The Natural Environment Research Council offers Fellowships in areas including atmospheric and oceanic sciences and earth observation. The Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists. Applicants are encouraged to hold the fellowship at an institution other than where they trained or are currently employed, and justifying your choice of institution is important.
Applicants must have submitted their PhD thesis by the time the fellowship interview would take place (usually the April following the closing date). Applicants must not have a permanent academic position and the scheme is open to applicants of any nationality.

Funding is offered for 5 years, including applicant's salary, and some research expenses.
Further guidance is available on NERC's webpages. Applications are submitted via Je-S.

Deadlines and timescales (2022)

The deadline for 2022 has not been announced yet but is likely to be during the first week of October. The timetable below is based on the 2020 deadlines - we will update the dates here soon when the 2022 call date is known. 

  • 20 July 2020 - Send one page outline, CV and publications list to Research Facilitators to obtain Departmental approval to apply. CC your Oxford Physics sponsor (academic supporting your application) and include the name of your second reader. 
  • 12 August 2020 - Send costing requests and your draft JoR to Research Facilitators.
  • 18 August 2020 - Complete the Je-S text sections and Gantt chart to Research Facilitators.
  • 25 August 2020 - Send draft Case for Support to Academic Readers and Research Facilitators.
  • 14 Sept 2020 - Submit Je-S to Research Facilitators.
  • 21 Sept 2020 - RFs submit Je-S to Research Services.

Guidance and useful info

Once we know that you intend to apply we will be able to send you our internal guidance documents.

IMPORTANT: NERC are very strict about the formatting of your application. Please consult the guidance notes carefully and adhere to any formatting instructions, otherwise your application may be rejected without review.

You will require a letter of support from the Head of Department which will be written in collaboration with the local academic who is supporting your application.

The interview stage is an important part of the selection process so if you are invited for interview please notify the facilitation team and your local academic contacts as soon as possible so that mock interviews can be arranged in advance of the real interview.