Independent Research Fellowships
New NERC Fellowship scheme
NERC Council has decided to streamline the provision of responsive mode Fellowships into a single scheme - the NERC Independent Research Fellowships (IRFs) - that will replace the previous schemes (Postdoctoral Fellowships and Advanced Fellowships).
The new scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists, by giving all Fellows five years' support, which will allow them sufficient time to develop their research programmes, and to establish international recognition.
As part of this scheme, NERC will expand its fellowship networking and training activities, working with host institutions, to support the development of future leaders in NERC science.
Other Calls for Independent Research Fellowships in Priority Areas
As well as the standard NERC IRFs, which may be held in any area of the NERC remit, there is also a call for proposals for NERC IRFs in the priority area of Bioinformatics. These fellowships will deliver part of the NERC Mathematics & Informatics for Environmental 'Omic Data Synthesis ('Omics) Research Programme. Applicants are only eligible to submit one proposal to either the standard NERC IRF call or to this call for NERC IRFs in the priority area of Bioinformatics.
The closing date for NERC Independent Research Fellowships will be 16:00 on 1 October 2013.
Application and assessment process
In order to identify future science leaders, the assessment process will concentrate upon the research potential of the applicant, with track record assessed in a way that is appropriate to career stage. Applicants will be expected to:
- demonstrate their research vision and philosophy and outline ways in which their research could be developed over the five year fellowship;
- explain how they will contribute to the international research area and interact with the leading international groups in their field;
- explain how they will enable the potential economic or societal impact of their research to be realised.
In order to demonstrate a commitment to the development of NERC IRFs, the Head of Department of the host institution will be required to demonstrate:
- the availability of structured institutional support, including infrastructure and facilities, funds to support research, and access to PhD students;
- support for personal development of the Fellow, including mentoring, appropriate review, and training courses.
Eligibility for NERC Independent Research Fellowships
NERC IRFs are open to any nationality, and may be held in any area of the NERC remit, but the fellowship must be based at an eligible UK research organisation. Applicants may not have a permanent academic position in a university or equivalent organisation.
Applicants must expect to submit their PhD thesis before the fellowship interview would take place (April following the closing date) and, if successful, would not be able to take up the fellowship until the intent to award the PhD has been confirmed by the awarding university.
Applicants may have up to a maximum of eight years of full-time postdoctoral research experience between the PhD certificate date and the closing date of the fellowship competition to which they are applying. The eight-year window is based on full-time working. Where applicants have worked part-time or had research career breaks, the eight-year window would be extended accordingly.
Current NERC Postdoctoral Fellows may apply for a subsequent NERC IRF, provided that they meet the eligibility criteria.
The full eligibility requirements - including those related to the research topic, host institution and resubmission policy - are in the Research Grants & Fellowships Handbook.
The next closing date will be 16:00 on 1 October 2013.
The October 2013 call will open and proposals can be submitted on Je-S from 1 June 2013.
Fellowship enquiries should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.