In recognition of Stephen Hawking’s exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and popularisation of science, UKRI is supporting fellowships, delivered jointly by STFC and EPSRC, to support and develop the next generation of visionary scientists at the beginning of their careers.

The objectives of the scheme are:

  • To fund new high quality research and support the development and training of postdoctoral researchers in theoretical physics and Stephen Hawking's areas of research.
  • To train a cohort of researchers with the skills to continue a legacy of public engagement.

The fellowships provide up to 3 years’ funding for fellows with a strong passion for curiosity-driven science that seek to challenge current assumptions, advance scientific knowledge and inspire the public through their discoveries. The funding also supports training on public engagement and scientific communication to develop skills to explain complex scientific ideas to wider audiences and with the aim of continuing Stephen Hawking’s work in bringing science into popular culture.

Proposals are welcomed from all areas of theoretical physics and areas of mathematics and computer sciences which underpin and contribute to the development of theoretical physics. Whilst the scheme primarily supports theoretical physics, some applied areas of research may be within remit. The scope of the fellowships extends beyond Stephen Hawking’s active areas of research such as cosmology, general relativity and quantum gravity and UKRI invite other aspects of theoretical physics such as classical gravity, string theory, statistical physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, particle astrophysics, theoretical astronomy, solar and planetary physics. A full list of available areas for funding are listed on the call page.

Proposals are also welcome from across the fundamental mathematical and computer sciences where the applicant can demonstrate that the research will underpin these approaches and can directly build capability in the area of theoretical physics, such as quantum computing.

Deadline and timescales 

Stephen Hawking Fellowships will re-open to submissions at the end of May 2023, further information can be found on the funder's website - Pre-announcement: EPSRC responsive mode postdoctoral fellowship – UKRI. Interested applicants are required to submit an EOI (expression of interest) to the department by 23rd May 2023 to obtain departmental approval to apply to this round. The round will close on 28th September 2023 however we will be encouraging applicants to aim for submission by the end of July to ensure we can fully support applications as August and September are exceptionally busy for our team with other fellowship schemes.

Expressions of interest should be sent to by the above deadline (23rd May 2023) and should consist of the following -

  • CV
  • Publication list
  • 1 page research summary of the proposed fellowship research proposal
  • CC your Oxford Physics sponsor (an academic based in the department who supports your application, you should discuss this with them prior to submitting your EOI). If your EOI is approved by the department to apply to the scheme, you will also require a second reader to support your application (another academic based in the department).