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scheme overview

The Research Software Engineer (RSE) Fellowship scheme aims to recognise the contribution of RSEs that are driving the development of high-quality research software and demonstrating leadership in embedding the vital role of software in disciplinary and institutional research cultures. An RSE Fellowship is a personal award, designed to provide the recipient with the necessary support to contribute to these aims. Fellows are provided with significant resources in order to pursue their vision and establish or develop RSE activities within their institution.

Oxford can submit a total of two (2) applications to the outline proposal phase.

scope of the call

The funding is primarily aimed at supporting Fellows in a programme of work that can include but is not limited to:

  • Core software development work around an area or topic of interest to the Fellow;
  • A programme of software development projects, through which the Fellow contributes to the work of research groups;
  • Development and delivery of a programme of training, embedding focussed computational science and engineering within the academic environment;
  • Activities to promote community building, knowledge exchange, and improved awareness of the importance of research software; and
  • Building and defining a research software engineering group or team within their Host Organisation, including leading on establishing institutional norms for RSE roles within the institution.

Full Research Software Engineer Scheme details on the EPSRC website.

support available

Up to £4.5m is available from EPSRC to support approximately four to eight RSE Fellows in the EPSRC remit, and up to £0.6m of funding is available from STFC to support one RSE Fellow in the STFC remit. Awards are for a duration of up to five years.

Fellowships can be used to cover:

  • 0.5-1 FTE of the Fellow’s salary;
  • Travel and subsistence;
  • Administrative support;
  • Software Licences;
  • Outreach and networking;
  • Training courses;
  • Staff of up to one FTE equivalent for the period of the Fellowship; and
  • Access to facilities – time on or the cost of using University, Tier-2 services, National or International HPC services.

Equipment over £10k in value (inc. vat) is not available through this call.


  • Applicants are expected to hold a PhD by the start date of the Fellowship or have equivalent experience. There are no eligibility rules based on postdoctoral experience or whether the applicant holds a permanent academic position.
  • Fellowships can be held part or full time with a minimum of 0.5 FTE commitment.

assessment criteria

The proposed work of the Fellowship must be within the scope of this call and within EPSRC or STFC’s remit. For the University-wide internal bids process, outline proposals will be assessed against the following two criteria:

1.    Vision

  • The applicant has provided a clear and compelling vision for their Fellowship to make a significant contribution to the development, sharing and exploitation of high-quality, sustainable research software and methodologies; and
  • will make a significant contribution to developing institutional and/or disciplinary culture to ensure that research software enables and/or accelerates high quality research.

2.    Leadership and Advocacy including

  • aptitude and potential to lead, inspire and influence, for example, through mentoring, outreach activities and networking;
  • plans to act as an ambassador and advocate for the RSE profession and the importance of research software; and
  • plans for developing and sustaining effective partnerships and collaborations to enhance the impact, usage and sustainability of research software.

internal coordinated bids process (deadline: 22 July, 12 noon)

Departments are not capped at the number of submissions to the internal selection process, however candidates must discuss and clear point 4 with their departments before submitting an internal application.

Candidates should upload the following documentation as a single PDF on IRAMS by 22 July, 12 noon:

1.    Case for Support (two sides of A4*)

  • Due to the short call timeline, polished prose is not expected for Case for Support during the internal selection. Proposals however should address the two above assessment criteria: Vision, and Leadership and Advocacy.

2.    CV (up to two sides of A4)

3.    Justification of resources (up to two sides of A4)

  • For the internal selection process, Justification for resources do not need to be detailed (e.g. bullet point list of the requested resources) or include a full costing, however should include an approximate total budget figure.

4.    Short description on ‘how the host institution department will provide a mechanism for a successful Fellow to transition to a permanent role’. This must be cleared with departments before IRAMS submission and departmental support packages should also be specified.


Detailed guidelines on the documentation can be found on the UKRI webpage.

* Please note that successful applicants from the internal bids process will be able to submit up to four sides of A4 to EPSRC.

Proposals will be considered by a cross-divisional panel of academics. The decision of the panel is final.

For queries on the internal coordinated process, contact Kathleen Dolan.


Internal coordinated bid deadline 22 July 2020 (12 noon) Submit via IRAMS
Outcomes of internal panel communicated By 5 August 2020 -
EPSRC outline proposal deadline 18 August 2020 (4pm) Submit via Je-S
Full proposal submission deadline 17 November 2020 Submit via Je-S
Interviews w/c 22 February 2021 -
Funding decisions March 2021 -
Grant start date 31 March 2021 -