Stephen Hawking Fellowships

The Stephen Hawking fellowships will support and develop the next generation of visionary scientists in theoretical physics at the beginning of their career. UKRI are providing funding for five annual calls delivered jointly by EPSRC and STFC. Round one is now open and intentions to submit must be received by 20th June 2019.

In recognition of Stephen Hawking’s exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and popularisation of science, UK Research and Innovation will support and develop the next generation of visionary scientists in theoretical physics and areas of mathematics and computer sciences which underpin and contribute to the development of theoretical physics at the beginning of their careers through this new funding opportunity. Up to £15 million will be available for up to five annual calls for these fellowships, between 2019 and 2024 with each call to looking fund up to 10 fellowships.

The fellowships will provide up to 4 years’ funding for 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.

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 a cohort of researchers with the skills to continue a legacy of public engagement in the field of theoretical physics.

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Professor Sir Mark Walport said:

“Professor Hawking combined a fierce desire for knowledge with a rare ability for communicating both the wonder of our universe and the value in understanding it. The Stephen Hawking Fellowship will continue his legacy by supporting a new generation of scientists too push the boundaries of knowledge and inspire the public with their discoveries.”

For Applicants

Research Scope

The Stephen Hawking Fellowship scheme will be delivered jointly by EPSRC and STFC. For the first round, proposals are welcomed from all areas of theoretical physics and areas of mathematics and computer sciences which underpin and contribute to the development of theoretical physics. In future calls for Stephen Hawking Prize Fellowships, the research scope may be evolved to reflect emerging trends and funding in the area of theoretical physics.

The scope of the fellowships extends beyond Stephen Hawking’s active areas of research such as cosmology, general relativity and quantum gravity and UKRI wish to invite other aspects of theoretical physics such as classical gravity, string theory, statistical physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, particle astrophysics, theoretical astronomy, solar and planetary physics. Proposals are also welcome from across the fundamental mathematical and computer sciences where the applicant can demonstrate that the research will underpin these approaches and can directly build capability in the area of theoretical physics, such as quantum computing.

Who can apply?

This scheme aims to support excellent researchers who will make significant contributions to the field of theoretical physics and continue to spark public interest in the field. Applicants must demonstrate within their application how the Stephen Hawking Prize Fellowship will support and enable their research agenda, develop their skills in public engagement and science communication, and clearly demonstrate that their skills and experience at the time of application match those outlined in the person specification.

The scheme welcomes proposals from both UK and international applicants and those from diverse career paths, including those returning from a career break or following time in other roles. We also encourage applications from those wishing to work part-time in order to combine the fellowship with personal responsibilities. Review panels will take into account time spent outside an active research or innovation environment, whether through career breaks, flexible working or as a consequence of working in other roles.

Further information on eligibility and the person specification for this call can be found in the Overview of scheme document (PDF, 277KB).

Equality Impact Assessment

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed to promoting equality and participation in all their activities, whether this is related to the work we do with our external stakeholders or whether this is related to our responsibilities as an employer. When developing a new scheme, or considering changes to an existing one, UKRI will carry out an equality impact assessment to review how it may affect particular groups or individuals and will take the findings into account.

A copy of the Equality Impact Assessment (PDF, 326KB) for this activity is available as part of the call documentation.

How to apply

Up to £15 million will be available for five annual calls for these fellowships, between 2019 and 2024 with each call to looking fund up to 10 fellowships. The assessment process for the Stephen Hawking Fellowships will follow three stages, an Intent to Submit, independent review of Full Proposals and an Interview Stage.

Applicants must seek support from the proposed UK host organisation (where you will be primarily based) before the intention to submit is submitted. Intentions to submit will be submitted by an online form, for full proposals, applications should be submitted through the Joint Electronic submission system (JeS). Please note that you will need to register with JeS prior to creating your proposal.

Applying to Round One

Intentions to submit must be submitted via the online form by 16:00 on 20th June 2019.

Key dates for Round one are:

Stage

Date

Intent to submit opens

w/c 27 May 2019

Deadline for Intention to submit

20 June 2019

Deadline for full proposals closes

24 July 2019

Prioritisation panel

w/c 13 January 2020

Interview Panel

w/c 24 February 2020

Funding decision

April 2020

Grant start date

1 October 2020

Resources

Call documentation:

Templates

Further information

For further information related to the Stephen Hawking Fellowship please contact: EPSRC fellowship inbox: