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The University of Reading takes pride in a strong track record of career building and career development for researchers, of which an important strand is hosting Research Fellowships. These provide opportunities to build research independence. Some schemes promote international mobility, some provide training or support the transition to a new research field, whilst others can support returning to work after a career break. There are schemes to support candidates at a range of different career stages.

The University of Reading supports applicants to a range of externally funded Research Fellowships.

Some Fellowship schemes require institutional support or are limited in the number of applications that an institution can submit. For these schemes, the University holds a process for all applicants to identify the strongest candidates to support. Details of the current internal processes can be seen below. Details of discipline-specific Fellowship schemes can be found in the Sciences, and Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences sections.

If you are interested in applying to hold a Fellowship at the University of Reading, please do get in touch via

There is also a list of the fellowships schemes eligible for the University of Reading's new incentive for successful applicants.


Fellowships in the Environmental and Physical Sciences

The University of Reading operates an internal review process, based on Expressions of Interest (EoI), to support candidates who are interested to apply to any of the following four fellowship schemes:

Interested applicants are asked to contact the dedicated email address as soon as possible so that we can register your interest and direct you to the Research Development Manager who will be supporting you through the fellowships application process, and who will provide you access to resources which can support your application.

Eligible candidates will then be asked to complete the pro forma document, and send this to their allocated Research Development Manager contact no later than 25 July 2022.


UKRI – Future Leaders Fellowship: Round 7

This scheme is for early career researchers and innovators who are either:

  • looking to establish or transition to independence
  • developing their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting

UKRI is offering funding to support ambitious research or innovation programmes across its disciplinary remit. Candidates must be based at, and have the support of, an eligible academic or non-academic institution. There is no minimum or maximum award value. Your project can last for up to four years, with the option to apply to renew for a further three years.


Internal demand management process:

This is a highly competitive scheme. In order to administer the scheme in a timely manner, UKRI have introduced a cap to the number of applications each institution can submit. Under this cap, the University of Reading can submit up to 4 applications. Therefore in order to identify the strongest applications, there will be an internal selection process. The deadline for submissions for the EoI process was Tuesday 30 August 2022.


UKRI Webinar

UKRI have also noted that due to the high interest for this scheme they ran an online webinar for potential applicants on 15 August


ESRC Webinar

ESRC will be running workshops aimed at supporting early career social scientists in applying to the scheme. These will be held as Zoom presentations hosted by Tracy Davies, Head of ESRC Early Career Support and Chelsea Cinquegrani, ESRC Senior Policy Manager.

We have arranged Zoom presentations on Tuesday 27 September 2022 (11am-12.15pm) and Wednesday 5 October 2022 (2pm-3.15pm).

Each presentation is anticipated to last about 40 minutes followed by time for questions and answers. The events will be suitable for both those who may have already applied by the time of the workshops and those thinking of applying. ESRC are keen to keep the number of attendees to a manageable level for questions and answers and places at the workshops will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Could you please ask those interested in attending to register as soon as possible using one of the two SurveyMonkey links:


Please see the links below for the documents relating to this process:

For any queries relating to this process please contact in the first instance.

UKRI Outline application closing date: expected to be mid October 2023

UKRI Full application closing date: expected to be early December 2023

Further information is available  to view at the future leaders fellowships page.

UKRI have indicated that there will be an 8th round of this scheme (dates tbc).


British Academy (BA)

The BA Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme supports research within the Humanities or Social Sciences, and the primary emphasis is on the completion of a significant piece of publishable research. Applicants must be at an early stage of their research career with no more than 3 years' experience from their PhD viva. They must be an EU or British citizen or hold a doctorate from a UK university and must not have held a permanent post in a university.

The competition is in two stages - the outline stage is open to anyone satisfying the eligibility criteria and  closes in October; the second stage is by invitation only with a February deadline.

Eligibility requirements

The applicant must be a researcher from the humanities and social sciences and be based at an eligible university or research organisation. Suitable institutions include any UK university or recognised research organisation based in the UK. British citizens and any nationals from the EEA are eligible, regardless of where their doctorate was obtained. Anyone of any nationality who has a doctorate from a UK university is eligible. If an applicant does not meet the prior categories, they may be accepted if they can demonstrate ‘strong prior association’ with the UK academic community. Applicants must be of Early Career Status, meaning they must apply within three years from the date of their successful viva voce examination. For this round of competition, applicants are expected to have completed their viva voce between 01/04/2020 and 01/04/2023.

Duration: 3 years.

Maximum funding limit: Salary and a maximum of £6,000 for research expenses.

Application Deadline:  2022 call now closed. 2023 dates will be posted when published but is likely to have a closing date in mid October.


Internal process for applicants:

There is no institutional limit on how many British Academy Post Doctoral Fellowships can be submitted, however, individual Schools may limit the number of applications that they will support because of the associated academic time commitment required for review and mentorship. Please contact to express your interest and be advised of internal processes. Research Services arrange an information session with candidates to cover all aspects of the submission process.


Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship

This scheme is for experienced academic researchers who would benefit from a period of full-time research without teaching, administration and pastoral care duties. It is funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. Note that the Royal Society does not cover clinical medicine (such as patient orientated research and clinical trials), social sciences or humanities, other than when working in partnership with organisations.

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • have a PhD or equivalent
  • hold a permanent post at a UK university or not-for-profit institution
  • be at a stage in your career when you would particularly benefit from a period of full-time research

The award lasts between one term and one academic year. The applicant’s employing institution will be reimbursed for the full salary cost of a teaching replacement (up to the equivalent of the minimum point on the lectureship scale as paid by the host university). Research expenses up to a maximum of £2,500 are available to cover the costs of consumables, equipment, travel and communicating science.

Visit the Leverhulme Trust Senior Research page for more information.

Application deadline: 2022 call now closed. 2023 dates will be posted when published but is likely to have a closing date in mid November.


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

NIHR has four Fellowship schemes which have been designed to support individuals at various points of their career to become leading researchers. The NIHR also partner with several charities to offer jointly funded Partnership Fellowships at both Doctoral and Advanced levels. 

NIHR Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships Round 8

NIHR Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships Round 8 

2022 call now closed. 2023 dates will be posted when published but is likely to have a closing date in July.

The NIHR is launching the 8th round of Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships as part of the NIHR Fellowship Programme. The Advanced Fellowship is for those at a post-doctoral level and can be utilised at several specific points of a researcher’s career development. Whilst the NIHR Doctoral Fellowship is a three year full-time award that supports individuals to undertake a PhD in an area of NIHR research.

Development and Skills Enhancement Award (DSE) round 10

Development and Skills Enhancement Award DSE Round 10 

2022 call now closed. 2023 dates will be posted when published but is likely to have a closing date in July.

The Development and Skills Enhancement Award (DSE) is a post-doctoral level award aimed at supporting NIHR Academy Members to gain specific skills and experience to underpin the next phase of their research career. Applicants need to demonstrate what new skills and experience they hope to gain through the award, and how it will benefit their future career in health and care research. The award runs three times a year, opening in January, May and September and will support a mixture of researcher-led applications and applications from areas of strategic importance. The current themes are:

  • health data science
  • clinical trials
  • entrepreneurship and working with industry


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Fellowships are on offer via the following routes:

EPSRC postdoctoral fellowship (Recommended if you have not previously held a significant grant (usually defined as those which included PDRA time, capital equipment or were in excess of £100,000 FEC)).

EPSRC synthetic biology postdoctoral fellowship

EPSRC open fellowship

Applications for Open Fellowships can be across any topic in the EPSRC portfolio. Post‐doctoral opportunities will vary across themes.

Projects can focus on discovery science, innovation, instrumentation/technique development or software engineering, or a combination of these. The Open Fellowships have an optional Plus component, for when the applicant plans to spend 20‐50% of their time on the fellowship to create positive culture change in the research community beyond their proposed scientific project and research group e.g. fellowships with a significant industry collaboration, knowledge exchange or impact element (examples provided in document annex).

Applications can be submitted at any time and are processed on a rolling basis at a prioritisation panel after peer review. Submission should be timed to have the best chance of being assessed at a forthcoming prioritisation panel (please refer to the fellowships guidance for full details).

Duration: You can apply for up to three years of support for post‐doctoral awards, and up to five years of support for open awards.

Maximum funding: None.


Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships (European Commission)

MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships aim to enhance the creative and innovative potential of researchers holding a PhD and who wish to acquire new skills through advanced training, international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility. The scheme is open to excellent researchers of any nationality.  MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships also encourage researchers to work on research and innovation projects in the non-academic sector and is open to researchers wishing to reintegrate in Europe, to those who are displaced by conflict, as well as to researchers with high potential who are seeking to restart their careers in research.

Through the implementation of an original and personalised research project, MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships aim to foster excellence through training and mobility and to equip researchers with new skills and competences in order to identify solutions to current and future challenges. Postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to reach out to society at large to make the results of their research visible to citizens.

The EU portal call webpage provides all official EC call documents. 

An unofficial applicant Handbook, prepared by MSCA-NET (network of MSCA National Contact Points), may also prove useful.

Duration: European Postdoctoral Fellowships 12-24 months, Global Postdoctoral Fellowships 12-24 months + 12 month return phase

*An additional period of up to six months can be requested for a placement, at the end of the project, in an organisation from the non-academic sector.

Maximum funding: n/a - budget calculated based on unit costs, multiplied by the requested person months

Application deadline (annual scheme): 2022 call now closed. 2023 dates will be posted when published but is likely to have a closing date in mid September.

Interested candidates should contact Hazel English

Internal screening process via RDLs applies for this scheme.


Cut-off date for accepting new applications: mid August 2023

Internal deadline (for finalised application): end August 2023


BBSRC Discovery Fellowships

This fellowship scheme allows applicants to carry out independent research within a host laboratory and gain leadership skills.

Applicants must show they have the potential to become a future research leader.

The full economic cost of projects can be up to £500,000 and last for three years. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.


Projects must be within BBSRC’s remit and should fit at least one of their strategic priority areas:



You should be able to demonstrate appropriate and relevant research or innovation experience. This could be through:

  • recent completion of a PhD or other higher qualification
  • relevant employment within a research or innovation environment.

You must also be able to evidence reasonable scientific and technical skills and competencies.

Applicants currently studying for a PhD are eligible if they are expecting to have passed their PhD viva before 30 November 2023.

Holders of postdoctoral training fellowships such as the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions can apply. Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkins Fellows who meet the research experience eligibility requirement may also apply.


You should not hold, or have held:

  • an academic position at lecturer level (or the equivalent in an institution other than a university)
  • an equivalent competitive fellowship that allows you to establish an independent research group, and therefore independent researcher status.

Funding can be used to support:

  • personal salary
  • travel and subsistence
  • training activities
  • research consumables.

BBSRC expect host organisations to contribute significant financial support, in-kind support, or both, if an award is made.

Examples of additional support could be:

  • items of equipment
  • access to additional staff members or students
  • a direct financial contribution.

BBSRC expect at a minimum that hosts will provide access to facilities, training courses and support for career development.

2022 call now closed. 2023 dates will be posted when published but is likely to have a closing date in early May. More information is available at the BBSRC Discovery Fellowships page.  Any queries should be directed to dedicated fellowships email account -



If you are interested in applying to a Fellowship scheme not listed above, please email with details of: the scheme you wish to apply to, a 2 page CV and a brief (1 page) summary of your proposed research. Please do also get in touch if you have any queries on the information listed on this page.