The aim of this scheme is to give early career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation. The scheme is open to applicants working in any of the physical, biological sciences or applied sciences, maths or engineering. Candidates must be in possession of a recent PhD or equivalent (with no more than 3 years postdoctoral experience) or be in the final stages of their PhD studies. The scheme is open to applicants of all nationalities.

Awards are for 3 years and should be held at a different institution from the one where the candidate's PhD research was undertaken. Funding is for the Fellow's salary plus £6k per annum of research expenses. A letter of acceptance from the Head of Department, and institutional administration is required to be submitted with your application.

Applications are made through the funder's application funder's application portal; applicants must supply two references: neither should be from the host institution, and one should be from your PhD supervisor. Further information is available on the funder's website.

Deadlines and timescales (2023)

The 2023 call is yet to be announced however the funder deadline is expected to be in January 2023. Each year the Department runs an internal selection process as outlined briefly below.

Interested candidates will be asked to submit an expression of interest (EOI) by sending their CV, publications list and 1 page summary of their proposed research project to fellowships@physics.ox.ac.uk. The EOI deadline will be updated when we know further details of the 2023 call, however this is expected to be around October/November 2022. 

We will also require confirmation from an academic within the department (via email) that they support your application, by the same deadline. Please also confirm who will be the second academic reader (a second academic within the department who will give feedback on the proposal).

Due to the low number of awards made nationally each year by the funder we will be capping the submitted applications to 1 per sub-department, with candidates selected by internal sub-department academic panels. Following discussions with the funder we are aware that their selection for these fellowships is made by a multidisciplinary group who jointly consider the shortlist derived from expert assessment therefore please consider a multidisciplinary audience when writing your proposal. Candidates should show ‘compelling ability, research momentum and personal vision’.

Please keep these factors in mind when submitting your expression of interest.

Additional information

Since the grant scheme does not offer any overheads to the department, applications to this scheme will only be approved to proceed in cases where a local academic is highly supportive of the proposal and candidate (subject to the approval of the Head of Department). Therefore please ensure you have discussed your application with your collaborators at the Department of Physics and have secured their support before embarking on your application. We only support the 'employed' variety of the scheme.