Global research talent drawn to Birmingham

Outstanding researchers from all over the world apply to the University as the first cycle of the Birmingham Fellowships programme receives an ‘astounding’ response.

Just under 1,400 applications flooded in from every continent, all hoping to secure a place on the programme which aims to recruit post-doctoral fellows of the very highest calibre into the University.

With interest from candidates everywhere from China and India to Iran, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more, the applications went beyond what had been hoped in terms of both number and quality.

‘The number of applications we received far exceeded our expectations,’ says Professor Adam Tickell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer. ‘The calibre of candidates was truly outstanding, and we have longlisted only the most exceptional – around 230 of the 1,400 applicants.’

The Fellowships programme will encompass approximately 50 posts from across the University’s disciplines, with particular focus on 24 priority research areas that reflect concentrations of excellence. Holding five-year appointments, the Fellows will have the time they need to engage in serious research and to establish themselves within the academic community at Birmingham, nationally and internationally. Uniquely, the positions will then lead to a permanent post for all Fellows who perform to agreed expectations.

Five Fellows have already been appointed through the scheme’s fast-track system, including Dr Ian McCarthy, a theoretical astronomer working on galaxy clusters; and Dr Zongbo Shi, an expert in atmospheric aerosol chemistry and global biogeochemical cycles.

Adam adds: ‘This first phase of recruitment has really raised Birmingham’s profile among the global academic community, with a lot of interest from other universities who would like to introduce something similar. It is excellent news that others are aspiring to a scheme like ours but, at this point, we are still the only UK university with a programme on this scale and covering this breadth of disciplines.

‘As well as attracting this world-leading talent to Birmingham, the University will benefit from additional research funding in the future as Fellows bring and attract grants.’

Find out more about Birmingham Fellowships or how to apply online. You can also make a gift to fund Fellowships by contacting Director of Fundraising Matt Mangan via