A number of organisations provide support to researchers, particularly those early in their career, to enable them to advance their careers as independent researchers. They are usually targeted at specific research areas or specific groups. Colleges also offer Junior Research Fellowships.
Funders often impose restrictions on the number of applications that each university can submit to a scheme. Potential applicants should contact their proposed host department as soon as possible to discuss their interest in holding an award at Oxford. You should also regularly check the University’s ‘Co-ordinated Bids website, which sets out the timetable and process for any internal prioritisation processes to select the Oxford candidates when restrictions apply.
College research fellowships
Opportunities currently open
The College proposes to elect a two-year fixed term Henry Skynner Research Fellow in Astrophysics, starting on 1 October 2018, whose focus of research will be in the area of gravitational physics and its relation to string theory, including topics such as gravitational waves, inflation and string cosmology. Applicants should possess (or be close to obtaining) a doctorate in physics and have research experience in the above-mentioned area.
Application deadline: Thursday 30 November
3-Year Non-Stipendiary Research Fellowship in the Sciences
The College proposes to elect a non-stipendiary Research Fellow in a Science subject, from 1 October 2018. Eligible subjects are: Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Engineering Science, Mathematics, Plant Sciences, Statistics, Zoology.
Application deadline: 12 noon GMT on Friday 12 January 2018
The College proposes to make elections to ten Junior Research Fellowships tenable for two years (subject to satisfactory progress) from 1 October 2018. Junior Research Fellows will receive a research allowance of £300 p.a., enjoy dining rights in College, full access to social and sports facilities and may apply for travel grants. Candidates should be engaged in or intending to engage in research at post-doctoral level in an academic unit of the University of Oxford. Applicants who do not yet have a higher research degree will normally be expected to have submitted for a doctorate before taking up a Junior Research Fellowship. These Fellowships are non-stipendiary and therefore candidates must demonstrate they have adequate funding and the support of their academic unit for the duration of the Fellowship. Normally, the successful applicants will not have held a DPhil/PhD for more than five years, but the College will apply discretion when considering applications from those who have taken a career break.
Application deadline: Friday 12th January 2018
The College invites applications for a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) in any field of Chemistry, tenable for three years from 1 October 2018. The primary duty of the post is to carry out research, but most JRFs offer a limited amount of teaching for the College, in the interest of their career development. The primary criterion for appointment to the JRF will be research excellence. Candidates must be confident that they will have obtained their doctorates by the start of their appointment.
Application deadline: 12 noon UK time on 2 January 2018
Colleges regularly offering JRFs in the sciences
Corpus Christi College: The College normally appoints two non-stipendiary JRFs a year, one in the humanities/social sciences and one in the sciences. Applicants should be close to completing their doctorate, or have obtained it within the last 2 years.
Kellogg College: Offer non-stipendiary junior research fellowships, typically advertised from September.
Linacre College: non-stipendiary junior research fellowships. Advertised annually in November/December, with interviews in spring.
Magdalen College: Fellowships by examination.
New College: Invite applications for stipendiary and one non-stipendiary junior research fellowships each year, typically in September. Please check college website.
Merton College, Christ Church and St John’s College invite applications for stipendiary junior research fellowships each year, typically in September. Please check college websites.
The Queen’s College: 'extraordinary' (i.e. non-stipendiary) Junior Research Fellowships. Check website for opportunities.
St. Catherine’s College: Check website for opportunities.
St. Hilda’s College: Stipendiary Junior Research Fellowships. Usually advertised from September.
Wolfson College: Non-stipendiary JRFs and RFs in Clinical and Non-Clinical Sciences, usually advertised from September.
Wadham College: Research Associates
Opportunities are also advertised on the Conference of Colleges site.
General fellowships, available in all areas
AXA Junior Research Fellowship: The mission of the AXA Research Fund is to fund academic research dedicated to a better understanding of important hazards, risks and threats and current global societal challenges within three clusters: socioeconomic risks, environmental risks and life risks. Each year, the AXA Research Fund offers twenty-five (25) Post-Doctoral Fellowships to outstanding researchers.
Daphne Jackson Trust (Royal Society): designed to return STEM professionals to their careers after a break. Fellows normally carry out their research part-time over 2 years, in a university or research establishment in the UK.
Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships: for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.
European Research Council: Starting Grants
Leverhulme Trust: Early Career Fellowships to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie: Research Fellowship Programme.
The Royal Society: Early Career and Senior Career Fellowships
Schlumberger Foundation, Faculty for the Future: supports women from developing countries in their pursuit of advanced graduate studies in STEM at leading universities worldwide.
The BBSRC has four schemes
- Future Leader Fellowship: Support for researchers to undertake research and gain leadership skills
- David Phillips Fellowships: World class early career scientists
- Returners to Research Fellowships: Support for those returning from a career break
- Enterprise Fellowships: Provides a salary and training to develop a commercial proposition
EPSRC Fellowships scheme: supports three career stages - postdoctoral, early career and established career.
NERC: Independent Research Fellowships provide opportunities for outstanding early-career environmental scientists to devote their time to producing research of international importance; developing their research careers and research groups; and developing into recognised science leaders.
Discipline-specific awards from Learned Societies and Trusts
British Heart Foundation: provide personal support for clinical and non-clinical cardiovascular researchers at all stages of their career; grants for short and long term research projects, essential infrastructure and strategic initiatives.
European Southern Observatory: the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere awards several postdoctoral fellowships each year in both Germany and Chile.
London Mathematical Society, Grace Chisholm Young Fellowships: offers two fellowships each year to mathematicians who need support when their mathematical career is interrupted by family responsibilities, relocation of partner, or other similar circumstance, making possible some continuous mathematical activity, so enabling the fellow to be in a position to apply for posts when circumstances allow.
L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellowships: recognises the achievements and contributions of exceptional females across the globe, by awarding promising scientists with Fellowships to help further their research.
Royal Academy of Engineering - Research Fellowships: designed to promote excellence in engineering. They provide support for high-quality engineers and encourage them to develop successful academic research careers.
Royal Astronomical Society: including the Norman Lockyer and RAS Research Fellowships.
Schmidt Science Fellows, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust: fourteen-month programme to broaden scientific and societal horizons of graduate students between finishing their DPhil and starting a research career. The deadline for 2017 nominations was 31st October and information about 2018 opportunities will be linked here when available.
Violette and Samuel Glasstone Research Fellowships in Science: provide the opportunity to conduct original research at Oxford for outstanding scientists at an early stage of their research career. Fellowships can be held in the departments of Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Materials, Mathematics, Physics, Plant Sciences and Statistics.
Wellcome Trust Biomedical Fellowships: The Trust offer a portfolio of personal support schemes to cover the key stages of a research career. All awardees are provided with a salary or stipend, and a budget for research expenses. Support is available for basic biomedical scientists, clinically qualified investigators (including clinical psychologists, dentists and veterinarians) and public health researchers. We also support low- and middle-income country scientists working in public health or tropical medicine.