Institute of Astronomy

Externally Funded Opportunities

The Institute of Astronomy welcomes enquiries from outstanding researchers seeking to join us as independant research fellows. We have significant experience hosting research fellowships, with fellowship holders typically going on to have successful long term academic research careers.

We are open to applications for a number of different fellowship schemes, including, but not limited to;

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships - Application deadline typically November

Leverhulme Trust/Isaac Newton Trust Early Career Fellowship - Application deadline typically December

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Fellowships - Application deadline typically January

Royal Society Newton International Fellowships - Application deadline typically March

EPSRC Stephen Hawking Fellowships - Open - no closing date

Royal Society University Research Fellowships - Application deadline typically early September

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowships - Application deadline typically September

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships - Application deadline typically September

Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowships - Application deadline typically October

Further details can be found in the opportunities listing below, and on the funders webpage. Open current opportunities will appear on our main vacancies webpage. Closed opportunities are moved to the page below. Fellowship calls generally open annually - closed adverts are left visible to give potential applicants an idea of timings and application processes. Some schemes stay open for extended periods of time - these will typically be listed below until around 2 months before the application deadline, at which point they would move to our main vacancies webpage.

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. This contact should be made as soon as possible, and at least 1 month before the posted closing date. Please note, some schemes have additional internal selection procedures and may require earlier pre-applications - please read the opportunities listings thoroughly before applying.

Once a member of academic staff has agreed to support the application, potential applicants should also make sure to email the IoA Finance Manager David Savidge at an early stage indicating their intention to apply for a Fellowship and liaise with him over financial aspects as preparation of an application proceeds.

Page last updated: 4 November 2022 at 13:50

Open Externally Funded Opportunities

Stephen Hawking Fellowships

Published on 09/05/2019 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
£34,308 - £42,155
Starting Date: 
Flexible, depending on application date
Tenure: 
3 years

The Institute of Astronomy is pleased to invite applications from suitably qualified researchers who wish to apply for a Stephen Hawking Fellowship to be held at the Institute in an area that complements or enhances research being undertaken at the Institute.

The Stephen Hawking fellowships will support and develop the next generation of visionary scientists in theoretical physics (including cosmology and theoretical astrophysics) at the beginning of their career. This scheme aims to support excellent researchers who will make significant contributions to the field of theoretical physics and continue to spark public interest in the field. 

For further details please see: Stephen Hawking Postdoctoral Fellowship – UKRI

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.

Once academic support has been secured, applicants should inform the department administration of their intent to apply by e-mailing fellowships@ast.cam.ac.uk so that we can help you process this application. This should be done at least 4 weeks in advance of the submission date you are aiming for, but ideally sooner.

This opportunity will remain open until further notice and has no closing date, however as the scheme has a defined budget, applicants are encouraged to submit applications at the earliest practicable time. Successful candidates may start at any time throughout the year. Processing of a fellowship application can take 6 to 9 months and outcomes will depend on panel and interview dates.

The Stephen Hawking applications will go to the Physical Sciences panel, which has the following typical timelines:

Submission Dates Panel Dates Interview Panel Dates Estimated Fellowship Start Date
Early January 2023 End April 2023 Mid-June 2023 1st August 2023 onwards
Early May 2023 Early September 2023 Mid-October 2023 1st December 2023 onwards
End September 2023 End January 2024 End February 2024 1st May 2024 onwards

The department is aiming to have its "Early January 2023 submission date" applications submitted before the Christmas Break. Applicants should inform the department administration of their intent to apply for this submission date by 25th November at the latest (but ideally earlier)

All materials will need to be submitted to UKRI via the JES system by the end of the day on 14th December to give time for checking, approval and ultimate submission by Cambridge University Research Services Division.

 

Application Deadline Date: 
31 August 9999

Closed Externally Funded Opportunities

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowships

Published on 03/07/2018 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
£42,149 to £53,348
Starting Date: 
1st October 2023
Tenure: 
Up to five years

The Institute of Astronomy will offer to support up to three applications (our quota) for the STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship scheme. Potential applicants should first contact a member of the Institute's Academic Staff to discuss the possibility of submitting a pre-application to the Institute's selection committee which will review requests.

The Rutherford Fellowships are highly competitive and suitable candidates will normally: (i) currently hold a prize fellowship or, be employed on their second or third postdoctoral position following completion of their Ph.D.; (ii) be able to demonstrate a highly successful research record, including an impressive publication list and associated recognition – evident via a strong citation record; and (iii) have shown evidence of leadership within their research field and/or major research collaborations/projects. STFC also encourage application from those seeking to resume their research career, after career breaks of normally at least one year.

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

  •     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 fellowships@ast.cam.ac.uk with attachments as a single .pdf format file. STFC specify that documents must be submitted as pdf attachments in 11 point Arial (or equivalent regular sans serif) font and have a minimum 2 cm margin.

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.

The Institute's selection committee will begin reviewing applications from early August and pre-applications must be received no later than 22nd July. All applicants will be informed of the outcome during the week commencing 25th July.

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

As per STFC guidelines, candidates will not be put under any pressure to accept an offer to be hosted before the 19th August. This is to ensure candidates who submit pre-applications to multiple host organisations are given time to make an informed decision regarding which one to proceed with.

The STFC closing date for submission of applications is 4pm 13th September. All materials will need to be submitted to the STFC via the JES system by 5pm 6th September to give time for checking, approval and ultimate submission by Cambridge University Research Services Division.

 

Application Deadline Date: 
22 July 2022

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships

Published on 22/02/2018 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
See call documentation for details
Starting Date: 
01/10/2023
Tenure: 
Up to 24 Months

The Institute of Astronomy is pleased to invite expressions of interest from suitably qualified researchers who wish to apply for a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to be held within the Institute.

Eligibility information;

  • You must have a PhD (or at least 4 years research experience)

  • You must not have resided or worked in the UK for more than 12 months during the three years up to the submission deadline

Additionally, applicants are expected to have significant research recognition (via publications and citations) and be able to demonstrate evidence of independence/leadership potential.

Full details of eligibility and call documentation can be found on the European Commission website

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.

Completed applications will have to be submitted through the European Commission’s EPSS system by 4pm GMT 14th September, but we would expect interested applicants to contact a member of our academic staff as soon as possible, and at the very latest by 31st August.

 

Application Deadline Date: 
31 August 2022

Leverhulme Trust/Isaac Newton Trust Early Career Fellowship

Published on 22/11/2017 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
£34,308 - £42,155
Starting Date: 
Between 1 September 2023 and 1 May 2024
Tenure: 
3 Years

The Institute of Astronomy is pleased to support up to two applications for the Isaac Newton Trust/Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship scheme. Potential applicants should first contact a member of the Institute's Academic Staff to discuss the possibility of submitting a pre-application to the Institute's selection committee which will review requests.

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research. The expectation is that Fellows should undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure.

Applications are invited from those with a doctorate who submitted their doctoral thesis for viva voce examination not more than four years prior to the Leverhulme Trust application closing date on 23 February 2023. All candidates must hold a doctorate or have equivalent research experience by the time they take up the Fellowship. Those who are or have been registered for a doctorate at any time may apply only if they have submitted their doctoral thesis by the closing date of 4pm on 23 February 2023.

Applicants must either hold a degree from a UK higher education institution at the time of taking up the Fellowship or at the time of the application deadline must hold an academic position in the UK which commenced no less than 4 months prior to the closing date.

Applicants who have not already moved institutions in the course of their academic career (i.e., between their undergraduate degree and current position) should nominate a new host institution, or otherwise demonstrate clear evidence of the academic and/or personal reasons for remaining at the same institution, such as access to highly specialist equipment or a highly specialised research team.

The Leverhulme Trust offers funding covering 50% of salary costs of the three-year early career fellowship position, as well as research funds of up to £6,000 per annum. The Isaac Newton Trust is the main Cambridge University body offering matching funding for the remaining 50% salary cost. The Institute of Astronomy is allowed to support up to two Isaac Newton Trust applications per year.

A “three-stage” application process is therefore required, with applicants first submitting a pre-application to the Institute of Astronomy for support. Supported applicants will then apply to the Isaac Newton Trust for matched funding. If approved, applicants would then apply to the Leverhulme Trust for the full fellowship. All application stages have to be successful to be awarded the fellowship.

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

  • Isaac Newton Trust cover sheet
  • CV (not exceeding two sides)
  • A list of your major publications (maximum one side)
  • A statement of your current research (maximum 250 words)
  • A detailed statement of your proposed research (maximum two sides)
  • Name and contact details of your two proposed referees
  • Name of the IoA Staff member who has agreed to support the pre-application

Materials should be sent to fellowships@ast.cam.ac.uk 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.

The Institute's selection committee will begin reviewing applications in early December and pre-applications must be received no later than 4 December 2022 for consideration by the Institute's selection commitee.

The Isaac Newton Trust closing date for submission of applications is 9 January 2023.

 

Application Deadline Date: 
4 December 2022

RAS Research and Norman Lockyer Fellowships

Published on 23/08/2017 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
See RAS notes
Starting Date: 
October 2023
Tenure: 
3 years

The Institute of Astronomy welcomes applications from individuals for the Royal Astronomical Society Norman Lockyer Fellowship to be held at the Institute.

Royal Astronomical Society offer two similar fellowships, the "Research Fellowship" and the "Norman Lockyer Fellowship". Each will be available once every three years. Applications for RAS Fellowships will be sought in the years 2021, 2024 and 2027 and for the Norman Lockyer Fellowship in 2022, 2025 and 2028 (for fellowships starting in the following year).

The purpose of the RAS Research Fellowships is to enable outstanding candidates to pursue research in the UK in the disciplines advanced by the RAS i.e. astronomy, solar system science, geophysics and closely related branches of these sciences.  

The RAS Norman Lockyer Fellowship is awarded to enable an outstanding researcher to devote the majority of their time to research on an astronomical topic, including solar system and planetary science. They are named after Sir Norman Lockyer (1836-1920), pioneering solar astronomer and discoverer of helium. 

The fellowships are awarded for a period of up to three years beginning on 1 October in the year of the award (or within 6 months thereafter). Applicants must have been awarded their PhD after 1 October 2018.

Requests for the Institute to act as a host should be accompanied by a CV, draft research proposal, publication list and the name of a member of the Institute of Astronomy's Academic Staff with whom the applicant has research interests in common (you should have contacted them beforehand to ensure that they are happy to support your application).

The RAS deadline is 15 October 2022 but materials should be sent to fellowships@ast.cam.ac.uk by  7 October 2022 at the very latest.

We would then send applicants a completed RAS host institute approval form, which applicants would upload to the RAS's application system to complete their application.

 

Application Deadline Date: 
7 October 2022

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowship

Published on 10/10/2016 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
£34,308 - £42,155
Starting Date: 
1st October 2023
Tenure: 
3 years

The Institute of Astronomy welcomes applications from individuals for the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowship to be held at the Institute.

1851 Research Fellowships are intended to give early career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation; an ultimate objective is to contribute to the knowledge base required for a healthy and innovative national culture. 

Candidates must be in possession of a recent PhD, or equivalent qualification (normally with no more than 3 years postdoctoral experience) or be in the final stages of their PhD studies, which must be successfully completed before the award of a Fellowship can be confirmed. The research should be carried out at a different Institution from the one where the candidate’s PhD research was undertaken.

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.

The ultimate submission deadline is 12 noon, 17 January 2023, however we ask that applicants secure support from a member of our academic staff, and then inform our administration of their intent to apply (by e-mailing fellowships@ast.cam.ac.uk) by 6th January 2023 at the latest.

 

Application Deadline Date: 
6 January 2023

Royal Society - Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

Published on 07/03/2016 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
£42,149 to £53,348
Starting Date: 
1st October 2023
Tenure: 
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 expressions of interest from suitably qualified researchers who wish to apply for a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship to be held within the Institute.

This fellowship scheme is aimed at outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career (have completed your PhD but have no more than 6 years of research experience post PhD by the closing date of the round) who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.

The Society’s fellowships are highly flexible and part-time working, sabbaticals and secondments can be accommodated. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave.

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.

All applicants should inform us of their intent to apply by 18th October, or ideally sooner, by e-mailing fellowships@ast.cam.ac.uk.

Royal Society's ultimate submission deadline is 1st November. Further details and scheme notes are available on Royal Society's website;

https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/grants/dorothy-hodgkin-fellowship/

Application Deadline Date: 
18 October 2022

Royal Society Newton International Fellowships

Published on 17/02/2016 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
See call documentation for details: £24,000 per annum for subsistence costs (Tax exempt)
Starting Date: 
Between 01 January 2022 and 30 June 2022
Tenure: 
2 Years

The Institute of Astronomy is pleased to invite expressions of interest from suitably qualified researchers who wish to apply for a Newton International Fellowship to be held at the Institute. The Newton International Fellowship scheme will select the very best early stage post-doctoral researchers from all over the world, and offer support for two years at UK research institutions. The grants of £24,000 per annum (Tax Free) to cover subsistence and up to £8,000 per annum to cover research expenses, plus a one-off relocation allowance of up to £3,500 for relocation expenses.

See https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/grants/newton-international/ for further details.

The long-term aim of the scheme is to build a global pool of research leaders and encourage long-term international collaboration with the UK. The Newton International Fellowships scheme is run by The British Academy and the Royal Society. The Fellowships cover the broad range of physical, natural and social sciences and the humanities. They provide grants of £24,000 per annum to cover subsistence and up to £8,000 per annum to cover research expenses, plus a one-off relocation allowance of up to £3,500 for relocation expenses. The Newton International Fellowships Scheme covers researchers in the following disciplines: physical sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Please see the scheme notes for more information, including eligibility criteria and the application process.

  • Interested applicants should make contact with us as soon as possible, and not later than 28th May.

  • Applications must be submitted by the applicant by 9th June to allow time for internal approval before the Royal Society deadline on 16th June. 

  • 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.

Application Deadline Date: 
28 May 2021

Royal Society University Research Fellowships

Published on 02/07/2015 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Salary: 
£42,149 to £53,348
Starting Date: 
1st October 2023
Tenure: 
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 submitting a request for Institute support.

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

  •     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 fellowships@ast.cam.ac.uk 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 22nd July at the latest.

Successful pre-application candidates will be provided with support and advice to improve 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 30th August 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 6th 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 6th September.

 

Application Deadline Date: 
22 July 2022