NERC Independent Research Fellowships


The Natural Environment Research Council offers Fellowships in areas including atmospheric and oceanic sciences and earth observation. The Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists. Applicants are encouraged to hold the fellowship at an institution other than where they trained or are currently employed, and justifying your choice of institution is important.
Applicants must have submitted their PhD thesis by the time the fellowship interview would take place (usually the April following the closing date) and must have no more than 8 years full-time postdoctoral experience from the PhD award certificate date at the closing date of the scheme. Applicants must not have a permanent academic position and the scheme is open to applicants of any nationality.

Funding is offered for 5 years, including applicant's salary, and some research expenses.
Further guidance is available on NERC's webpages.
Applications must be submitted via Je-S.

Deadlines and Timescales (2019)

The deadline for 2019 has not been announced yet but is likely to be during the first week of October.

  • 12th August - Send costing requests and your draft JoR to Research Facilitators.
  • 19th August - Send draft Case for Support to Academic readers and Research Facilitators.
  • 27th August - Complete the Je-S text sections and send Pathways to Impact to Research Facilitators.
  • 2nd Sept - Send a complete draft of your application to Research Facilitators.
  • 16th Sept - Submit Je-S to Research Facilitators.
  • 23rd Sept - RFs submit Je-S to Resarch Services.

Guidance and useful info

Once we know that you intend to apply we will be able to send you our internal guidance documents.

IMPORTANT: NERC are very strict about the formatting of your application. Please consult the guidance notes carefully and adhere to any formatting instructions, otherwise your application may be rejected without review.

You will require a letter of support from the Head of Department which will be written in collaboration with the local academic who is supporting your application.

The interview stage is an important part of the selection process so if you are invited for interview please notify the facilitation team and your local academic contacts as soon as possible so that mock interviews can be arranged in advance of the real interview.