sort of data analytics project/research that could be relevant and reinforce my resume/experience since teaching English might not help me as much for my future goals.

I was fully aware that when I applied the location of the affiliations were not in my control but now given everything that has happened since then and the slight shift if in my goals, I'm wondering if it's worth trying to see if the Fulbright commission there would be interested in letting me pursue and apply for a Research grant instead where I can choose the specific university myself that would be best for the type of projects/work I'd like to do. I know it's a longshot but I would be fully dedicated in speeding the process in terms of obtaining all the necessary grant pre-reqs/affiliation letters etc from the hosted university and they typically award less research grant than they make available since not many people apply in this particular country. In hindsight, I should have applied for a Research grant but I didn't know much about performing research, how to go about it or any good ideas at the time. What do you guys think? Do you think I have chance of switching to a research grant or should I just do the ETA? I feel like I'll get frustrated with the amount of free time I'll have in the smaller cities without any opportunity to continue my professional development and build those skills that I'm interested in for my career goals. Any other suggestions or ideas I perhaps didn't think of would be highly appreciated too!





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I've never heard of anyone being able to switch from ETA to a Research grant as there are different numbers of each award available and the application processes are different. Honestly, I wouldn't even ask at this point though I suppose you have little to lose while doing so. If you don't think you'll enjoy the ETA experience, decline it so that someone on the alternate list can go instead.

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I agree that it's likely impossible to switch-- the grants are just so different. I know in my placement country there are specific grants at specific universities for a specific number of researchers and then for ETAs there are a number of schools that provide funding to receive their own, so it's not as if the funding is available to be moved around. Other countries I know of have something similar (except sometimes the ETAs are funded by a government agency, but again, unrelated to university research placements). 

Furthermore, the amount of preparation that researchers put into their applications (selecting a university with the right program or research focus, identifying and reaching out to an advisor, revising their statements over and over in order to be selected as a candidate) indicates that someone else isn't just going to slide into a research role. If a role were even available for what you want in your country of choice, likely there is someone else who would have applied and the spot wouldn't be transferable. Obviously you won't know if you don't ask, but the idea that someone accepted as an ETA would be able to transfer to some research role (even if one did exist for your interests) just sounds so far-fetched. 

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