2009/2010 Call for postdoctoral fellowships
in theoretical physics, theoretical computer science,
mathematical science and cross-disciplinary interfaces
Closing Date and time: 4pm Wednesday 26th August 2009
EPSRC is offering Postdoctoral Fellowships in theoretical physics, theoretical computer
sciences, mathematical sciences and cross-disciplinary interfaces to enable the most
talented new researchers to establish an independent research career, shortly or
immediately after completing a PhD. The awards are for a period of up to three years
and cover only the salary costs of the Fellow, incidental equipment, travel and
subsistence. In addition, applicants are encouraged to take the opportunity to gain a
wider research experience by changing host organisations and to demonstrate very
clearly their ability to operate as independent researchers.
Programme Remits and Enquiries
All proposals should be submitted under the Postdoctoral Fellowships Call. Please include
a covering letter as an attachment to your application stating whether you think your
proposal should be considered as a physics, ICT, mathematical sciences or a cross-
disciplinary interfaces submission and to make reference to any identified signposted
areas: EPSRC will consider this when assigning applications to the appropriate
programme area. Proposals outside the specific remit of theoretical physics, theoretical
computer science, mathematical sciences or cross-disciplinary interfaces will be rejected
before peer review. Each programme has dedicated funds for this call and so proposals
will be considered in competition with the other proposals within that programme and not
across the whole fellowships call. If you are in doubt about whether your research falls
into the remit of the call in the four specified programme areas, or more widely within
EPSRC‟s remit, please send a short abstract (no more that one side of A4) and keywords
to the relevant programme contact.
Postdoctoral Fellowships in Theoretical Computer Science
Up to five fellowships will be on offer by the ICT programme in the next year.
Applications are welcomed from talented researchers working in the broad area of
Theoretical Computer Science. Proposals should contain a significant element of novel
theoretical work. For further information, please contact Dr Claire Hinchliffe
(Claire.Hinchliffe@epsrc.ac.uk) Tel: 01793 444 541.
Postdoctoral Fellowships in Theoretical Physics (supported by the Physical
Up to five Fellowships will be on offer to candidates whose research is within the remit of
EPSRC theoretical physics activities. This remit encompasses the areas of magnetism,
superconductivity, quantum fluids, plasmas, atomic, molecular and optical physics,
surface and interfaces, soft condensed matter physics and generic theoretical/modelling
studies. For further information please contact Miss Katherine Jarvis
(Katherine.Jarvis@epsrc.ac.uk) Tel: 01793 444137.
Postdoctoral Fellowships in Mathematical Sciences
Up to ten Fellowships will be awarded to candidates who can demonstrate excellence and
originality in research within the remit of Mathematical Sciences. The Mathematical
Sciences Programme encompasses all areas of novel mathematics (pure and applied),
probability & statistics and operational research. The programme would particularly
welcome applications covering the application of the mathematical sciences to EPSRC‟s
mission programmes, other disciplines and industry. For further information please
contact Dr Caterina Mora (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel: 01793 444162.
Postdoctoral Fellowships supported by the Cross-Disciplinary Interfaces
Up to 10 Fellowships are available to enable talented researchers with a PhD in a physical
science (Chemistry, Physics, Mathematical Sciences, Materials Science, Information and
Communication Technology) or any engineering discipline, to develop an independent
cross-disciplinary career. The majority of the novel research proposed must be within the
remit of EPSRC.
It is essential for applicants to demonstrate exposure to different research
environments over the course of the fellowship i.e. evidence that time will be spent in a
different research environment to the one they currently work in. This could include
moving universities, or spending part of the time at a different university (including an
internationally leading university), or spending time in another department within the
existing university. All applicants must demonstrate clear evidence that they will
conduct original and independent research over the course of the fellowship, and use it to
establish an independent research career. This is a key criterion of assessment.
Applications are restricted to two interfaces and there are specific requirements for each:
Physical sciences and/or engineering with the Life Sciences: Applications are only invited
from people with an existing multidisciplinary research background of working at this
interface. Examples include, but are not restricted to, applicants graduating from the
EPSRC LSI Doctoral Training Centres.
Physical sciences and/or engineering with the Social Sciences: Applications are invited
from people, either working at this interface, or wanting to move into the area
If you have any queries regarding the remit of this component of the call it is strongly
recommended that you contact Zoe Brown (email@example.com) Tel: 01793 444087.
2. Application Procedure
You are strongly advised to discuss your application with your host Research
Organisation as soon as possible, as you will not be able to submit it without
You should submit your proposal using the Research Councils‟ Joint electronic Submission
(Je-S) System (https://je-s.rcuk.ac.uk/). When adding a new proposal, you should
select Council „EPSRC‟, document type 'Fellowship Proposal' and the 'Postdoctoral
Research Fellowship' Scheme. On the Project Details page you should select
the 'Postdoctoral Fellowships 2010' Call.
The link at http://www.so.stfc.ac.uk/jes/jes1/RODetails(Web).pdf shows which research
organisations have registered to use Je-S. Please read the guidance on how to apply for a
Fellowship through Je-S, which is available on the EPSRC website (www.epsrc.ac.uk) and
Je-S online help (https://je-s.rcuk.ac.uk/jesHandBook/jesHelp.aspx).
Please ensure that in „My Details‟ in Je-S you have provided either your current
affiliation or an appropriate alternative postal address for correspondence.
Please remember to allow sufficient time for your host organisation‟s submission process
between submitting your proposal to them and the Call closing date. EPSRC must
receive your complete application from the host organization by 4 pm
on Wednesday 26th August 2009 (note that this call has been released two
weeks earlier than in 2008/09, with a closing date one month earlier than
2008/09, so please be aware of these new timescales).
There are two non-confidential documents you will need to obtain yourself, for
attachment to your proposal before you submit it to your proposed Host Organisation, for
onward submission to EPSRC:
A Host Research Organisation Statement of Support, which is likely to come from
your proposed Head of Department at the Host Organisation.
A personal „job‟ reference („personal review‟) from an academic who knows you
and your work.
Further guidance on completing the application form and Case for Support plus other
accompanying documentation can be found in this document, and in the Je-S online help.
The EPSRC Funding Guide
(http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/ResearchFunding/HowToApply/FundingGuide.htm) contains our
standard research Fellowship regulations. It is strongly recommended that you read all
the guidance thoroughly as applications that do not conform to the standard
requirements will be rejected. You must agree these timescales with the Host Research
Organisation. Please note that once you have submitted your application to your Host
Research Organisation you cannot edit it again. It is the Research Organisation that will
submit your application to EPSRC.
Announcement of call details 2 June 2009
Candidates discuss application with Host Research
Organisation, obtain Je-S password, identify and
June - August 2009
contact Personal Reviewer and prepare case for
Head of Department prepares the Host Organisation
Statement and sends it to the candidate to attach to
June - August 2009
their proposal before it is submitted formally to the
Candidate completes Je-S form and supporting case
and submits to Host Research Organisation, including
the personal reviewers completed report form and the
Host Organisation Statement
Proposal sent to central administration of host
Mid August 2009
Proposal received by EPSRC By 4pm 26 August 2009
September 2009 – December
Proposal sent to EPSRC Reviewers
Sifting Panel decide applicants to go to interview Late December 2009
Interview Panel Late January 2010
Awards announced February - April 2010
Awards started From April 2010
3. Fellowship Eligibility, Duration, Location and Resources
Eligibility and duration
There are no nationality or age restrictions on who may apply for a Fellowship. Potential
candidates should have up to but no more than three years postdoctoral research
experience by the start date of the fellowship. This period is calculated from the date of
the PhD viva to the proposed start date of the fellowship.
EPSRC normally expects Fellowships to start on/around 1 October of the year in which
they are awarded. However, a Fellow may start the award up to 6 months earlier or later
than 1 October, in some exceptional circumstances, which will be considered on an
individual basis. All Fellowships must start within the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March
2011. The Host Organisation must notify EPSRC, by return of a starting certificate, of
the actual start date, which will activate payment. The Fellow should contact the Host
Organisation‟s research grants administration office to inform them of the actual start
You should not apply for more than one EPSRC Fellowship scheme in any one year.
Postdoctoral Fellowships cannot begin until a PhD has been obtained. For successful
candidates who have not yet completed their PhDs, the award is conditional on gaining a
PhD by 31 December 2010.
Fellowships will be awarded for an equivalent of up to 3 years full-time effort.
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships may be held on a part-time basis (minimum 50%).
Where 50% part-time arrangements are considered the equivalent duration would spread
over a maximum of 6 years. If you wish to hold the award on a part-time basis, you
must state this on the application form and give the % time (between 50 and 100%).
You cannot hold a Fellowship and have other employment at the same time, and Fellows
are expected to devote their whole working time to research. A maximum of one day a
week may, however, be spent on teaching and demonstrating, including all planning and
Fellowships can be held at any UK University or similar Higher Education Institution (HEI)
that is eligible for Research Council funding. Mobility is an important means of enhancing
scientific knowledge and professional development; and fellowships offer the ideal
opportunity to experience mobility by seeking a host institution where you did not
undertake your PhD. If geographic mobility is not practical you should justify this in your
case for support and highlight how you will demonstrate your independence and how you
will enhance your scientific knowledge and professional development in other ways. You
are advised to discuss this before applying with the programme contact.
Up to a maximum of 12 months of your Fellowship may be spent in another appropriate
academic Research Organisation in the UK or overseas, or in industry. You must spend
the first 6 months and last 6 months of the fellowship based at the UK institution where
the Fellowship is held. The Fellow will be an employee of the university at which the
Fellowship is held. We expect that you should be treated as an independent researcher
and not as a Research Assistant. The Host Organisation must accept all the normal
responsibilities of an employer, and ensure that adequate facilities are made available for
the research proposed.
The Host Organisation should confirm the willingness of the Department to host you,
should an award be made. The Organisation should describe the support it intends to
offer, including advanced training, mentoring and access to resources in the required
Host Organisation Statement.
The award includes funding for basic salary and provides for the employers contribution
towards National Insurance and superannuation. It also provides additional funding for
small items of equipment including computers, software, travel and subsistence
expenses, such as visits to collaborators and conferences, and small amounts of research
and technical effort. For salary details, please contact the Host Research Organisation
who will be able to provide guidance. Please note that payment of salary and relevant
supporting costs are administered via the organisation hosting the award. You should
not include requests for financial resources for research staff or technical support, which
should be provided if required as part of the Host Organisation‟s contribution to your
proposed project. Neither should you include Co-Investigators or formal Project Partners
in your Je-S form: the fellowship is intended to be obviously and unambiguously led by
the proposed fellow, and be submitted solely in that person‟s name.
We expect that Fellows will spend time in other Research Organisations, and you should
request appropriate resources in support of this venture. All resources (except indirect
and estate costs) will need to be justified and peer review will be asked to comment on
them. Full justification of your requested salary level must be provided in the Justification
Fellowship post-award issues
Postdoctoral Fellows are not eligible to apply for research grant support, but can apply for
computing time at national facilities as part of the fellowship.
A degree of mobility during the course of a Research Fellowship may be beneficial. Any
proposal to transfer the Fellowship to a different Organisation would need to be discussed
with the existing and proposed Organisations. Extensions to Postdoctoral Fellowship
awards are not permitted, except in extenuating circumstances. Before making an
application for an extension, please contact EPSRC for guidance. At the end of a
Fellowship a Final Report will be required to provide information on the financial
outcomes of the grant.
4. Required Documentation
A cover letter from the applicant, Case for Support, Diagrammatic Workplan,
Justification of Resources, List of Publications, Impact Plan, CV, Host
Organisation Statement and your Personal Reviewer (“job reference”) report
must accompany your Fellowship application.
Case for Support (maximum 8 sides of A4)
The Case for Support is a self-contained description of the proposed research and
contains two parts. The proposal must contain an original research project within the
remit of the four EPSRC Programme areas identified earlier. Proposals which are simply
an extension of your PhD project will be given low priority.
Part 1: Previous research track record (maximum two sides of A4).
provide a summary of results and conclusions of your recent research. Reference
should not be limited to EPSRC funded work. Details of any relevant past
collaborative work with another Research Organisation, industry or other beneficiaries
should be given;
indicate where your previous work has contributed to the UK‟s competitiveness or to
improving the quality of life;
outline the specific expertise available for the research at the Host Organisation and
that of any associated organisations and beneficiaries;
where appropriate, include details of previous visits or collaborations with overseas
give an estimated award date if you have not yet completed your PhD.
Part 2: A description of the proposed research and its content (maximum six
sides of A4 including diagrams). It should include the following sections:
Introduce the topic of the research and explain its academic and industrial context;
Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of past and current work in the subject
area both in the UK and abroad, including referencing to key papers.
Programme and methodology
Identify the overall aims of the research to be undertaken in the period of the
Fellowship and the individual measurable objectives against which the outcome of the
work should be assessed;
Detail the methodology to be used in pursuit of the research and justify this choice;
Explain why the proposed project is of sufficient timeliness and novelty to warrant
consideration for support;
Describe the programme of work, indicating the research to be undertaken and the
milestones that can be used to measure its progress;
Explain how the project will be managed, particularly if others will be involved.
Relevance to beneficiaries
Identify the potential impact of the proposed work;
Show who is likely to benefit from the proposed research. If the benefits do not
directly relate to wealth creation and/or to improving the quality of life, give details of
other beneficiaries and explain their importance – other research workers are
Indicate any collaborations with beneficiaries and explain their role in the project.
Justification for the Fellowship
Indicate how the Fellowship will aid your research career development as an
If a duration of less than three years is requested, please outline your reasons;
If the Fellowship is to be held at the same Research Organisation that you currently
work in, please outline the reasons for remaining there;
If you wish to hold the Fellowship at your current Research Organisation you should
justify why this is an appropriate place to conduct your research;
Give a summary of how the proposed work differs from that of your PhD/current
Dissemination and exploitation
Indicate the proposed dissemination and technology transfer routes and explain how
the transfer of knowledge will take place to both beneficiaries and the general public;
Identify what mechanisms are in place for identification, protection and subsequent
exploitation of any significant exploitable results which may arise from the research
(including details of any specific collaborative agreement, where relevant). The host
organisation Technology Transfer Office (or equivalent) may be able to assist you in
The Case for Support should be clear, concise and uncluttered with technical jargon.
Font size 10 is the minimum font that is acceptable and page margins should be at least
2 cm. Applications containing a Case for Support exceeding the page limit, or
not adhering to the specified format, will not be considered.
Impact Plan (up to two sides A4)
The economic impact plan is an attachment to the case for Support and describes how
the potential impacts of your research will be realized. Full details about how to
complete the impact summary and academic beneficiaries sections of the application
form and how to write an impact plan are provided on the EPSRC web site at:
Justification of resources (maximum one side A4)
This should be a narrative description of the need for the resources requested. Proposals
not providing such a narrative cannot be put to peer review, and may therefore be
rejected. Note that justification of resource needs must cover all of the Directly Incurred
elements of your proposal, including the effort and cost of the Fellow. Guidance is at:
Diagrammatic Workplan (maximum one side A4)
Significant milestones within the project should be illustrated with a simple diagrammatic
workplan, e.g. a PERT or Gantt chart.
CV (maximum two sides A4)
You must attach to your application a brief CV (maximum 2 sides A4). Please include
information on your academic and employment history. The dates of any degrees
obtained and the viva date for your PhD should also be given.
List of Publications (no page limit)
Papers should be grouped by:
Journal Papers: Refereed
Journal Papers: Not Refereed
Conference Papers: Refereed
Conference Papers: Not Refereed
Other Papers etc
Please place an asterisk beside any papers of which you were the lead author. The most
significant papers (up to a max of 10) should be highlighted in italics. Please include the
number of times the paper has been cited in other publications, if this is considered
important within your area of research. Any references cited that are not your own must
be included within the page limit of the Case for Support.
Letters of Support (no page limit)
Letters of Support should be included as attachments from any partner organisations that
are making a contribution, either direct or indirect, to the project. These organisations
must be named on the application as Project Partners. Project partners must not be
drawing financial resources from the EPSRC grant: they are designated as contributors to
the research, and not financial beneficiaries. Letters of Support should only be included
from Project Partners named on the application or any Research Organisations that you
intend to visit during the Fellowship. Letters of Support from anyone else will not be
accepted. The letter from each partner should:
confirm its support for the research;
confirm the contributions to be made;
outline the possible benefits to the organisation.
Personal Reviewers Report
In addition to several expert reviewers who will be consulted by EPSRC, you are expected
to obtain and submit a personal reviewer‟s (a “job reference”) report which will provide
comment on the qualities of your proposal. This reviewer‟s report will not be confidential
since you will see it before you submit it to the host organisation with your proposal: it is
absolutely analogous to the personal reference you might normally obtain if you were
applying for a job, and it is not designated as part of EPSRC‟s peer review processes.
Your personal reviewer should be an expert in the research field and/or be able to
provide an expert view on the value and benefits to users of your research. They should
also be able to give an assessment of your attributes as a researcher (including for
example, personal qualities such as communication skills, degree of scientific insight,
originality of innovative ideas, ability to work as an independent researcher, etc).
An international reviewer may be used. Your prospective Head of Department, who will
have submitted his or her own Host Organisation Statement, should not be used. You
may use your PhD supervisor as your personal reviewer, assuming this is not the same
person as your prospective Head of Department.
The personal reviewer should submit the completed form to you for attachment to your
proposal before submission to the host organisation. The Personal Reviewer‟s Form is
available from the EPSRC website at
5. Assessment process
Applications will be assessed by peer review in two stages.
We will endeavour to obtain at least two reviewers' reports from expert members of the
EPSRC College. The applications and their associated reviewers' reports are examined by a
sifting panel drawn from the EPSRC College, which will draw up an interview list based on
them. You will have an opportunity to respond in writing to the EPSRC reviewers reports,
just before the sifting panel meeting. Candidates not selected for interview are informed as
soon as possible.
At the interview, candidates will be asked to give a 10 minute presentation of their
proposed research, followed by a 20 minute question and answer session with the
interview panel. The interview panel will consist of 4-5 members drawn from the
relevant community. The members of the interview panel might not be expert in your
particular field of research. The criteria for assessment of proposals by sifting and
interview panels are:
Quality, originality and potential impact of the research proposed;
Qualities of the individual as an independent researcher;
Intellectual ability of the candidate;
Awareness of the broader context surrounding the proposed research;
Timeliness of the Fellowship and how it will aid the Fellow‟s career development;
The candidate‟s ability to plan and manage resources;
Ability to communicate to a generalist audience.
The LSI fellowships will be assessed in relation to the significance of the life sciences
interaction. Where „signposting‟ particular topics has been identified by programmes
(section 1) in this call, such proposals will be ranked separately from the non-signposted
proposals at the respective peer review meetings.
6. Guidance for the Hosting Research Organisation and Heads
of Hosting Departments
These notes provide specific guidance to the Head of Department and the hosting
research organisation‟s role in handling a candidate‟s application for a Postdoctoral
The Head of Department (on behalf of the research organisation) will need to:
Accept the candidate‟s application and agree to host the fellowship;
Provide information and advice to the candidate on completing the application and
Complete the Host Organisation Statement for the candidate to attach before
submitting the proposal.
Timescales for Applications
The closing date at EPSRC for applications is 4pm on Wednesday 26th August 2009.
All potential candidates will be encouraged to begin consultation with their Host Research
Organisation as soon as possible, in order to obtain the relevant information.
Postdoctoral Fellowships are highly sought after awards, and as such the competition is
intense. We would encourage the host research organisation to submit only
their most outstanding candidates and take into consideration the total number
of fellowships available (predicted to be around 30 across the four programme areas,
with an overall „funding rate‟ – based on previous exercises – of about 15%).
In particular the Mathematical Sciences Programme will not accept more than
SEVEN applications per host research organisation submitted in the remit area of
EPSRC‟s mathematical sciences programme, irrespective of whether they are submitted
from departments outside the mathematical sciences by research organisations.
Candidates should check our website for clarification of the programme‟s remit.
Guidance on Completing the Host Organisation Statement
Postdoctoral fellowship proposals should be accompanied by a statement from the host
university, typically from the applicant‟s prospective head of department. The statement
should describe the commitment the university is making to the establishment of the
fellow‟s research career and Confirm the prospective fellow‟s appointment details. The
career development commitments made by the university to the new fellow should be
over and above the usual salary and premises costs provided. Please aim to answer the
following questions in the statement:
How do the applicant‟s expertise and interests fit current and future departmental
What mentoring arrangements for „embedding‟ the new fellows at the Research
Organisation are in place?
What development and training opportunities will be provided?
What, if any, support will be provided to allow the applicant to develop their
research interests if this proposal is successful?
What university appraisal process has the proposal been through before
The host organisation statement forms an important part of the assessment of the
fellowship proposal. Proposals without a supporting statement, or with a statement that
does not give enough evidence of support from the host university, will be rejected.
The statement must not exceed 10,000 characters and should be on University or
Departmental headed paper. When the statement is complete it will need to be sent to
the applicant to attach to their proposal.
NOTE that the non-confidential „Host Organisation Statement‟ has replaced the previous
confidential „Head of Department‟ Statement. There are no longer any confidential
attachments to postdoctoral fellowship proposals submitted to EPSRC via Je-S.
Your University‟s Administration office should be able to help with advice and guidance on
Full Economic Costs and the Je-S System. If you have any other enquiries related to
Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme, please direct them towards the contacts identified
earlier in section 1 of this document.