Physics and Astronomy Fellowships in Leicester

The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester welcomes applicants for independent research fellowships to be hosted here at the School.

We welcome enquires from internal and external candidates to join the team in the School of Physics and Astronomy, working to attract prestigious national fellowships for independent research. We can offer guidance on the application, proposal, and interview process, putting you in contact with previous successful candidates, groups connected to your proposed research, and our research services team (RED) to assist with grant submission.

Whilst individual scheme details and deadlines are subject to change, here we have compiled a non-exhaustive list of upcoming opportunities based on prior experience. The University subscribes to Research Professional, where you can sign up a regular alerts for opportunities. The UKRI also maintains a “Funding Finder” page.

  • STFC Ernest Rutherford: 5 years of external funding, supporting researchers across Physics and Astronomy. As STFC operate a quota system, we perform an internal triage of candidates (typically mid-August, details below). Deadline: September 16th 2021.

  • Royal Society University Research Fellowships: Fellowships are awarded for five years, but extensions may be awarded for three additional years. Applicants must hold a PhD and have three to eight years of research experience since obtaining their PhD. Career breaks are taken into account, please refer to the scheme notes for further details. There is no quota on the number of applicants from Leicester.  Deadline: September 7th 2021.

  • Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships: These enable early-career scientists who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstance to take the first step into an independent research career.  This is for applicants who are in the early stages of your research career having up to six years of research experience since your PhD by the closing date of the round. This does not include any career breaks or part-time working. Deadline: November 10th 2021.

  • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowships: Enable experienced researchers to complete a piece of research in any discipline. Approximately 120 fellowships, worth up to £60,000 each over a period of three to 24 months, are available. Foreseen deadline: November 12th 2021. See all Leverhulme Trust grants, including early-career fellowships, here.

  • Stephen Hawking Fellowships: These support postdoctoral researchers in the field of theoretical physics or fundamental mathematical and computer sciences that underpin them. Applicants must hold a PhD by the start date of the fellowship or have equivalent research experience. Up to 10 fellowships, tenable for up to four years, are available. There will be up to five annual calls until 2024. Foreseen deadline: November 18th 2021.

  • EPSRC Research Fellowships: These are for research projects within the remit of EPSRC. There are no eligibility rules about how many years of postdoctoral experience you need or whether you are currently in a permanent academic position. You can apply for up to five years of support for early career or established career awards. Foreseen deadline: December 2021.

  • UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF): Open to researchers and/or innovators with outstanding potential, who are transitioning to or establishing independence. Round 6 closed in February 2021.

  • Royal Astronomical Society Fellowships: Enables outstanding candidates to pursue research in the UK in the disciplines advanced by the RAS i.e. astronomy, solar system science, geophysics and closely related branches of these sciences. Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowships and the Norman Lockyer Fellowship will each be available every three years. Applications for RAS Fellowships will be sought in the years 2021, 2024 and 2027 and for the Norman Lockyer Fellowship in 2022, 2025 and 2028 (for fellowships starting in the following year). Foreseen deadlines ~October.
  • NERC Fellowships (Various): The NERC fellowship scheme provides opportunities for outstanding early-career environmental scientists to devote their time to producing research of international importance, developing their research careers and research groups, and developing into recognised science leaders.

Informal enquiries may be made to relevant members of Leicester’s research staff.  If you are unsure who to contact, please reach out to in the first instance.

Internal Triage Process (STFC)

STFC apply a quota system for the number of applications that can be submitted for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship (ERF).  We will follow the process below to ensure that we can select candidates of the highest quality.

  • Please submit an outline 1-page research/candidate-competency case plus your full CV to by 5pm on August 4th.  Use of the STFC CV template is mandatory.
  • What are we looking for? Evidence for excellent science from an excellent candidate, with a well written and convincing science case that can be understood by someone who isn’t in the same field as you.
  • In particular, your proposal and CV will be judged against the five categories in the STFC Competency Framework [PDF], extracted from the most recent call as a useful guide to what they’re looking for. Please ensure that your 1-page outline demonstrates these competencies directly.
  • Remember that the STFC panel may have only one person (or fewer!) with expertise in your area, so you must demonstrate the importance of your proposed project for a broad audience (primarily near-universe and extragalactic panels for Leicester applicants).
  • Assessment of the submissions by Head of School and the Heads of the relevant Research Groups by August 13th at 1pm.
  • Successful applicants to be informed by August 16th and confirmations required back from applicants no sooner than August 19th.
  • Full submission to STFC by 4pm on September 16th.  Submission to our research services team will be required 3-5 days in advance of the deadline.
  • If you have any queries about application limits or the Ernest Rutherford Fellowship scheme more generally, please contact

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