The Imperial College Research Fellowship scheme seeks to recruit the highest calibre of early-career post-doctoral researchers from the UK and across the world, and support them to establish their independent research careers and become research leaders of the future.


Career stage Recently qualified post-doctorate transitioning towards research independence. This opportunity is equivalent to the British Academy’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and Wellcome Trust Henry Wellcome fellowship schemes. Candidates who hold or have held relatively early post-doctoral fellowships such as the EPSRC Doctoral Prize fellowship are eligible to apply. It is not expected that candidates will have previously held intermediate-level fellowships. This would include an EPSRC Early Career fellowship or an MRC Career Development Award.
Duration of funding Four years fixed
Level of funding In most cases, salary will be offered at the Imperial College Academic and Research pay scale 17 in the Research Associate salary band (2023/24 pay scales are yet to be released; however for reference, the 2021/22 pay scale for this grade was £41,593 per annum).  In exceptional circumstances, candidates may negotiate a higher starting salary, within the Research Associate salary band.  Pay and progression will be held in line with College pay and recognition policies. Up to £30,000 (or £45,000 if fully justified by the nature of the research) total toward research and travel costs 
Benefits Bespoke career development and cohort activities. In terms of work-life balance, we offer a generous holiday leave allowance, enhanced maternity provision at 18 weeks full-pay, and advice and support on childcare and eldercare through My Family Care.
Summary of the table's contents

Information for applicants

Who can apply

Imperial strives to ensure the diversity of our candidates and we reflect this ethos in the way we promote, recruit, and select people for the ICRF programme.  Diversity not only benefits Imperial but it positively helps the sector to better represent the communities that are served.  To that end, we encourage applications from people from a diverse range of backgrounds

  • The ICRF scheme supports the College's Academic Mission.  Fellows are expected to contribute to the development of Imperial's Academic Strategy Academic Strategy and cross-cutting sub-themes
  • Candidates should have a PhD. In exceptional cases, applicants applying to the Faculty of Engineering and Imperial College Business School are permitted to apply before the submission of the PhD, but any offer of funding will be dependent on the PhD being awarded before the start of the fellowship. For applications to the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Faculty of Medicine, a PhD must have been submitted before an application is made and the PhD must be awarded before the start of the fellowship
  • Candidates should have no more than four years post-doctoral research experience in an academic environment (calculated from the PhD viva to the application deadline.  Exceptions include discipline hopping, where there must still be less than four years post-doctoral research experience in the discipline of the proposed fellowship; career breaks and career changes, where time spent out of the academic research environment will not be counted in the four years.  Exceptions based on discipline hopping will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Candidates should contact should they wish to discuss further
  • There are no restrictions on nationality; however you will be required to provide evidence of your eligibility to work in the UK before commencing any fellowship offered

The following Departments are not supporting applications to the 2022 ICRF competition (for fellowships starting in 2023).  Candidates interested in applying for a fellowship to these Departments are invited to explore other opportunities.

  1. Department of Chemistry
  2. Department of Mathematics
  3. Department of Life Sciences
  4. Dyson School of Design Engineering
  5. Department of Earth Science and Engineering

Expectations of fellowship holders

  • Fellows are provided with career development and cohort activities, and are expected to engage with these opportunities
  • Where appropriate, fellows are expected to have obtained any necessary licences and regulatory approvals prior to the start of the fellowship
  • Fellows are encouraged to apply for additional sources of funding to allow them to build further their research programme
  • To allow fellows to focus on establishing their research, there are no obligatory teaching or administrative duties associated with these fellowships. However, if desired, such duties can be negotiated with the host department.  Fellows are advised to speak with their sponsor to discuss the value of and potential for teaching opportunities
  • Fellows may co-supervise PhD student(s) while undertaking this fellowship
  • Fellows may spend up to 12 months in total visiting other research institutions and/or in industry including overseas; the maximum time spent at any one institution being 6 months.  Where this is requested, evidence must be provided to reflect the partner’s willingness to host the fellow
  • Fellowships must be based at Imperial College London at any of its campuses or at fieldwork locations
  • At the end of the fellowship, fellows are expected to be able to show that they have the potential to be an independent leader in their area of research and have the skills and experience to apply for more advanced (intermediate level) funding schemes, such as the Royal Society University Research Fellowship, EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship and BBSRC David Phillips fellowship


  • Applications must be supported by a sponsor who is a senior, permanent member of staff within the Academic and Research Family at Imperial
  • Sponsors are limited to supporting a single fellowship application in each competition and may sponsor one Imperial College Research Fellow at any one time
  • Sponsors may be full-time or part-time members of staff.  Where a candidate is proposing to work with a sponsor who is employed part-time, the candidate must enlist the support of a second sponsor, so that they will have access to the equivalent of full-time sponsorship support
  • Applicants from Imperial are required to move from their existing sponsor/supervisor to a new sponsor for their ICRF, to increase both their independence and their breadth of experience
  • Sponsors are not obliged to accept a request for support.  If they choose not to support a potential applicant it is at the sponsor’s discretion if they choose to give feedback
  • Sponsors will be required to commit to and fulfil the following obligations with the support of their host Department:
    • Provide relevant equipment and laboratory space for the applicant’s research proposal and ensure that there is no additional cost burden on the College
    • Recognise that the fellowship is to promote the growth and independence of the applicant.  This includes mentorship activities and contributions to career development as well as appropriate assignation of authorship
    • Understand the funding provided to fellows does not fund the full economic cost of research, only the directly incurred costs of the research project will be provided. These are costs that are explicitly identifiable as arising from the conduct of the project, are charged at cash spend and supported by audit records
    • Ensure that, before any research funded by the fellowship commences and during the full award period, all the necessary legal and regulatory requirements in order to conduct the research are met, and all the necessary licences and approvals have been obtained
    • Undertake the statutory obligations of ending a fixed term contract which include support with redeployment or the funding of any redundancy costs
  • Where an interdisciplinary project is proposed, it is possible to include additional sponsors but there is a requirement for a lead sponsor

External co-sponsorship opportunities and co-funding opportunities

A small number of fellowship positions may be available with external co-sponsors or co-funders in particular

  • External co-sponsors may bring additional expertise, networking and outreach opportunities. As with Imperial sponsors, external co-sponsors are limited to supporting a single fellowship application in each competition and may co-sponsor one Imperial College Research Fellow at any one time.
  • External co-funders may bring an alternative source of funding support

For further queries, contact

Career development and cohort activities

The Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre provides a tailored programme of support for the ICRFs. This includes a Welcome Dinner, Development Day, CPD Day and 2-day funders retreat. ICRFs are also provided with 1:1 support from a member of the PFDC team. Other development opportunities include writers retreats, the ‘Managing your first research group’ and ‘Leadership in research’ programmes.

How to Apply

Applicant briefings (optional)

The Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre will be running ICRF briefings to help candidates prepare applications. Further details are below, including a sign-up link. The PFDC will be delivering a general session, as well as a women- and a BAME-specific session.

Step 1:  Contact proposed sponsor and proposed host department

Candidates interested in applying are required to contact their proposed sponsor and proposed host department as early as possible, to discuss their intentions to apply and to obtain information about any additional departmental deadlines and local processes. All applications made to the ICRF scheme will require Departmental approval, and so early contact will also give Departments the opportunity to consider and prepare for providing this approval. Candidates should refer to the departmental information below (see 'Imperial Departments and key contacts) for more information.

Step 2:  Submit application

Applications must be submitted via the College’s careers website.  The following forms will be required as part of your application.  The Department approval obtained in Step 1 must be recorded on the ‘Research Proposal and Budget’ form of the application material.‌

Candidates are encouraged to write in the first person and to avoid the use of gender pronouns.  Attachments uploaded as part of the application should be named in the following format ‘Applicant details_SURNAME’, ‘Imperial sponsor form_SURNAME’ etc. (rather than providing the first name, which can indicate gender)

Step 3: Confidential reference letter (Required)

  • Each application must be supported by two confidential reference letters. These are mandatory
  • One reference letter must be from the applicant's current institution. Where the current institution is Imperial, the letter must be provided by someone other than the proposed sponsor or proposed host Head of Department.
  • The second reference letter should be from a referee who is well placed to comment on the applicant's current abilities as a researcher
  • As these letters are confidential, they must be submitted directly by the referees to the ICRF Office ( by 23:59 (BST) 22 August 2022. Letters will then be paired with the relevant application by the ICRF Office
  • Candidates are encouraged to share this guidance with those providing reference letters, noting in particular the recommendation to use `they/them' language (rather than gender pronouns) or to refer to the candidate as `Dr SURNAME' (rather than providing the first name, which can indicate gender)
  • Applicants should use this section of the `Applicant details' form to provide the names of the referees, to aid the ICRF Office when matching the letters and application"

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring, promotion and research funding decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the impact factor of the journal where it is published More information is available on the research evaluation webpage.

Review Process

The ICRF scheme supports the College’s Academic Mission.  Fellows are expected to contribute to the development of Imperial’s Academic Strategy and cross-cutting sub-themes 

  • Preference will be given to candidates whose career trajectory demonstrates their suitability to this scheme and who are yet to be considered independent researchers, but are on track to gain this through the support and training that this fellowship opportunity offers
  • Candidates who have already demonstrated research independence, though a track-record of winning external fellowships (e.g. EPSRC Early Career Fellowship, BBSRC David Phillips fellowship) and grant funding, are not likely to be successful
  • Applicants who wish to discuss their suitability to this scheme are encouraged to contact the ICRF Office for further guidance

Applications will be reviewed by a three-stage process:

Stage 1: Faculty Review Panel. Once received, applications that are eligible and complete will be reviewed by one of four Review Panels (Faculty of Engineering; Faculty of Natural Sciences; Faculty of Medicine; and the Business School) depending on the host department of the named sponsor.  Review Panels will typically include a representative from the proposed host department.  The Review Panel will select candidates for interview based on the following criteria:

  1. Standing of the applicant
  2. Appropriateness of the sponsor and host laboratory
  3. Benefit of the scheme to the candidate
  4. Ability to communicate with a non-specialist audience
  5. Scientific merit of the proposed research
  6. Alignment to the Imperial Academic Strategy

Due to the expected volume of applications, Imperial is unable to provide feedback for the applications that are not selected for interview.

Stage 2: Faculty Interview Committee. Applicants who are selected by the Faculty Review Panels will be invited to present their proposal to the Faculty Interview Committee where they will be ranked in order of competitiveness.  For those applicants selected for interview, the host department representative(s) on the Faculty Interview Committee reserve the right to request up to two additional external references of their choice in support of the application. 

Stage 3: Imperial College Research Fellowship Selection Committee.  The final selection of fellows will take place at the Imperial College Research Fellowship Selection Committee based on Faculty ranking, competitiveness and availability of funds.

Consideration of the application by Imperial College London does not guarantee that support will be offered.

Key dates

  • Closing date for applications: Monday 22 August 2022 (23:59 BST)
  • Faculty Review Panel shortlisting: September to October 2022
  • Interviews: November 2022
  • Results of Selection Committee announced: December 2022
  • Start date for fellowships: between 1 August 2023 and 1 December 2023
  • It is not possible to defer offers of fellowships for future years

Imperial Departments and key contacts

Individuals interested in applying for an ICRF at Imperial must approach their proposed host department as early as possible, to discuss their intentions to apply and to acquire information about any additional departmental timelines and local processes.  Some Departments have also declared particular areas in which they would be willing to host a fellow or have established departmental processes and earlier deadlines.  Others have indicated that they will not accepting ICRF applications, at this time.

Faculty of Engineering


The Department is accepting enquiries related to all relevant research areas, with a particular interest in Zero-Emission Aircraft Technologies, Systems Engineering and Optimisation, and Physics-aware Machine Learning and Data Assimilation in Aerospace Engineering. Candidates interested in submitting an application should contact Charlotte Whitaker with a CV and brief paragraph outlining research interests by 31 July 2022 (General contact - Charlotte Whitaker)


Prospective applicants must submit the following to the Department before noon 22 July 2022 to be eligible for Departmental shortlisting: (1) CV, (2) Research plan (1 page), (3) Cover letter explaining: i) Why you would be a good candidate for ICRF and ii) why the Bioengineering Department is the best fitting host for your application (General contact -

Chemical Engineering

The Department of Chemical Engineering is accepting enquiries.  Please follow the College guidelines to apply. Please ensure to seek signature from the Head of Department by 12 August 2022. The Department will review all applications and invite selected candidates for interviews in September. Following the interview, only one applicant will be put forward to Faculty and College panel for review (General contact – Anusha Sri-Pathmanathan)

Civil & Environmental

The Department is accepting application enquiries and will be performing a pre-application review stage.  Candidates must submit a (1) CV and (2) completed ‘Research Proposal and Budget’ form to Sarah Willis by 5pm (UK time) 5 August 2022, for departmental review (General contact – Sarah Willis)


The Department of Computing is accepting enquiries related to all its research areas, as listed here (General contact – Professor Peter Pietzuch, Director of Research)

Faculty of Engineering - part 2

Dyson Engineering

The Department is not accepting ICRF applications, at this time

Earth Science & Engineering

The Department is not accepting ICRF applications, at this time

Electrical & Electronic

The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering is accepting fellowship application enquiries.  The Department will be performing a pre-application review stage. Candidates must submit a (1) CV and (2) near complete application by Friday 12 August 2022, for departmental review. The Department will allow multiple submissions, but anticipates supporting only one final candidate after Faculty and College reviews (General contact – Rob Millwood)


The Department is accepting fellowship application enquiries (General contact – Claire Tibble)

Mechanical Engineering

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is accepting fellowship application enquiries. Candidates wishing to apply for a fellowship hosted by the Department of Mechanical Engineering should check our website and consider a potential Department sponsor. We next expect to close our application process for the main fellowships (e.g. ICRF, RAEng and EPSRC Open Fellowships) in mid-May 2022 and to interview candidates around June 2022. Applications after this date will only be considered for external candidates on a case by case basis. Applicants pursuing cutting-edge research in the areas of Robotics, AI, Future Mobility, Energy, Nuclear, and Sustainable Consumption and Manufacturing are encouraged to apply. Please contact Nina Hancock for general queries.

Faculty of Medicine

Brain Sciences

Candidates must contact the department before the end of the day on Monday 25 July 2022 to indicate their intention to apply and to receive any department-specific information (General contact – Paula Kirby)

Immunology & Inflammation

Candidates must inform the department of their intention to apply before Monday 25 July 2022 (General contact – Dania Grant-Serroukh)

Infectious Disease

Candidates must contact the department before the end of the day on Monday 25 July 2022 to indicate their intention to apply and to receive any department-specific information (General contact – Paula Kirby)

Institute of Clinical Sciences

The Institute of Clinical Sciences is accepting fellowship application enquiries (General contact – Peter Norsworthy)

Faculty of Medicine - part 2

Metabolism, Digestion and Repro

Candidates must inform the department of their intention to apply before Monday 25 July 2022 (General contact – Dania Grant-Serroukh)


The National Heart and Lung Institute is accepting fellowship application enquiries.  Candidates to NHLI are required to submit a draft application, with a detailed and complete ‘Section 1: Application Details’ section to act as a CV, to the NHLI by 18 July 2022 (General contact –

School of Public Health

The School of Public Health is accepting fellowship application enquiries (General contact – Lyndsey Pallant)

Surgery and Cancer

Candidates and/or their sponsor should contact the Department as soon as possible to indicate their intention to apply and receive any department-specific information. The HoD approval and signature request must be submitted to Rita Carvalho before Monday 25 July – please submit the final version of your application form" (General contact – Rita Carvalho)

Faculty of Natural Sciences

Centre for Environmental Policy

The Department is accepting enquiries addressing the human dimensions of environmental problem solving related to the CEP research areas in environmental, energy, food and human security. The Department will be performing a pre-application review stage and candidates interested in submitting an application should contact Ms Shital Desai with a CV and brief paragraph outlining the proposed research proposal and budget by 31st July 2022 (General contact –


The Department is not accepting ICRF applications, at this time

Life Sciences

The Department is not accepting ICRF applications, at this time


The Department is not accepting ICRF applications, at this time


The Department is accepting fellowship application enquiries related to the following research areas. Each Research Group will support one application.  Applicants are reminded to contact their proposed sponsor and department as early as possible to discuss their intention to apply (General contact – Louise Hayward)"

Business School

The Business School particularly welcomes fellowship applications that relate to its strategic themes (Digital Transformation; Entrepreneurship; Financial and Institutional Resilience; Health Management and Policy; Sustainability) or which afford fellows the opportunity to collaborate across the College’s faculties (General contact – Ross Clark)