The journey through research and academia may not always be straightforward.

Whether you’re writing a PhD dissertation, carrying out post-doctoral projects, or assembling your own research group, it can sometimes feel like you’re in uncharted territory without a guide.

Hi, I’m Elaine.

I launched Academic Smartcuts to help smooth the way and make things a little easier for students, researchers, and academics, using the experience I gained throughout the twists and turns of my own travels in academia.

Whatever stage you’re at in your academic journey, writing is likely to be found at the heart of it. If you need a fresh pair eyes, a helping hand, or a sounding board, please get in touch.

As a PhD student who straddled the departments of archaeology and computer science, I investigated how today’s technology could be used to better tell the story of the past.

This impressed upon me the importance of listening to the audience and constructing a clear narrative to meet their needs. I love working with clients to help them achieve this with their own work, whether it’s a journal paper, grant proposal, or dissertation.

I have always had an eye for detail and have been known to proofread menus at restaurants. This is a skill I enhanced further by working as a proofreader and copy editor for three volumes of the Annual of the British School at Athens.

The original name of my  business—Blue Eagle Academic Services—came about because I provided a fresh pair of eyes to ensure that academic documents were crystal clear and error-free. Although the name has changed, proofreading and editing remain one of the key services I offer.  

While serving as the Robotics portfolio manager and a panel convenor at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), I had the opportunity to see the funding process from the inside.

This experience led to the creation of the Demystifying EPSRC Peer Review course and working with universities across the UK to bust some of the most-common myths surrounding the funding process.

Rounding up stray commas, calming errant verb tenses, and sifting through style guides is only part of what I do!

Beyond Academic Smartcuts, I also run the MissElaineous Blog to share my life as an American in the UK, publishing with outlets ranging from The Professional Travel Planner to Discover Britain magazine. If you are interested in seeing the less academic side of my writing—or just exploring a different side of the UK—pop by and pour yourself a cuppa.

While the MissElaineous website showcases the beauty of the UK, my environmental advocacy deals with the rubbish side of the country, quite literally. I started Off the Ground in 2015 to highlight the problem of litter within my community, and this has grown to take a national perspective, with a blog that explores the necessity of behaviour change … with the occasional tongue-in-cheek post!

Related to this, Reduce Your Wasteline is just getting up and running, and it focuses on the little steps we can all take to cut back on plastic and other waste products. Questions or comments about any of these activities? Please get in touch.