Mobile menu icon
Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Mobile menu icon Search iconSearch
Search type

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Support for researchers

A number of fellowships are offered by funding bodies and charities for the postgraduate research programmes available in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The fellowships on offer range from fully funded fellowship opportunities to partly funded schemes.

Some of these schemes have clear deadlines, so please make sure that you visit the website of your chosen scheme to ensure that you submit your application before the deadline.

Fully funded fellowships

BBSRC Returners to Research Fellowships

BBSRC's Returners to Research Fellowships are aimed at scientists wishing to return to research after a career break of two or more years for family, caring or health reasons.

The Daphne Jackson Trust awards 2-year fellowships on a part-time basis.  Fellowships include a tailored training programme designed to enable fellows to update their skills while working on a current research project.

For further information about the fellowship and how to apply visit the Daphne Jackson Trust website.


EPSRC Fellowships

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.

Applications can be submitted at any time and will be processed on a rolling basis at a prioritisation panel after postal peer review (this can take a minimum of four months).

ERC Starting Grants

Researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD, a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal can apply.

Applications can be made in any field of research and the ERC's grants operate on a 'bottom-up' basis without predetermined priorities.  The ERC has annual calls for proposals covering all scientific fields.

Starting Grants may be awarded up to € 1.5 million for a period of 5 years. (pro rata for projects of shorter duration). However, an additional € 0.5 million can be made available to cover eligible “start-up” costs for researchers moving from a third country to the EU or an associated country and/or the purchase of major equipment and/or access to large facilities.

Find out more about Starting Grants on the ERC website.

MSCA Individual Fellowships

Experienced researchers from across the world with a doctoral degree or at least four years’ full-time research experience by the time of the call deadline can apply. 

All research areas can be funded. MSCA Fellows come from a wide variety of disciplines – from physics to linguistics, and from health-sciences to mathematical modelling.

The grant provides an allowance to cover living, travel and family costs. In addition, the EU contributes to the training, networking and research costs of the fellow, as well as to the management and indirect costs of the project. The grant is awarded to the host organisation, usually a university, research centre or a company in Europe.

Find out more about Individual Fellowships on the MSCA website.

NERC Independent Research Fellowships

The NERC Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists, by giving all fellows five years' support, which will allow them sufficient time to develop their research programmes and to gain international recognition.

As part of this scheme, NERC will expand its fellowship networking and training activities, working with host institutions, to support the development of future leaders in NERC science.

To apply you must have no more than 8 years post-doctoral experience.

Find out more on the NERC website.

Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowships

The RAEng Research Fellowships are designed to promote research excellence in engineering. They provide support for early career post-doctoral researchers and encourage them to become future research leaders in engineering.

Applications are welcomed from outstanding researchers who have been awarded their PhD in the last four years. The scheme provides funding for five years to encourage the best researchers in engineering to become research leaders in their specialised areas. Research Fellowships must be held at a UK higher education institution/university.

Each application for Research Fellowships is capped at a maximum contribution from the Academy of £500,000 over the 5-year period, at 80% of full economic costs.

An additional £25,000 per annum is available for Engineering for Development Research Fellowship to develop international collaborations in order to deliver the research outputs and build pathways to positively impact or contribute to the sustainable economic or social development of a country or countries on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list. 

Each host institution can submit a maximum of three applications so please contact your proposed host institution as early as possible and certainly well ahead of the deadline for submission of applications. Departments may have internal processes to select which candidates to support and the timetables for these vary.

Find out more about Research Fellowships and Engineering for Development Research Fellowships on the RAEng website.

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

This scheme is for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.

The scheme provides funding for five years. It covers:

  • The applicant’s salary costs up to a maximum of £39,708.70, estate costs and indirect costs for five years. Under the full economic costing model, 80% of these costs will be met by The Royal Society;
  • Research expenses (up to £13,000 for the first year and up to £11,000 annually thereafter).

Find out more information on The Royal Society’s website.

Royal Society University Research Fellowship

The University Research Fellowship (URF) scheme aims to provide outstanding scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen field, with the opportunity to build an independent research career. Those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships. This scheme is very competitive.

Subjects covered by URF: Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. The Royal Society does not cover clinical medicine (such as patient orientated research and clinical trials), social sciences or humanities, other than when working in partnership with organisations.

Find out more information on The Royal Society’s website.

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship

The Ernest Rutherford Fellowships will enable early career researchers with clear leadership potential to establish a strong, independent research programme. They will encourage talented researchers in UK universities to remain in the country and at the same time attract outstanding overseas researchers to the UK.

Each Fellowship will last for five years, with 11 being offered in the 2018/19 round. The aim is to support future scientific leaders to establish a strong, independent research programme.

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are intended for early career researchers who do not have an academic position.

Applicants should read the competency profile to determine the skills, knowledge and experience needed to apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship.

You are advised to contact your proposed host department as early as possible and certainly well ahead of the deadline for submission of applications. Departments may have internal processes to select which candidates to support and the timetables for these vary.

Information on these 5-year fellowships, including the application procedure and eligibility, can be found on the STFC website.

Visit the STFC website

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships

This cross-UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) scheme will support early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments including research councils' institutes and laboratories.

The FLF scheme welcomes applications from both UK and international applicants and individuals should use the person specification to assess and justify their suitability for the scheme. The support of the institution will be a critical component of all fellowships which will enable the fellow to transition to or establish their research/innovation independence in any area supported by UKRI.

The support offered will be long-term and flexible and will provide comprehensive package of support, including the fellow's salary and justified research, staff and training costs, with seven years of support available on a 4+3 model, with a review in year four.

There will be six calls for these fellowships; two calls per year between 2018-19 and 2020-21 (financial years), typically awarding at least 100 fellowships per call across UKRI's remit.  

If you wish to submit an expression of interest to the next call please contact your proposed host department as early as possible for advice on their internal selection deadlines.

Partly funded fellowships

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship

This scheme - funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science - provides the opportunity for highly qualified young researchers to conduct cooperative research with leading research groups in universities and other Japanese institutions.

The scheme provides subsistence funding as well as a settling-in allowance, a return air ticket and insurance cover. The Japanese host institution may also apply for a research grant of up to ¥1.5 million per year.

JSPS will provide funding for visits of 12-24 months.

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships

Offering 50% match-funding for the salary costs of three-year academic research position, this scheme enables early career researchers to undertake a significant piece of publishable work.

Applicants must have a track record of research, but should not have held an established academic appointment in the UK. Fellowships can be held at universities or at other institutions of higher education in the UK.

Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowships

Research Fellowships are open to experienced researchers, particularly those who are or have been prevented by routine duties from completing a programme of original research. Awards are not limited to those holding appointments in higher education.

The maximum value of a fellowship is £50,000. The awards provide research expenses over and above normal living costs and/or provide a contribution towards reasonable replacement costs or loss of earnings.

Newton International Fellowships

The Newton International Fellowship scheme offers funding support for two years at UK research institutions. The grant provides £24,000 per annum for subsistence costs, and up to £8,000 per annum research expenses, as well as a one-off payment of up to £2,000 for relocation expenses.

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.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Fellowships

Research Fellowships

Research Fellowships in science and engineering are intended to give scientists or engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity for early independence with the objective of contributing to the knowledge base required for a healthy and innovative national culture.

Applicants must have less than three years' postdoctoral experience. Eight awards are available per year. Candidates proposing projects in applied science and engineering are particularly encouraged to apply.

Industrial Fellowships

These prestigious fellowships are awarded to selected, exceptional graduates with the potential to make an outstanding contribution to industry for a programme of doctoral level research. They are open to company employed candidates or nominated Doctoral Centre or CASE candidates.