Ernest Rutherford Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2020

The Ernest Rutherford Fellowships will enable early career researchers with clear leadership potential to establish a strong, independent research program. They will encourage talented researchers in UK universities to remain in the country and at the same time attract outstanding overseas researchers to the UK.
Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are intended for early-career researchers who do not have an academic position. Applicants who have applied for the – UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships can also apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship but cannot hold two fellowships that fund their working time simultaneously.
Applicants who have applied for the UK Research and Innovation Stephen Hawking Fellowships cannot apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship. Each Fellowship will last for five years, with 10 being offered in the 2020/21 round. The aim is to support future scientific leaders to establish a strong, independent research program.
Call opens: 1 July 2020
Call closes: 16:00 hrs 17 September 2020

STATEMENT OF EXPECTATIONS FOR FELLOWS

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has published its Statement of Expectations for Fellows, which sets out common principles for all Research Council-funded fellows.

KEY FACTS

An analysis of Fellows who have completed their Fellowship since 2009, disclosed all Fellows were employed and 92% held permanent jobs. Further details showing the key benefits of a Fellowship can be found in analysis of questionnaires.
STFC currently supports a number of Ernest Rutherford Fellows undertaking a range of research within STFC core science areas.

Post-Doctoral Experience

Departments have been informed of their fellowship limits for 2020. You are advised to contact your proposed host department as early as possible and certainly well ahead of the deadline for submission of applications. Departments may have internal processes to select which candidates to support and the timetables for these vary.
Applicants should read the competency framework in Annex 1 of the ERF guidance to determine the skills, knowledge and experience needed to apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship. Applications are encouraged from those seeking to resume a research career, following a period of absence from active research. Please read the ERF guidance for further information.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

STFC will reject a proposal if any of the documents submitted breaches the rules on page limits, font size, font type and margins. Proposals that are in breach of the applicable rules will not be returned for amendment. The only exception would be where a problem occurred because of issues in downloading the proposal into Research Council systems.
All documents must be submitted as pdf attachments and must abide by the page limits and the restrictions on font size and margins (described in STFC Requirements). More details can be found in the ERF guidance under How to Apply.

INTRODUCTION

STFC is offering up to 10 Ernest Rutherford Fellowships which provide five years of funding to outstanding researchers at an early stage of their career. The aim is to support future scientific leaders to establish a strong, independent research program.

ELIGIBILITY

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are intended for early-career researchers who do not have a permanent academic position. You are not eligible if you currently hold a permanent academic position or the equivalent in institutions other than universities.
Applicants should hold a PhD at the time of applying for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship.
If you secure a permanent position prior to the offer of a Fellowship you will be ineligible to hold the Fellowship.
Applicants should not be in receipt of duplicate funding for the same or similar proposal from more than one funding agency. Details of similar proposals that have been submitted to other funding agencies must be added in the ‘Other Support’ section of the STFC application and advise STFC if a successful funding decision is made by the other funding agency.
Applicants who have applied for the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships can also apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship but cannot hold two fellowships which fund their working time simultaneously.
Applicants who have a live application for the UK Research and Innovation Stephen Hawking Fellowships cannot apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship. STFC no longer defines eligibility for Ernest Rutherford fellowships in terms of a minimum number of years of experience. Instead, applicants should read the competency profile in Annex 1 to determine if you have the skills, knowledge and experience to apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship.
Fellowships are open to applicants of any nationality. Where applicable, you will need to comply with Department of Employment requirements and hold a work permit prior to taking up the Fellowship. Work permits are a matter for direct negotiation between the institution, the Department of Employment and the Home Office.
Information for Non-European Economic Area Applicants – All successful applicants who require a visa to work in the UK will be eligible to be considered under the Global Talent visa route. In line with the highly prestigious nature of the award, this visa route is designed for people who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts and enables the holder to be both adaptable and flexible during their research in the UK.
The grant of any visa is always subject to the standard Home Office general grounds for refusal of a visa. UKRI is able to provide additional guidance regarding the appropriate evidence required to complete the visa application process under the Global Talent visa.
Applications are welcome from candidates who intend to use the Fellowship as a means of re‐establishing themselves in the United Kingdom following a period overseas.
Fellowships may be held at any eligible UK research organisation as set out in the STFC Research Grants Handbook.

Assessment Process

Fellowship applications will be sent to independent reviewers for assessment. Reviewer comments on your application will be made available to you and you will have an opportunity to respond to any factual inaccuracies. You should address your response to the Fellowship Panel and not the reviewers. Your response should be in A4 format with a maximum of half a side per reviewer. If you are responding to three reviewers’ comments the maximum response should be one and half slides in total. As for all attachments, the response should be written as per STFC Specific Requirements. Please complete and submit your response by the due date stated – this is normally five working days after receipt of the invitation.
Your application, reviewers’ comments and any response by you will be considered by the Fellowships Panel, operating as seven sub‐panels: extragalactic, near universe, near universe solar/exoplanet, particle physics experiment, particle physics theory, particle astrophysics and cosmology, and nuclear physics. Your application will be ranked against the others in that area and the top‐ranked candidates in each sub‐panel area will be invited for an interview. It is desirable for candidates to attend the interview in person. Apart from the reviewer’s comments, you will also receive feedback from the panel. The host departments will be notified of the reviewer’s comments.
The highest-ranked candidates from the interviews will be offered by Ernest Rutherford Fellowships. If any of these candidates withdraw, Fellowships will be offered to the ranked list of reserve candidates.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications for Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are submitted through the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je‐S) system. If you have not used the Je‐S system to submit an application before, please ensure, well in advance of the closing date, that you have set up an account. Guidance for completion of the application is provided through the Je‐S help text, available from the Je‐S system front page, and context sensitive help throughout the system.
You are advised to contact your host organisation’s Research Administration as soon as possible as departments may have their own deadlines for candidate selection which may be several weeks before the closing date. They will advise you about costing your proposal and internal procedures relating to submitting a research proposal through Je‐S. Your Fellowship application must be costed and submitted by the host organisation.
Applicants may submit only one application to STFC for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship per year. All documents must be submitted as PDF attachments and must abide by the page limits (outlined below) and the restrictions on font size, font type and margins (described in STFC Requirements).The CV template of a maximum of two sides of A4 must be used. The format of the CV template must not be altered.
An exception will be made for applicants who complete the section on Career Breaks. These rules will be strictly enforced. STFC will reject a proposal if any of the documents submitted breaches the rules on page limits, font size, font type or margins. Proposals that are in breach of the application rules will not be returned for amendment. The only exception would be where a breach occurred because of issues in downloading the proposal into Research Council systems.
You must ensure your application is submitted to your host institution well before the deadline as some institutions have a submitter pool which may delay your application being submitted to council (STFC).
Together with your application proforma, you will need to include the following mandatory pdf attachments:
  • Curriculum vitae of a maximum of two sides of A4 using our template. Your cv. must comply with the STFC Requirements and the format of the template must not be altered. An exception will be made for applicants who complete the section on Career Breaks. They may extend this limit of two sides of A4 to accommodate this additional information. Applicants should include any periods of part-time working, maternity, paternity or adoption leave, parental leave, disability, ill-health, childcare or other caring responsibilities. Please be aware that any information provided will be shared with reviewers and panel members.
  • List of publications by year, which should not include presentations.List only those publications that have been submitted and not in progress;
  • Letter of support (personal reference) from your nominated reviewer who must not be from the host institution, of a maximum length of two sides of A4. This must be uploaded at the submitter stage and will be confidential i.e. not visible to the applicant. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their nominated reviewer knows who to supply their reference to (at their host institution) in order that it can be uploaded and submitted with the proposal.
  • Case for Support for Fellowship, of a maximum length of four sides of A4 including references, diagrams and illustrations. See below for further guidance.References must be in the same font size and font type as the text in the case for support;
  • Data Management Plan, of a maximum length of two sides of A4. See below for further guidance.
No other documents will be considered.
Overview: This should be a clear and concise description of your research track record and the vision, aims and context of your research (maximum length of four sides of A4 including references, diagrams and illustrations). The description of your track record may refer to but should not duplicate material given in your CV or publication list. You should focus on your achievements that have the most relevance to your application and the assessment criteria, including your most significant results and their impact, and mention any past or present collaborations. The description of your Fellowship research should describe the context and aims, indicate the approach you intend to take and the timetable for the work, highlight what is novel and explain why it is timely. You should set your programme of research in the wider international context and explain why you are the right person to do the work.
A separate Pathways to Impact statement is no longer required, but applicants must still consider how they will or might achieve impact throughout their projects and include this as part of their Case for Support. Please see section 5.11.3 of the STFC Research Grants Handbook for information on providing information on impact in your proposal.
Applicants should note that whilst there are no set rules against including web links in the case for support, reviewers are under no obligation to follow them so they should not be used as a way to provide critical information.
Further information to include in your case for support:
  • give a description of your proposed research and its context and aims, ensuring that all the assessment criteria are addressed;
  • provide a description of your research achievements that are most relevant to your application including your most significant results and their impact and mention any past or present collaborations;
  • detail the methodology to be used in pursuit of the research and justify this choice. Include milestones and the timetable for the work against which the outputs, outcomes and impacts of the work will be assessed;
  • provide evidence that you can communicate clearly and have the potential to inspire and lead others;
  • describe how the added value of an ERF award will have a demonstrable impact on your career trajectory and broader professional/development opportunities enabling you to establish independence and leadership over the duration of the award;
  • explain why the proposed project is of sufficient timeliness and novelty to warrant consideration for funding
  • provide evidence for the quality of the research and feasibility of the proposed program of research;
  • highlight plans that are particularly novel or unique. Explain how new techniques or particularly difficult or risky studies will be tackled and outline alternative approaches should this fail;
  • describe your research in a wider national and international context;
  • explain how the proposed research and its potential impact contributes to addressing STFC strategic priorities
  • briefly outline any track record in public engagement or science communication

 Checklist of Documents

Please ensure that the following documents are included with your application adhering to the regulation on page limits (repeated below and on font size, font type and margins as stated in Section 9:
  • CV (using template, maximum of two sides of A4)
  • List of publications
  • Letter of support (maximum of two sides of A4)
  • Case for support (maximum of four sides of A4)
  • Data Management Plan (maximum of two sides of A4)

 

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