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Independent Research Fellowships

We are currently inviting expressions of interest for Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships, with a deadline of 8th November. Please apply on the google form

The Department of Chemistry at York offers an outstanding environment for researchers looking to establish and develop their career by way of an independent research fellowship:

  • We combine strong research performance and income with excellence in teaching;
  • Our researchers have access to a wide range of facilities and equipment;
  • We were the first academic department in the UK to win Athena SWAN Gold in 2007 (renewed in 2010, 2015, and 2018);
  • The University of York offers an award-winning programme of training for researcher development.

We have an excellent track record in hosting fellowships and helping independent fellows develop their research career and we are keen to attract ambitious researchers to join our Department. Case studies of current and former fellows are available on the Case Studies page.  

More information from the University can also be found on the Fellowships at York page or the Fellowships Wiki (internal users only). 

How to Apply

How to Apply

We invite expressions of interest from potential fellowship candidates at four specific points throughout the year. An expression of interest should include the following: 

  • your up to date CV with a full publication list
  • a draft research proposal - this will either be requested as 2-3 or 5-6 sides of A4, with references excluded from the page limits
  • a short statement setting out your reasons for wanting to base your research at York and how you fit in within the remit of your chosen fellowship scheme

High quality fellowship applications require time to develop and to undergo vigorous peer review. In general, we require that any expression of interest for department support needs to be received a minimum of 3 months before the funder deadline. The next submission deadline is 8th November 2021 - please apply using the Application Form

Prior to submitting an application for support, please contact the Chemistry Research Support Office to enquire about funders, schemes, eligibility and suitability. We would also advise making initial contact with a member of our academic staff directly to discuss your proposed research and how it aligns with existing research in Chemistry at York.

Evaluation Process

Each expression of interest is evaluated by a panel of academics on the basis of: 

  • scientific merit
  • alignment of the proposed research with our research themes
  • eligibility of the candidate for the proposed funding scheme/s

Candidates who are successful at the expression of interest stage will be invited to present and discuss their research ideas, either in person or remotely. A final decision regarding departmental support will be made following these discussions.

Application Form

Application Form 

The table below outlines the EoI submission deadlines for each Independent Fellowship scheme. The next deadline is on 8th November 2021 - please apply using the application form.

Fellowship SchemeFunder DeadlineSubmission DeadlineProposal Length
Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships* Feb 2022 8th Nov 2021 2-3
Wellcome Early-Career Awards Feb 2022 8th Nov 2021 2-3

EPSRC Open Fellowships

May 2022 Feb 2022 5-6

BBSRC David Phillips Fellowships

May 2022 Feb 2022 5-6

EPSRC Open Fellowships

Sep 2022 May 2022 5-6
NERC Independent Research Fellowships Oct 2022 May 2022 5-6

Royal Society University Research Fellowships

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

Sep 2022 May 2022 2-3

Wellcome Early-Career Awards

Nov 2022 May 2022 2-3

EPSRC Open Fellowships Dec 2021 Sep 2022 5-6
ERC Starting Grant Jan 2022 Sep 2022 5-6

*Dependent on match funding availability

Semi-independent Postdoctoral Fellowships are also available but these require sponsorship from an academic member of staff. These include EPSRC Postdoctoral FellowshipsBBSRC Discovery Fellowships1851 Research Fellowships, and MSCA Postdoctoral FellowshipsTo apply for these, please make initial contact with a member of our academic staff. If they consider your research proposal to be a suitable fit with their research interests then they will seek the support of the Academic Group Leader before inviting you to submit an expression of interest to the Chemistry Research Support Office. This EoI should be received no later than four weeks before the application deadline of your chosen fellowship. 

Why Chemistry at York?

Why Chemistry at York?

1. Excellence in research and teaching

The Department of Chemistry is a large and successful department in an attractive University with an excellent reputation for teaching and research). The excellence of Chemistry at York has been recognised in our league table rankings - 3rd in the Guardian University Guide 2019 and the Times Good University Guide 2019, and 6th in the Complete University Guide 2019

We have about 60 members of academic staff including five Fellows of the Royal Society and several national and international prize winners, contributing to a dynamic and thriving department. There are over 620 undergraduate students, over 160 graduate students (mostly studying for PhD degrees) and more than 70 postdoctoral researchers. We have a wide range of facilities and well-equipped laboratories, some very recently extended and modernised, providing an excellent environment for both teaching and research; £35M has been spent on new buildings and equipment in the last seven years.

2. Broad-ranging support throughout fellowship application process

The Department of Chemistry is committed to supporting our fellowship applicants at each stage of the application process. 

Assistance from an experienced academic staff member will include:

  • Advice on the development of the scientific case for your research proposal, including coordinating an internal peer-review process
  • Help as necessary with resource planning including the identification of available departmental equipment and resources
  • Draft text for institutional letters of support and other necessary support documentation

Assistance from research support staff will include:

  • Identification of funding schemes and assessment of eligibility
  • Help with understanding funder requirements
  • Resource planning and costing
  • Liaising with the University of York research office

Letters of support from relevant staff (e.g. academic sponsor/mentor, Head of Department) will be provided.

3. Commitment to equality and diversity: Athena SWAN Gold

The Athena SWAN Gold Award for promoting women in science was won by the Department of Chemistry in 2007 and renewed in 2010 and 2015. Ours was the first Gold award made in this scheme. The Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research. 

As a Department we strive to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We aim to ensure that there is a supportive and egalitarian culture at all levels and across all staff groups. We promote good practice and a strong culture of equality in higher education. We offer a set of family-friendly practices including flexible working.

4. Strong track record of supporting independent fellows

The Department of Chemistry at York has significant experience and history in hosting research fellowships, and many of our former fellows have gone on to successful academic careers, here and elsewhere. The Department provides support for all categories of staff in their career development and encourages the take-up of training opportunities including those provided by the award-winning University Research Excellence Training Team. 

The University of York has been successful in retaining the European Commission (EC) HR Excellence in Research Award, reviewed after six years (one of eight UK Universities to do so). The award recognises an institution’s commitment to implementing the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers – principles that support all research staff by promoting recruitment, career enhancement, equality and diversity. 

Fellowship Funders and Schemes

Fellowship Funders and Schemes

There are many different fellowship schemes from different funders. Each scheme will have different eligibility criteria and application processes. 

If you are interested in applying to a scheme that is not listed below please contact us



EPSRC logo

Postdoctoral Fellowships

3 years

Postdoctoral fellowships are only available in certain priority areas 
Open Fellowships 5 years  


Independent Research Fellowships 5 years  
BBSRC Logo Discovery Fellowships 3 years <5 years post PhD
David Philips Fellowships 5 years >3 years post PhD
UKRI logo Future Leaders Fellowships 4+3 years (Please contact us directly if you are interested in this fellowship.)
Early Career Fellowships 3 years <4 years post PhD
University Research Fellowships - this now includes biomedical sciences within their remit 5 years 3-8 years post PhD
Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships 5 years

<6 years post PhD

need for flexible support

Early-Career Awards 5 years <3 years post PhD (some flexibility)
Career Development Awards 8 years independent researcher (usually already hold a fellowship at time of application or are within three years of your first academic appointment)

Research Fellowships 3 years <3 years post PhD
Ramsay Memorial Fellowships 2 years  
Daphne Jackson Fellowships 2 years after a career break of two or more years

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships 2 or 3 years  
European Research Council Starting Grant 5 years 2-7 years post PhD

Other schemes: