Information for Postdoctoral Researchers

The department does not directly fund postdoctoral programmes, we do however support a number of postdoctoral fellowship schemes and work with a range of funding bodies. Details of some of the major schemes for postdoctoral research funding are given below, as well as our internal selection procedures where applicable. All applications for funding need to have received the support of the Department and the University before being sent to the funder so please check the funders’ guidelines and eligibility criteria before contacting a potential mentor in the Department or the Research Facilitator.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact in the first instance.

Other postdoctoral positions may arise, normally funded by research project grants held by members of the Department. These will be advertised on the Department’s vacancies page and on the  University's vacancies pages.

Fellowship Schemes and Funding Bodies

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This scheme provides full funding for a three-year full-time fellowship. Applicants must be within three years of the award of their doctorate and they must be a UK or EEA national, or have completed a doctorate at a UK university, or have a strong prior association with the UK academic community. The primary emphasis is on completion of a significant piece of publishable research. This is a two-stage application process.

Visit the British Academy website

This is for researchers who have a maximum of 4 years post-doctoral experience and who may be based outside the UK, but who wish to come to Oxford for the period of the grant. The scheme is specifically aimed at supporting those looking to make the transition to an independent researcher through managing their first major research project. These grants replace the Future Research Leaders scheme and have been made an open call now. Applications from those who have not yet submitted their PhD or are within 24 months of its submission will be particularly welcomed in the call. Those who have not yet submitted their PhD must have done so by the start date of the award.

Visit the ESRC website for more on New Investigator Grants

The ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme is aimed at those in the immediately postdoctoral stage of their career, to provide the opportunity to consolidate their PhD through developing publications, their networks, and their research and professional skills. It is part of ESRC’s strategy to supporting early career researchers and will be delivered through their national network of Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs).

The call is open to applicants who have completed their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT and who are within 12 months of passing their viva voce. 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.

Visit the Grand Union website for more on Postdoctoral Fellowships

This fellowship scheme accepts applications from postdoctoral researchers across all disciplines of physical, natural and social sciences, and the humanities from around the world. The long-term aim of the scheme is to build a global pool of research leaders and encourage long-term international collaboration with the UK. Applicants should be working outside the UK and should not hold UK citizenship at the time of application. The scheme is jointly run by the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society. Currently there is one round per year which opens in January.

Visit the Royal Society Website

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) provide grants for all stages of researchers' careers - be they doctoral candidates or highly experienced researchers - and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. The MSCA enable research-focused organisations (universities, research centres, and companies) to host talented foreign researchers and to create strategic partnerships with leading institutions worldwide. Individual Fellowships support the mobility of researchers within and beyond Europe - as well as helping to attract the best foreign researchers to work in the EU. The grant usually covers two years' salary, a mobility allowance, research costs and overheads for the host institution. Individual researchers submit proposals for funding in liaison with their planned host organisation. Proposals are judged on their research quality, the researcher's future career prospects, and the support offered by the host organisation. Fellows can also spend part of the fellowship elsewhere in Europe if this would boost impact, and those restarting their career in Europe benefit from special eligibility conditions.

Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the deadline. There are no restrictions on nationality.

Visit the European Commission website

This scheme supports humanities and social science scholars at all stages of their career but not in an established academic post, who wish to undertake a period of research in any area of human and animal health. Strong preference is given to applicants with a good prospect of achieving an academic career in the field. The maximum duration is three years full-time equivalent. The awards are full-time but may be awarded on a part-time basis if a case can be made that personal circumstances require this. Fellowships provide research expenses and salary, plus appropriate employer's contributions.

This is a two-stage application process. For further information, visit the Wellcome Trust Website

Other external funding

Doctoral students who are interested in applying for other external funding schemes need the support of their supervisor, who should write a case for support of the student and the application. If a student is proposing to work in an area that is not close to the supervisor's research area, the endorsement of another full member of the Department working in that area is needed.

Doctoral students who are interested in making an external funding application should talk with their supervisor and/or other academic in the relevant area in the Department, and investigate the scheme. When well prepared, prospective applicants should contact the Department's Research Facilitator with at least two month's notice before the deadline to discuss their proposal.*

* Internal deadlines or application schemes vary depending on the sponsor and the scheme.