Fellowship schemes

The School welcomes applicants, internal and external, for fellowship schemes where they wish to be hosted here at Birmingham. Some of the schemes are detailed below.

Note some schemes are demand managed and an internal selection process is run to assist that.
For any of the calls it is expected that you will have identified an academic sponsor in the first instance.

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship – Deadline expected in September

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are intended for early career researchers who do not have a permanent academic position. Applications must fall within the remit of the STFC core Science Programme (astronomy, solar and planetary science, particle physics, particle astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear physics, accelerator science) and afford scope for original work.

STFC applies a quota system, with Birmingham having a quota of 5 applications for 2022. Internal selection takes place late July by the Head of School and Head of Groups. Candidates are required to submit a precis of their proposal and a two page CV.

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships

The Royal Society University Research Fellowship - Scheme currently closed

Please note the eligibility criteria of 3-8 years postdoctoral experience. You will need the support of both the Head of Group and Head of School to progress an application.

The Royal Society University Research Fellowship

UKRI Future leaders Fellowship - Scheme currently closed

We are still awaiting confirmation from UKRI that there will be another round of the Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) scheme. Details of the previous round are listed below:

The FLF scheme has the following objectives:

•    To develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK.
•    To foster new research and innovation career paths including those at the academic/business and interdisciplinary boundaries, and facilitate movement of people between sectors.
•    To provide sustained funding and resources for the best early career researchers and innovators.
•    To provide long-term, flexible funding to tackle difficult and novel challenges, and support adventurous, ambitious programmes.

The Fellowship:

•    Will support early career researchers and innovators (senior academics and innovators are not permitted to apply) to transition to or establish independence in any area supported by UKRI.
•    Applications exploring difficult challenges and those crossing disciplinary or sectoral boundaries are particularly encouraged.
•    Open to applicants from universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments.
•    Open to international applicants, applicants from diverse career paths, including those returning from a career break, and those wishing to work part-time.
•    Offers long-term support (4+3 years) with a review in year 4.
•    Applicants are expected to hold a doctorate by the start date of the FLF, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience.
•    No eligibility rules based on years since PhD, or whether the applicant currently holds a permanent/open-ended academic position or job role.
•    Applicants must have significant support from their hosting organisation(s) (see below).
•    Support for researchers, visiting researchers, technicians, travel and subsistence, training and development, and equipment, are all eligible costs.
•    Applications exceeding £1.5 million (at 80% FEC) in the first four years need to be discussed with UKRI office staff before submitting.

There are no restrictions on the number of applicants that a hosting organisation can submit. However, since hosting organisations need to be prepared to commit to the long-term potential of all fellows, applicants must have the support of the University. Given this, the expected competitiveness of the call, and the expectation on organisations to have a strategic approach to support candidates, there will be an internal selection process, which for Round 6 is as follows (note that all Colleges will be running similar processes):

•    Confirm Head of School support, and contact the Research Facilitator in your School for grant development support a.s.a.p. All supported applicants are expected to also work with an academic mentor, identified by the School, in the development of their proposals.
•    Completed, 1) 2 page CV, 2) 4 page Internal Outline Case for Support (templates for both required), and, 3) an outline cost (Excel or Word) to be sent to your EPS Research Development Manager, Iwona Spill (i.spill@bham.ac.uk) by 20th of September 2020.
•    College Panel selection: between 21st of September and 9th of October 2020.
•    Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer review of College shortlists and confirmation of University candidates invited to submit full proposals: by early November 2020.
•    Submission of outline proposals to UKRI: expected early January  2021
•    Deadline for submission of full applications: expected end January 2021

UKRI Future leaders Fellowship

UKRI Stephen Hawking Fellowship – Anticipated

The objectives of the scheme are:

  • To fund new high quality research and support the development and training of postdoctoral researchers in the field of theoretical physics.
  • To train and develop a cohort of postdoctoral researchers with the skills to continue a legacy of public engagement in the field of theoretical physics.

The fellowships will provide up to 4 years’ funding for postdoctoral fellows with a strong passion for curiosity driven science that seek to challenge current assumptions, advance scientific knowledge and inspire the public through their discoveries. The funding will support fellows to engage in training on public engagement and scientific communication to develop the skills to explain complex scientific ideas to wider audiences and with the aim of continuing Stephen Hawking’s work in bringing science into popular culture.

Eligible research areas

Cosmology, General relativity, Quantum gravity, Classical gravity, String theory, Statistical physics, Nuclear physics, Particle physics, Particle astrophysics, Theoretical astronomy, Theoretical plasma physics, Solar or planetary physics, Mathematical Physics, Condensed Matter physics, Theoretical quantum optics and information, Quantum fluids and solids, Cold atoms and molecules

Applicants must have a PhD. They must not have a permanent academic position.
“Applicants with a live application to UKRI would not be eligible to apply.”

Application process

We expect the next round of this scheme to be published soon. Previous calls followed a two-stage process with an outline stage before Christmas and invited full stage applications a few months later.

Currently Birmingham is limited to supporting a maximum of 10 candidates. If you are interested in applying through UoB, then please contact the relevant Head of Group. Details of the various research areas and groups within the School of Physics can be found through the School of Physics and Astronomy research page.

UKRI Stephen Hawking Fellowship