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 research organisation that is part of a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)
  • have less than 12 months’ 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 DTP and aligned to an accredited pathway.

Your proposal 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

The opportunity is open to applicants who have completed their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP and who have less than 12 months of postdoctoral experience from passing their viva voce to the competition closing date.

At the submission deadline, the applicant must either have been awarded a PhD or have submitted their thesis and passed their viva voce with minor corrections, with the expectation that the PhD will be awarded by the fellowship start date.

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

As ESRC is currently commissioning DTPs to start in October 2024, this will be the last opportunity under the current DTP structure. We are committed to continuing support for the scheme, but the format of future opportunities is under consideration.

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 in order 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 proposals
  • 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 6 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 pathway.

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

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

You must submit a full proposal along with the required attachments by 4pm on 23 March 2023 to the DTP you are applying to.

The DTPs participating in the fourth round are:

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.