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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


It is expected that the British Academy (BA) will announce their popular Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme in the summer (probably around July 2023), with a likely deadline for submissions in autumn (probably around October 2023). This early communication is to provide departments with an overview of the University’s processes for the next round of the scheme to allow prospective applicants sufficient time to prepare strong bids to the funder.

Scheme Overview

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship is a three-year fellowship for outstanding early career researchers in the humanities and social sciences. The scheme aims to help develop the award holder’s curriculum vitae and boost their prospects of obtaining a permanent university post. The primary emphasis is on the completion of a significant piece of publishable research, and the integration of the award holder into the community of established scholars within their field. Fellowships are tenable in all fields within the humanities and social sciences. This is a highly competitive scheme and success rates are typically no more than 10%.

University procedures in 2023

Each year, the University has been conducting an internal selection process to meet the BA’s recommendations for a demand management and to ensure that only high quality proposals are put forward to the funder. The University is fully committed to supporting our early career researchers. As a result, we will be piloting a new approach in 2023 to potentially increase our success rates:

·         In 2023, the University will not be conducting an internal selection process.

·         Instead, the University will be providing a more tailored approach towards the development of research grant proposals for this scheme. This will include information sessions/workshops, providing advice on the scheme, reading of draft proposals/internal peer review, etc. Further details about this support package will be provided later this year with the first information session planned for late spring 2023.

·         The outline stage for this scheme is exempt from the usual Research Operations Office (ROO) deadlines (LINK) because the funder does not request financial information at the this initial stage. Departments are asked to follow Small Applications Processes for this scheme, regardless the value of the proposal (NB: this still includes submitting an ‘outline X5 costing’). Please note that departments are expected to notify ROO of an intention to submit any grant applications with a minimum of four weeks’ notice – ROO colleagues will find this early notification incredibly helpful for this scheme.

In case of queries, please contact:

o   RSO/ROO about candidate eligibility and other non-financial matters.

o   Your ROO Development Team regarding budget queries and ROO deadlines and procedures.

In the background, Research Strategy Office (RSO) will be monitoring the pilot throughout the process. The findings of the pilot will inform the University’s approach in future rounds – Departments and Faculties should bear in mind that we might need to re-introduce internal selection processes in the future.

Indicative funder timeline:

·         Call expected to open July 2023

·         Submission deadline expected in October 2023

If you have any questions, please contact us at