Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: ESRC postdoctoral fellowships

Apply for a postdoctoral fellowship to develop:

  • publications
  • networks
  • research skills
  • professional skills

You must:

  • have completed your PhD at a UK research organisation
  • have less than 12 months’ active postdoctoral experience (at full-time rate) measured from passing your viva voce to the competition closing date

Fellowships must be held at a research organisation that is part of a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) and aligned to an accredited subject area.

Your application can be from a single discipline or a combination of disciplines, but social sciences must make up at least 50% of your fellowship activities.

Who can apply

You can apply for this funding opportunity if you have:

  • completed your PhD at a UK research organisation
  • less than 12 months of active postdoctoral experience from passing your viva voce to the competition closing date

At the closing date, you must either have been awarded a PhD or have submitted your thesis and passed your viva voce with minor corrections. It is expected that the PhD will be awarded by the fellowship start date.

If major corrections are required to your thesis, you will not be eligible for this year’s funding opportunity.

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 UK Research and Innovation.

What we're looking for


Your actual programmes or proposed programme of activities should reflect your prior knowledge and experience and be designed to support your longer-term research career aspirations.

Activities could include but are not limited to:

  • producing publications to help establish track record
  • engaging with a range of different audiences to communicate research findings
  • building networks to develop impact opportunities and inform and support further development
  • collaborating with users through an internship or placement to help develop professional and transferrable skills and understanding of users’ organisations, provided they are an integral part of the fellowship
  • further training to improve research and related skills
  • developing funding applications
  • carrying out further limited research (up to 25% of the programme of work) related to your PhD
  • teaching, if this is aligned with the wider purposes of the fellowship (up to a maximum of six hours per week)
  • research visits to internationally leading research organisations, either in the UK or abroad, for the purposes of research collaboration, training, and access to data or other resources not available at your host organisation

Fellowships must be held at a research organisation that is part of a DTP and aligned to an accredited subject area.

We welcome applications from both single disciplines and combinations of disciplines, but the fellowship activities must be based at least 50% within the social sciences.


The duration of this award is up to one year full-time, or up to two years part-time.

Fellowships must start on 1 October 2024 (we will consider requests for later start dates in exceptional circumstances, please speak to your DTP to discuss this further).

How to apply

Applications must be made directly to the DTP and they will administer the assessment process.

DTPs will have their own procedures in place to peer review the applications and make funding decisions on behalf of ESRC. Where this includes an expression of interest stage, you must abide by the deadlines specified by the DTP to which you intend applying.

Full details, including the funding opportunity specification, a frequently asked questions document and an application form will be available on the DTP websites.


You must submit a full application along with the required attachments by 16 May 2024 at 4:00pm UK time to the DTP you are applying to.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

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

The DTPs participating in this round of the funding opportunity are:

Personal data

Processing personal data

ESRC, as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will need to collect some personal information to manage your UKRI 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

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Contact details

For queries, please contact the relevant DTP directly.

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.