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Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge 


 £45,585 to £57,696 

Starting Date: 

 1st October 2025 


 Initially 5 years with a possible further extension of 3 years (see Royal Society for further details) 

The Institute of Astronomy is pleased to invite pre-applications from suitably qualified researchers who wish to apply for a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF) to be held within the Institute.

In the first instance applicants should make contact with a member of the Institute's Academic Staff who has related research interests to discuss the possibility of hosting the fellowship within the Institute.

Applicants must have an appropriate level of experience (between 3 and 8 years of post-Ph.D. research experience at the time of application), significant research recognition (via publications and citations) and be able to demonstrate evidence of independence/leadership potential.

Once applicants have engaged with a member of the Institute's Academic Staff, a pre-application may be made by submitting:

  •     cv

  •     publication list

  •     draft research proposal (Four sides of A4)

  •     name and contact details of the proposed referee (personal reference)

  •     name of the IoA Staff member who has agreed to support the application.

Materials should be sent to with attachments as a single .pdf format file.

Applicants should also request that their endorsing IoA academic staff member send a statement in support of their application to the same e-mail address by the same deadline.

In order to be considered, applicants must send their pre-application materials to reach the Institute of Astronomy by TO BE CONFIRMED at the latest.

Successful pre-application candidates will be provided with support and advice to develop their application before submission to Royal Society. If selected for interview, the Institute of Astronomy will arrange mock interviews to further support our candidates and maximise their chances of success.

Completed applications will have to be submitted on the Royal Society's Flexi-Grant system by 2nd September to give time for checking, approval and ultimate submission by Cambridge University Research Services Division.

The final deadline for submission of applications to the Royal Society is 3pm 10th September.

The deadline for Head of Department/Nominated Referee references/statements to be submitted online using the Royal Society's Flexi-Grant system is also 3pm 10th September.

The University of Cambridge thrives on the diversity of its staff and students. The Institute particularly welcomes applications from women and/or candidates from a BME background for this vacancy as they are currently under-represented. We have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee which continually works to further the aims of the Athena SWAN charter. The University has a number of family-friendly policies and initiatives, including a Career Support Fund, formally returning-carer scheme, childcare costs support, university workplace nurseries, university holiday play- schemes, and a shared parental-leave policy. As part of its commitment to providing a family-friendly environment for researchers, the IoA ensures that should parental leave be needed during the course of employment, there is provision for extension to contract to compensate for the parental leave taken. 

Application Deadline Date: 




Note on budget considerations

The maximum grant budget has not yet been announced, but for 2023 applications it was £1.83Million. This budget note is included to give potential applicants an indication of how much resource this covers, to allow applicants to pitch their research proposal at the correct level. Around £1.13Million will be used by the applicants salary and associated overheads over the 8 year period. This leaves around £700,000 for the remaining budget. A year of PDRA effort typically costs around £125,000. A four year PhD studentship typically costs around £104,000. Travel and Computing costs also need to be requested within the maximum budget.