ESRC postdoctoral fellowships and how to apply

Shelves of BookesThe ESRC invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships (PDF) to be based at the SWDTP institutions of University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, Plymouth University and University of West of England.

Fellowships are aimed at providing a development opportunity for those in the immediate postdoctoral stage of their career, to consolidate their PhD through developing publications, their networks, and their research and professional skills.

The PDF call forms part of ESRC’s strategy to support early career researchers and will be delivered through the national network of Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs).

The SWDTP has seven fellowships to award, at least one of which must be in line with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy.

The call is open to applicants who have completed their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT and who are within 12 months of completing their PhD.  To be eligible applicants must

  • have been awarded a PhD or have passed their viva voce with minor amendments by the application deadline of 23rd March 2020 and have been awarded their PhD by the fellowship start date of 1st October 2020.
  • have no more than 12 months active postdoctoral experience since passing their viva voce (allowing for career breaks) by 23rd March 2020.  The period of active post doctoral experience should be calculated from the viva voce being passed to the closing date of 23rd March 2020.

Please see the Call Specification and Frequently Asked Questions documents (links below) that support this call for further information on eligibility.

Postdoctoral Fellowships operate under ESRC Research Funding rules and therefore applicants can come from anywhere in the world and, subject to meeting the scheme eligibility criteria, can be considered for these awards.

Key documents relating to the call and application can be found below

ESRC PDF Call specification (download)

ESRC PDF FAQs (download)

PDF application form (download)

All applicants must submit a completed proposal along with the required attachments by 16.00 on 23rd March 2020 to the SWDTP at

Applicants are also asked to submit an Equal Opportunity Data Form separately to the application to  Note: this is held confidentially and collected for statistical reporting to the ESRC only.

EXETER APPLICATIONS: The University of Exeter has an internal deadline of Friday 14th February for candidates both internally and externally to confirm their intention to apply. Candidates must send confirmation from the Director of Research and/or Head of Department confirmation from the department they are intending to be based in to and confirm who their academic mentor is and that the mentor has agreed to take on that role. 

The SWDTP will peer review the proposals and make funding decisions on behalf of ESRC by 26th June 2020.

For queries related to the call, please e-mail

Further information from the ESRC regarding early career researchers can be found here