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). Applicants who have applied for the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships can also apply for an ERF but cannot hold two fellowships that fund their working time simultaneously. Deadline: September 2023?
- 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 2023?.
- 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 2023?
- Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships: Although primarily targeted at engineers, this may be of interest for Physics and Astronomy. There is a limit on the number of applications each host institution can submit, please contact Stephen Ison by 19th August to register your interest. Deadline: September 2023?
- UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships: Scheme for early career researchers and innovators who are either looking to establish or transition to independence, or developing their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting. There are no eligibility rules based on the number of years since your PhD, but there is a cap on the number of individuals that can be submitted via the University of Leicester. To be considered as one of the University of Leicester applicants, we require an internal application to be submitted by midday on 30th March, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be reviewed by an internal panel chaired by Prof. Richard Thomas, DPVC Research & Enterprise and Dean of Doctoral College. Applicants who have applied for the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships can also apply for an ERF but cannot hold two fellowships that fund their working time simultaneously. Deadline for 8th round: July 4th 2023.
- 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-December 2022. 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. The programme has switched from annual calls to an open, rolling call for applications. Applicants are able to apply for both Ernest Rutherford Fellowship and Stephen Hawking Fellowship schemes if applicable to their research and career stage. However, the project must not be duplicated, with substantial differences between the two applications. Deadline: March 30th 2023, end of the open call.
- 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 2023?
- 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). Deadline October 2023.
- 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.
- ESA Climate Change Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowships: Early-career researchers are invited to submit project proposals to the 2022 CCI fellowship call to implement leading-edge research that contributes to the aim of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) programme. Please let us know if you intend to submit to this call, and we can ensure sufficient mentoring/peer support is in place. The deadline is Jan 31st 2023.
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.
- The ERF 2022 call will open on July 1st 2022, with full details available on the UKRI Funding finder webpage.
- Please submit  an outline 1-page research/candidate-competency case plus  your full narrative CV to email@example.com by 5pm on August 2nd. Use of the STFC Narrative CV template is mandatory, no other form of CV will be considered.
- 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). There are effectively three astronomy panels: Near Universe – Exoplanets & Solar System; Near Universe; and Extragalactic – Leicester has expertise in all three.
- Assessment of the submissions by Head of School and the Heads of the relevant Research Groups by August 12th.
- Successful applicants to be informed as soon as possible after August 12th and confirmations required back from applicants no sooner than August 16th.
- Full submission to STFC by 4pm on September 13th. Submission to our research services team will be required 5 days in advance of the deadline, on September 8th.
- If you have any queries about application limits or the Ernest Rutherford Fellowship scheme more generally, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.