Overview of EPSRC's Fellowship Scheme

Introduction

The EPSRC Fellowship aims to provide greater support to the aspiring and current world-leading individuals who are delivering the highest quality research to meet UK and global priorities. Through links to our strategic priorities and focussing on areas where growth is required, Fellowships develop the next generation of researchers with the greatest potential across the postdoctoral, early and established career stages.

To maintain the UK’s global research standing in the context of increasing international competition and with limited funding available to us, we must focus our support on those individuals who have the most potential to deliver the highest quality research which meets UK and global priorities. The support also needs to be linked to our strategic priorities and we expect a greater proportion of our fellows to be focused on areas where growth is required and where developing leaders can integrate their work into the wider landscape. Consequently fellowships will not be open in all areas, at all career stages, at all times. We have gone through an initial exercise of identifying the areas linked to our Balancing Capability goal in which fellowships are offered. This will be an on-going process and priority areas will be updated throughout the Delivery Plan period.

The EPSRC Fellowship Framework

EPSRC Fellowship Framework is a single scheme that supports three career stages - postdoctoral, early career and established career.

A competency-based person specification is used to describe the desired qualities, skills, experience, achievements and attributes expected at each career stage. In conjunction with your host institution, you should evaluate your track record and assess which career stage best describes you and therefore which stage you should apply against. Please ensure that you are able to demonstrate how you fulfil each of the expected attributes, see the Who can apply page for the person specification.

Applicants are expected to hold a Doctoral degree by the start date of the fellowship or have equivalent research experience. There are no eligibility rules based on years of post-doctoral experience or whether the applicant holds a permanent academic position.

The difference between a Research Grant and a Fellowship

A Research Grant is a mechanism to support a research team led by a Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-Investigator (CoI) to perform the research in the proposed project. The PI should normally hold a permanent post but fixed-term employees may be eligible provided that the EPSRC can be satisfied that the host research organisation is prepared to give the individual all the support normal for a permanent employee.

Please see the Eligibility of Investigators page for the eligibility rules of the investigators.

The time (and salary) claimed on a Research Grant by the PI and CoI can be well below 50% (in other words, this is not the maximum allowed) and PIs and CoIs often have many other duties in their department related to other research projects and / or teaching.

A Fellowship is a personal award, designed to provide the recipient with the necessary support to establish or further develop themselves as a leader of the future. This type of award enables you to devote most of your time to a program of activities to deliver your proposed research vision. An EPSRC Fellowship is aimed to position yourself and your research topic within the wider academic field, to develop your leadership by establishing or extending your research group, and to act as an advocate for the STEM disciplines in general and EPSRC specifically.

Three step guide to start your Fellowship application

  1. Competency profile: determine, with help from your university’s research office, your competency profile and therefore to which career stage you should apply against. Please see the EPSRC Fellowship person specification.
  2. Fellowship Priority Areas: look at which priority areas within the Capability and Challenge Themes are open for applications and at what career stage.
  3. How to apply: carefully read the guidance on the documents required on our fellowship webpages, the funding guide and general instructions on writing proposals.