Information for applicants

Scope

  • Imperial College Research Fellowships are intended for post-doctoral researchers of demonstrated ability, who are at the early stages of their research career and who have the potential to establish 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 established fellowships.  This would include an EPSRC Early Career fellowship or an MRC Career Development Award
  • At the end of an ICRF fellowship, fellows should 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 are invited from candidates from Imperial College London, the UK and worldwide in all subject areas that have a strong research base at Imperial College London within the Faculties of Engineering, Medicine and Natural Sciences and the Business School.  Note that the Department of Mathematics, Department of Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering,  Department of Earth Science and Engineering and the Dyson School of Design Engineering (as of July 2019) are not supporting applications to the ICRF competition and candidates interested in applying for a fellowship to these Departments are invited to explore other opportunities.
    • AstraZeneca may invite applications in specific areas. Details will follow in due course. Please contact Ms Stephanie Morris with any further queries:
    • Candidates may apply for a fellowship with a co-sponsor from the Francis Crick Institute.  Candidates who wish to discuss this opportunity further or who are seeking guidance on identifying a co-sponsor from the Francis Crick Institute should contact Crick Imperial.
  • Fellowships must be based at Imperial College London at any of its campuses
  • 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 encouraged to apply for additional sources of funding to allow them to build further their research programme. Fellows are also provided with career development and cohort activities
  • Where appropriate, necessary licences and regulatory approval should be obtained prior to the start of the 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.  This does not apply to AZ ICRFs, as an industrial placement forms part of the fellowship 
  • Salary is provided for four years within the Imperial College Academic and Research pay scale 16 (2020/21 pay scales are yet to be released; however for reference, the 2018/19 pay scales for this grade was £37,486 per annum). Incremental progression through the salary scale will be determined in accordance with procedures governing the Research Staff group
  • A contribution toward research and travel costs of £30,000 for the 4 year duration may be requested, increasing to £45,000 if fully justified by the nature of the research.
  • Awards are fixed for four years

Eligibility

  • 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
  • Applicants should have a PhD and will normally have no more than four years postdoctoral research experience in an academic environment (calculated from the PhD viva to the application deadline). Exceptions to this can 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 
  • 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 Faculties of Natural Sciences and Medicine, a PhD must have been submitted before an application is made and the PhD must be awarded before the start of the fellowship

Sponsorship

  • Each application must be supported by a sponsor who is a senior, permanent member of staff within the Academic and Research Family at Imperial, most likely a Principal Investigator
  • Sponsors are limited to support a single fellowship application in each competition and may sponsor one Imperial College Research Fellow at any one time
  • 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
  • Applicants are required to move from their existing sponsor or supervisor to a new sponsor, to increase both their independence and their breadth of experience
  • Where an interdisciplinary project is proposed, it is possible to include additional sponsors but there is a requirement for a lead sponsor.  Both sponsors are required to complete Section 3 of the application form each. Please duplicate this section, as needed
  • Applicants may be co-sponsored by staff of the Francis Crick Institute. In these cases, an Imperial College Sponsor will still be required and such co-sponsors will need to commit to fulfil the following obligations: 
    • 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 covered.  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.
    • Provide access to relevant equipment and laboratory space as described in the application form
    • Note that approval for the application must be sought from Crick Finance
  • Applicants may also be co-sponsored by AstraZeneca. In these cases an Imperial Sponsor will still be required and such co-sponsors will need to commit to fulfil the following obligations:
    • 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
    • Provide access to relevant equipment and laboratory space as appropriate for the applicant’s research proposal
  • As with Imperial sponsors, Crick and AstraZeneca 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.

Review Process

  • 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 an 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 researchfellowships@imperial.ac.uk for further guidance 

Applications will be reviewed by a three stage process:

  • Stage 1: Faculty Review Panel. Once received, applications that fit the eligibility criteria and contain all the necessary signatures 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.  The Review Panel will select candidates for interview based on the following: standing of the applicant, scientific merit of the proposed research, the appropriateness of the sponsor and host laboratory, and the benefit of the scheme to the candidate.  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.  At this stage host departments 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 and availability of funds.

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

Timeline for 2020 start dates

Closing date for applications23:59 Tuesday 27 August 2019 (BST)
Shortlisting October 2019
Interviews Nomember 2019
Results of Selection Committee December 2019
Start date for Fellowships Between 1 August and 1 December 2020

How to Apply

Candidates who are interested in applying for an Imperial College Research Fellowship must contact their proposed sponsor and proposed sponsor department as soon as possible, to discuss their intentions to apply. Applicants should complete and submit an online application form via the College’s careers website. The deadline for submission is 23:59 (BST) Tuesday 27 August 2019.

The application process consists of 6 steps.  One confidential reference letter is also required.

Step 1: Applicants must complete step 1, which covers personal details and contact information

Step 2: Applicants must complete step 2, which covers application details, Head of Department approval, instructions for Letters of support and information on the funding request. The justification for the requested funding should be provided in the ‘Research Proposal’ section of Step 3

Step 3: Applicants must upload the following attachments using the template forms found here.

  • Applicant details (required)
  • Imperial sponsor details (required)
    • Where an interdisciplinary project is proposed, it is possible to include additional sponsors but there is a requirement for a lead sponsor.  Both sponsors are required to complete a “Imperial sponsor details” form each
    • Note that this form must also be signed by the Head of the proposed host Department, as confirmation that the Department is willing to host the fellow, should the application be successful
  • Research Proposal (required)
  • Francis Crick Institute Co-Sponsor details (optional)
  • AstraZeneca Co-Sponsor details (optional)
  • Letters of support from research collaborators (optional)
    • Each application may be accompanied by letters of support from any research collaborators.  These are not essential, but will provide further information to the decision making committees and are therefore encouraged.  Any collaborators should be named in Step 2 of the online form and letters of support confirming the proposed collaboration must be uploaded here in Step 3. Where there are multiple letters, applicants are asked to combine these into a single PDF before uploading
    • Applicants are encouraged to utilise the accompanying checklist to ensure the necessary documentation has been uploaded.

Step 4: Applicants must complete step 4, which covers additional information including Right to work in the UK

Step 5: Applicants must complete step 5, which covers additional information including Criminal Records Checks and Diversity information

Step 6: To review and submit the application

Each application must also be accompanied by a confidential reference letter, usually from the applicant’s current institution. Where the current institution is Imperial, the reference letter must be provided by someone other than the proposed sponsor or host Head of Department. As this is a confidential letter, it must be submitted directly by the referee to the College at researchfellowships@imperial.ac.uk by 23:59 (BST) 27 August 2019. The letter will then be matched to the application by the ICRF Office.  

  • Please provide answers in English within the text boxes, keep within the dedicated margins, and do not exceed the word limit and page restrictions as indicated on the template forms 
  • Monetary values should be provided in pounds sterling
  • Please complete the form using Arial 10pt  
  • Applications without the required signatures will not be accepted. Signatures must be either original or electronic. Signatures that are a typed named only are not sufficient

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 will evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the impact factor of the journal where it is published. More information is available at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/.

The  Imperial College Research Fellowship call is for fellowships starting in 2020 is now CLOSED. The deadline for applications was Tuesday 27 August 2019.