Postdoctoral Research

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 post-doctoral 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, on the University's vacancies pages and on

British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship

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. For more information read the British Academy funding guidelines.

ESRC New Investigator Grants

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.

For more information read the ESRC New Investigator Grants.

Newton International Fellowship

This fellowship scheme accepts applications from post-doctoral 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.

For more information read the Newton International Fellowship guidelines

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships

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.

For more information read Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) Fellowships Internal Competition 2020

Oxford Department of Sociology calls for Expressions of Interest (EoI) to participate in the MSCA Fellowships scheme. Please note the internal competition is now closed and we are no longer accepting Expressions of Interest.

Sociology at Oxford has a strong analytical, empirical and comparative orientation with a focus on developing and testing theories that engage with real world problems. Our strengths include statistical analysis of social surveys, social demography, collection management and analysis of complex datasets, the development of rational choice theory, microsocial experiments and simulation studies.

This year’s call for MSCA applications closes on 9th September 2020. Successful applicants will be able to start their projects within the 12 months from March 2021. If you would like to apply with us you will need to send a completed Expression of Interest (EoI) set of forms to by Monday 6th July 2020 (further details below).

Selected candidates will then be contacted and invited to submit their applications developed to the ‘final draft’ by the deadline of 3rd August 2020. Full applications will be required by the Oxford Research Services deadline which is on 26th August 2020.

MSCA Fellowships are highly flexible funding schemes offered to experienced researchers with a minimum of PhD level experience who move to be based at the hosting institution, where they will work with their supervisors to deliver a specific project involving research, innovation, training and networking activities. The funding guarantees mobility and financial independence with a generous set of allowances. We would be happy to host both European and Global Fellows whose research profile falls or overlaps within the following research areas:

  • Social inequalities of gender, class, and ethnicity (including mobility, labour market and social class inequalities);
  • Families, population, and demography;
  • Health and wellbeing;
  • Crime, justice and governance;
  • Social movements and political sociology;
  • Digital societies, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.

Proposals are expected to be built around a Career Development Plan at the host organisation. In addition to research activities and objectives, this should address the researcher's training and career needs, including training on transferable skills, planning for publications and participation in conferences.

Applicants can be of any nationality (specific eligibility criteria apply – check against the summary table below). There is no upper limit to age or experience.


How to apply:


  • Read the Guidance for Applicants and FAQ documents on the funder's website.
  • Make sure you meet all eligibility criteria.
  • Register your interest by sending your EoI to: by 5pm on 6th July 2020. The EoI pack should consist of the following: (i) EoI information page which should be downloaded here; (ii) the Applicant's CV; (iii) 3-page summary proposal with an outline of the research project, and information on the professional development and implementation/dissemination plans; and (iv) for Global Fellowship (GF) Applicants only: evidence of the commitment of the partner institution who will host the Fellow during the outgoing phase.
  • The internal evalutation and selection panel will assess all EoIs received within the deadline in accordance with the EC selection criteria for the scheme: 1) Excellence; 2) Impact; 3) Quality and Efficiency of the Implementation. EoIs will also be assessed according to the Department of Sociology's criteria when selecting applications: 4) that the proposal is in line with the Department's intellectual and research strategy.
  • Selected Applicants will work closely with the departmental and central University research support teams to complete the appliction to its highest quality.


Eligibility Criteria Summary Table



Standard European Fellowship

Global Fellowship


Any nationality

EU Member State national or legal and continuous resident within one or more EU Member States or Horizon 2020 Associated Countries of at least 5 consecutive years


12-24 months

24-36 months:

Outgoing: 12-24 months

Return (mandatory): 12 months


Cannot have resided or carried out their main activity in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before 9th September 2020

Cannot have resided or carried out their main activity in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before 9th September 2020


On 9th September 2020, in possession of a PhD or/and have at least 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience

On 9th September 2020, in possession of a PhD or/and have at least 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience


Fellow will move or have moved from any country to the UK

Fellow will move or have moved from any country to the UK


Entire Fellowship hosted in Oxford

Partner organisation for the outgoing phase must be located in a TC*. Letter of commitment is required with application


Optional, in EU Member or Associated countries only, 3-6 months depending on the duration of the Fellowship

Optional, max 3 months in EU Member or Associated countries in outgoing phase only

Monthly Allowances (full time)

Living: €4,880 | Mobility €600 | Family €500 (if applicable)

Subject to taxes, on-costs and country correction coefficients

Living: €4,880 | Mobility €600 | Family €500 (if applicable)

Subject to taxes, on-costs and country correction coefficients

* Non-associated Third Countries (TC) are countries which are neither EU Member States (MS), nor associated to Horizon 2020 (AC)

Wellcome Trust Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Science

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 a salary, plus appropriate employer's contributions.

This is a two-stage application process: the next deadline for outline applications will be 30th June 2020 (full application by 10th September 2020). For more information read the Wellcome Trust guidelines.

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 Grants and Project Officer 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.