Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Ernest Rutherford Fellowship 2024

Start application

Apply for an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship (ERF) to work on an independent research project. Projects must be within the remit of STFC’s core science programme.

You must:

  • be an early career researcher
  • hold a PhD qualification or have relevant experience and clear leadership potential
  • be hosted by an eligible UK research organisation with a STFC ERF quota

You must not hold a tenured academic post or academic position at lecturer level.

We will fund your proposal at 80% of its full economic cost. The host research organisation must agree to find the rest.

The fellowship will last up to five years.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are intended for early career researchers who do not hold a tenured academic position at lecturer level. You are not eligible if you currently hold an academic position at lecturer level or the equivalent in institutions other than universities. If you secure an academic position at lecturer level prior to the offer of a fellowship, you will be ineligible to hold the fellowship.

You must hold a PhD or have relevant experience at the time of applying for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship.

Years of experience

STFC does not define eligibility for Ernest Rutherford fellowships in terms of a minimum number of years of experience. Instead, you should read the assessment criteria to determine if you have the skills, knowledge and experience to apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship.

You must hold a PhD or have relevant experience at the time of applying for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship.

Eligible institutions

Fellowships may be held at an eligible UK research organisation with an STFC ERF quota.

ERF departmental quota

You are advised to contact your proposed host department as early as possible and certainly well ahead of the deadline for submission of applications. Departments may have internal processes to select which candidates to support and the deadlines for these may be several weeks in advance of the STFC closing date. Departments should not expect you to accept an offer to be hosted before 17 July 2024.

STFC sets a strict limit on the number of applications that each department may submit. Therefore, it may not be possible for a host to support all interested applicants.

See the list of departments, contacts and internal deadlines (PDF, 217KB).

Any departments who exceed their limit will be required to withdraw the excess applications. It is therefore very important that you seek assurance from your proposed host department that your application can be accommodated within its limit.

Fellowship applications associated with the Cockcroft or John Adams Institutes are made through the relevant partner institution but are counted against the Cockcroft or John Adams Institute limits and should be flagged in their application.

Fellowship applications associated with the UK Astronomy Technology Centre are counted against the University of Edinburgh School of Physics and Astronomy limit.

Inclusive selection process

Host organisations must provide a statement describing the inclusive process they have used to select their chosen candidates by completing an online survey by 1 October 2024. Submission of the ED&I statement is mandatory for departments submitting an ERF application.

The intention of this survey is to better understand the process by which departments are selecting candidates and to identify examples of best practice. The statement should describe the process used to identify potential candidates. It should not include personal details of potential candidates nor any details that may enable them to be identified.

Applications submitted by host organisations will be assessed by the STFC Education, Training and Careers Committee.

A list of the questions that will be on the survey can also be found in the Additional information section.

Choice of organisation

You should ensure you discuss with your prospective research organisation the opportunities and support they are offering should your application be successful.

Resubmissions

You can apply to the 2024 fellowship round if you were previously unsuccessful with the same, modified or a different fellowship application providing that you still meet the eligibility criteria. If you are resubmitting the same project, you should ensure that any feedback previously given by the panel has been addressed. STFC reserve the right to reject an application if the panel’s comments have not been addressed.

Unsuccessful research grant applications submitted to other schemes are not eligible to be resubmitted to the STFC Fellowship scheme unless the work proposed is substantially different in terms of objectives or work to be carried out.

Please note the UKRI submission policy is under review and STFC may not accept uninvited resubmissions in future opportunities.

Who is not eligible to apply

You are not eligible to apply if you hold a tenured academic post or academic position at lecturer level. If you secure an academic position at lecturer level prior to the offer of a fellowship, you will be ineligible to hold the fellowship.

Other funding

You should not be in receipt of duplicate funding for the same or similar proposal from more than one funding agency. Details of similar proposals that have been submitted to other funding agencies must be added in the ‘Other funding support’ section of the application. You must advise STFC if a successful funding decision is made by the other funding agency.

Applicants who have applied for the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships can also apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship but cannot hold two fellowships which fund their working time simultaneously.

Applicants who have a current application for the UK Research and Innovation Stephen Hawking Fellowships where a funding decision hasn’t been made cannot apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship.

International applicants

Fellowships are open to applicants of any nationality. Where applicable, you will need to comply with Department of Employment requirements and hold a work permit prior to taking up the Fellowship. Work permits are a matter for direct negotiation between the institution, the Department of Employment and the Home Office.

All successful applicants who require a visa to work in the UK will be eligible to be considered under the Global Talent visa route.

In line with the highly prestigious nature of the award, this visa route is designed for people who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts and enables the holder to be both adaptable and flexible during their research in the UK.

The grant of any visa is always subject to the standard Home Office general grounds for refusal of a visa. UKRI is able to provide additional guidance regarding the appropriate evidence required to complete the visa application process under the Global Talent visa route.

Applications are welcome from candidates who intend to use the fellowship as a means of re‐establishing themselves in the UK following a period overseas.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

Applications are welcome from those seeking to resume a research career, following a period of absence from active research of, normally, at least one year. The break may have been due, for example, to long term illness, injury or disability, family or caring responsibilities, parental leave, personal reasons, working in non‐academic employment.

If this applies to you then you could consider applying for the STFC Return to research support bursary.

You should make clear any substantive periods of absence from research within your application. This can be included in the Applicant capability to deliver section under ‘Additions’. Further details on the nature of the absence and how it has affected track record, productivity and career progression may be provided if desired. Information provided will be used only to make appropriate adjustments when assessing an individual’s track record, productivity, and career progression.

Full or part-time

Fellowships can be held either on a full‐time or a part‐time basis by applicants wishing to combine their fellowship with caring responsibilities.

A part‐time award can be held at 50% or above of full‐time equivalent. A part‐time fellow may not hold another part‐time position in conjunction with the fellowship. The period of award for fellowships held on a part‐time basis will be extended on a pro rata basis.

What we're looking for

Scope

STFC is offering up to 10 Ernest Rutherford Fellowships to outstanding researchers at an early stage of their career. The aim is to support future scientific leaders to establish a strong, independent research programme.

The project must afford scope for original work and align to STFC strategic objectives and core business activities:

  • accelerator physics
  • astronomy
  • cosmology
  • nuclear physics
  • solar and planetary science
  • particle astrophysics
  • particle physics

If you are unsure if your research falls under STFC’s remit, please email fellowships (fellowships@stfc.ukri.org) ahead of the application process.

The role of the fellow will be to undertake their own research programme.

Duration

The duration of this award is five years.

Projects must start by 31 March 2026.

Funding available

Fellowship applications are costed on the basis of full economic cost (FEC). If a fellowship is awarded, STFC will provide funding at 80% of the FEC requested.

The host institution must agree to fund the balance of FEC for the proposal from other resources. Universities and other higher education organisations use the transparent approach to costing (TRAC) methodology to calculate FEC.

For further information about FEC, see the STFC guidance for applicants.

What we will fund

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships provide funds to cover your salary, the costs of personal travel and some minor equipment costs. These will have been awarded under the Directly Incurred Costs heading. Fellows who have returned from a career break may also use funds applied for retraining and updating their skills where this has been justified in the context of the proposed research project.

You may request costs associated with reasonable adjustments where they increase as a direct result of working on the project however, your host organisation must provide funding for any costs associated with reasonable adjustment as part of your employment.

Salary

Your salary will have been agreed with your proposed host institution prior to submitting an application. The agreed salary should be in accordance with the institution’s standard recruitment and employment practices. The appointment level on the institution’s salary scale should be justified in the application. The salary costs requested should include employer’s national insurance and superannuation contributions.

Salary increments over the period of the fellowship should be taken into account, but not anticipated future pay awards. STFC will award funds on the basis of the agreed salary scales at the time of announcement, with provision for future years increase on the basis of standard UKRI indexation rates. Once announced the grant will not normally be increased to take account of different indexation rates.

Travel

Personal travel is taken to include necessary collaborative visits and fieldwork, and attendance at one conference workshop or symposium during each year of the fellowship. This excludes fieldwork and visits that form part of the work of a research group with which you may be associated.

If you are associated with an STFC research grant, you must ensure that any travel connected with the research project for which the grant was given is claimed from that source.

You should estimate in your application all personal travel and subsistence funds required during the lifetime of the fellowship. Travel and subsistence costs are expected to be around £2,200 each year. If there are exceptional circumstances for applying for additional funding in excess of the guidance levels. Please give justification in your application.

Other costs

Applicants may request minor equipment and consumables up to a total of £5,000 for the duration of the fellowship under ‘Directly incurred other costs’.

At the end of the fellowship, any resources purchased will belong to the institution. If there are exceptional reasons for applying for more than the guideline level, then justification of these costs should be included in your application.

STFC do not fund mentoring time and this cost should not be included in the funding costs. Laptops may be costed where a new member of staff (for example, a fellow) who is employed purely for the grant will require this, or where a higher specification is required for the completion of specific grant related activities such as data modelling or enhanced graphics.

These costs should be applied for under ‘Directly incurred other costs’.

Relocation and visas

Applicants moving to the UK from overseas to take up an award may request relocation and visa costs including Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and Certificate of Sponsorship.

These costs should be applied for under the ‘Directly incurred other costs’ heading on the proforma and are in addition to the £5,000 under ‘Other costs’.

STFC will award relocation costs up to a maximum of £1,200 if moving from Europe or £3,000 if moving from outside of Europe.

Directly incurred costs

Costs that are explicitly identifiable as arising from the conduct of a project are charged as the cash value actually spent and are supported by an auditable record. Ernest Rutherford Fellowships provide funds to cover your salary, the costs of personal travel and some minor equipment costs.

These should be requested under the ‘Directly incurred costs’ heading. Applicants who are returning from a career break may also apply for funds for retraining and updating their skills where this can be justified in the context of the proposed research project.

Directly allocated costs

Estates costs include building and premises costs, basic services and utilities and appear under the ‘Directly allocated costs’ heading. Estates costs are calculated by the research organisation on application.

Pooled technician costs can also be claimed under ‘Other directly allocated’ costs.

Indirect costs

Indirect costs include the costs of administration, such as personnel, finance, library and some departmental services. Like estate costs, indirect costs will be calculated by the research organisation and a single figure will be entered on the application.
Read about funding available in the STFC guidance for applicants.

What we will not fund

STFC will not provide funding in research grants for any publication costs associated with peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) provides direct funding to research organisations for this purpose. Fellows that were awarded publication costs associated with research outputs other than journal articles and conference papers, such as books, monographs, critical editions, catalogues and so on may, however, claim these as a ‘Directly incurred other cost’.

The Ernest Rutherford Fellowship is for an independent research project. You cannot apply for costs to fund PDRAs or PhD students.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

UKRI is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I Principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks.

See further guidance and information about TR&I – including where you can find additional support.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service so please ensure that your organisation is registered. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The fellow is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the fellow.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service. We strongly suggest that if you are asking UKRI to add your organisation to the Funding Service to enable you to apply to this funding opportunity, you also create an organisation Administration Account. This will be needed to allow the acceptance and management of any grant that might be offered to you.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You should:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • ensure files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

References

Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. You should use your discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors, for example (Smith, Research Paper, 2019).

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Deadline

STFC must receive your application by 1 October 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

STFC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

STFC UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at STFC Board and panel outcomes.

If your application is successful, some personal information will be published via the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • fellow

Only list one individual as fellow.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions

Classification of proposal

Word limit: 10

Please select one of the following classifications that are the closest match to your proposal for peer review purpose:

  • accelerator physics
  • astronomy extragalactic
  • astronomy near universe
  • astronomy near universe exoplanet / solar
  • nuclear physics
  • particle astrophysics and cosmology
  • particle physics experiment
  • particle physics theory

Year of PhD award and research organisation

Word limit: 10

Please provide the year you were awarded your PhD and the research organisation.

Years postdoctoral experience

Word limit: 1

Please add the number of years postdoctoral experience you will have on 1 September 2025.

Please add whole numbers only and round up or down as appropriate.

Posts held since PhD

Word limit: 200

Please detail the positions held and the organisations you worked at since your PhD.

Vision and Approach

Create a document that includes your response to the vision and approach. The document should not be more than six sides of A4, single-spaced in 11-point Arial (or equivalent sans serif font) with margins of at least 2 cm. You may include images, graphs and tables.

References may be included within this section.

See file upload guidance details. In the textbox enter ‘attachment provided’.

Vision – What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area of its focus
  • is timely, given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

In the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be
  • have a clear and distinctive strategic vision for your own research in the context of the broad research area within which you work, including internationally
  • describe how your research plans fit into an international context
  • show the importance and alignment of the project to the STFC programme

Approach – How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how you will manage them
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how you will build on and progress this work (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • you may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the proposed work
  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan, including milestones and timelines in the form of a chart or diagram
  • describe how the planned programme of research shows potential to significantly advance the field with the appropriate balance of risk versus reward
  • detail a project that is feasible within the period of the fellowship demonstrating a rigorous approach to reach achievable goals

Applicant capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

Why are you the right individual to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to make best use of the benefits presented by this funding opportunity to develop your career
  • the right balance of skills and aptitude to deliver the proposed work
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community
  • the appropriate team working or leadership skills (appropriate to career stage)

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

The word count for this section is 1,650 words, 1,150 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work. You can include specific achievements and choose past contributions that best evidence your ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the following R4RI module headings. You should use each heading once, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills you bring:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge:
    • have a track record of ambitious, innovative and novel research in their area which demonstrates an upward trajectory
    • substantial contributions to high quality outputs appropriate to their field, for example publications, software, hardware infrastructure, technical reports or instrumentation
    • received external recognition of research excellence with high profile invitations to seminar or conferences to present their research
    • received recognition through prizes and awards
    • have clear plans to establish their own research profile that will enable them to become an intellectual independent research leader and if applicable establish their own research team
    • demonstrate potential to lead research, for example by initiating collaborations with teams in other departments either nationally or internationally, research organisations or other disciplines
    • evidence of independence and initiative in obtaining funding
    • beginning to demonstrate evidence of recognition and prominent leadership positions in the community on an international scale through mechanisms appropriate to their discipline
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships:
    • show an ability to identify and maximise potential in others. For example, through the day to day support and development of graduate and undergraduate students or early career researchers, providing career support or by actively networking or coordinating the work of others
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community:
    • evidence of engagement that is integral to their own research community, for example, running a journal club, hackathons. Have effective communication and interpersonal skills across the wider research community, for example presentations at conferences, workshops
    • show an understanding and have clear plans of how to influence their research field and awareness of ways to influence the wider research agenda. For example, through experience of participation in peer review, participation in internal committees, acting as an ambassador or advocate for a research field or theme, or influencing policy, or organisation roles in research workshops
  • contributions to broader research or innovation, users and audiences, and towards wider societal benefit:
    • provide a credible plan for how research outcomes will be communicated and disseminated to achieve the maximum impact within the research community, building on previous experience and track record

Additions: Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

You should complete this section as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

Career development

Word limit: 1,000

Why is this fellowship the right way to develop your career and how will you use it to benefit others?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure that you have identified:

  • career development goals appropriate to the fellowship funding opportunity
  • how the fellowship will provide a feasible and appropriate trajectory for your personal development and to achieve your stated career development goals (as appropriate to your career stage and field)
  • how you will instigate positive change in the wider research and innovation community, for example through Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), advocacy or advisory roles, stakeholder engagement, participation in peer review, influencing policy, public engagement, or outreach

Within the Career development section we also expect you to describe:

  • how you will ensure continued research and professional development in those you will be managing on the project, to have a positive research and innovation experience, with opportunities or support to progress their own careers (useful links Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and Technician Commitment)
  • how the proposed work will provide a feasible and appropriate trajectory for you to acquire additional skills, like research, leadership, communication and management
  • what mentoring arrangements are proposed and how they are appropriate to you
  • a credible plan to communicate and disseminate the impact of the research outside of the community, across different audiences, building on previous experience and track record, for example through collaboration with private, public or third sector bodies, publications for a non-academic audience, social media or public engagement activities

List of directly relevant publications/outputs

Word limit: 500

Please provide a list of directly relevant publications and research outputs by year.

List directly relevant research publications and outputs that have been submitted.

You can also list preprints but please make clear those still in progress.

Your list of publications should not include presentations.

Host organisation support

Word limit: 1,000

How will the host organisation support your fellowship?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a support statement including:

  • evidence detailing how the host will support you, as appropriate for your career development and the vision and approach of the fellowship
  • who you have engaged with in your host organisation (name and role)
  • how your research environment will contribute to the success of the work, in terms of suitability of the host organisation and strategic relevance to the project
  • how the host organisation will ensure your time commitment to the fellowship is protected
  • what development and training opportunities will be provided and how they form a cohesive career development package tailored to your aims and aspirations
  • what financial or practical support, such as access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment, is being provided and how this strengthens your application

Within the Host organisation support section we also expect you to attach a letter from the head of the proposed host research group with evidence of their support.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Other funding support

Word limit: 200

Please give us details of support sought or received from any other source for this or other research in the same field.

If you are seeking or have received support for this or other research, please provide the following information:

  • awarding institution
  • awarding organisation’s reference
  • title of project
  • decision made yes or no
  • award made yes or no
  • start date
  • end date
  • amount sought or awarded (£)

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work?

If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

If you are collecting or using data you should identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data (including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further reuse of data)
  • formal information standards that your proposed work will comply with

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) relating to research involving:

  • animals

Research involving the use of animals

Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 700

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14. Ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement.

If your application proposes animal research to be conducted overseas, you must provide a statement in the text box. Depending on the species involved, you may also need to upload a completed template for each species listed.

Statement

Provide a statement to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place
Templates

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications. Provide the required information by completing the template from the question ‘Research involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save your completed template as a PDF and upload to the Funding service. If you use more than one checklist template, save it as a single PDF.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

If conducting research with animals overseas does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Intellectual property (IP) management and communication

Word limit: 500

What is your IP exploitation plan?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of your plans to:

  • manage the outputs of the project, including any intellectual assets and intellectual property
  • have freedom to operate
  • protect the foreground IP or market position
  • disseminate and communicate the outputs of your project
  • access potential future investments, if required

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan that clearly details how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

Word limit: 200

Does the proposed work involve international collaboration in a sensitive research or technology area?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate how your proposed international collaboration relates to Trusted Research and Innovation, including:

  • list the countries your international project co-leads, project partners and visiting researchers, or other collaborators are based in
  • if international collaboration is involved, explain whether this project is relevant to one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act
  • if one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act are involved list the areas
  • is this application part of an experiment at an international facility? If yes, please indicate which facility

If your proposed work does not involve international collaboration, answer ‘n/a’ here.

We may ask you to provide additional information about how your proposed project will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help manage these risks.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite peers to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

We are monitoring the requirement for applicant-nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new Funding Service.

Applicant response

You will be invited to comment on any reviewer comments. You will receive 10 days from invitation to submit your response.

Panel

Following peer review, we will invite experts to use the evidence provided by reviewers and your applicant response to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

Interview

For shortlisted applications, an expert interview panel will conduct interviews with applicants after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

We expect interviews to be held during April/May 2025.

STFC will make the final funding decision.

Feedback

In addition to reviewer comments you will receive short panel feedback.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • Vision
  • Approach
  • Applicant capability to deliver
  • Career development
  • Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact fellowships@stfc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email fellowships@stfc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Background

STFC fellowships are governed by the grant conditions as set out in the research grants guidance for applicants, unless otherwise stated.

Applications are accepted and awards are made on the understanding that research organisations and fellows agree to observe the terms and conditions and the scheme requirements set out in this guidance and any amendments issued during the currency of the award.

STFC intends its scheme to be flexible and reserves the right to deal as it thinks fit with applications of unusual character and to waive any rule at its absolute discretion.
For further information, you should refer to:

UKRI FEC grant standard terms and conditions of grant

UKRI FEC grants standard terms and conditions of grant guidance

Research organisations must appoint research fellow employees for the full duration of the award and integrate the research fellow within the research activities of the host department, while ensuring that they are able to maintain independence and focus on their personal research programme.

Awards are made on the understanding that the fellow’s work and progress are subject to the same monitoring and appraisal procedures as those of other academic staff within the host institution, and that there are adequate facilities at the host institution for the research proposed.

See the terms and conditions guidance for Ernest Rutherford Fellowships.

Additional disability and accessibility adjustments

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) can offer disability and accessibility support for UKRI applicants and grant holders during the application and assessment process if required.

Global Talent visa

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellows are eligible for a Global Talent visa under the ‘exceptional promise’ category for future research leaders.

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting links

ERF departmental quota limits, contacts and internal deadlines (PDF, 217KB)

ERF ED&I host department statement questions (DOCX, 79.4KB)

ERF equality impact assessment

Updates

  • 11 June 2024
    Departmental quota limits, contacts and internal deadlines document updated in the 'Who can apply' and 'Additional info' sections.
  • 31 May 2024
    Correct dates added in Timeline section.
  • 23 May 2024
    Departmental quota limits, contacts and internal deadlines document updated in the 'Who can apply' and 'Additional info' sections.

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.