• Fully Funded

Apply for funding to further your career through an independent research fellowship.

This opportunity is open to applicants who hold a PhD qualification or expect to submit their PhD thesis before the fellowship interview takes place in March 2023. Individuals demonstrating an upward track to pursuing working independently and developing research leadership are encouraged to apply.

Looking for fully-funded opportunities, install the Youth Opportunities Android or iOS App here.

Applicants should not apply if they currently hold a tenured academic post or academic position at the lecturer level (or equivalent position).

Prospective applicants unsure of their eligibility status should email [email protected] to confirm before they apply.

Diversity, equity and inclusion
NERC is committed to creating and sustaining a positive, fair and inclusive environment for their research community to ensure that all candidates feel welcomed, included and valued.

A focus on continuous improvement means that they are seeking to go beyond their statutory duties and become a beacon for diversity across the environmental science community. Achieving a high level of diversity within the NERC community provides an excellent foundation and environment for their research and innovation priorities to flourish.

NERC, therefore, encourages applications from all individuals who meet the eligibility criteria from all backgrounds regardless of:

  1. age
  2. disability
  3. gender reassignment
  4. marriage and civil partnership
  5. pregnancy and maternity
  6. race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins)
  7. religion or belief
  8. sex or sexual orientation
  9. neurodiversity
  10. socioeconomic background
  11. any other relevant factor.

They warmly welcome applications from individuals who may have undertaken non-standard or non-typical academic routes pre or post-PhD prior to application.

When considering your application, your career track record, career breaks and part-time work will be taken into account specifically in the assessment process. More details can be found in the ‘how we will assess your application’ section.

Part-time fellowships
Independent research fellowships (IRFs) may be held full or part-time. NERC welcomes proposals from candidates who wish to work on a part-time or flexible basis to combine their responsibilities with a career.

IRFs can be held on a part-time basis down to 0.5 full-time equivalents (FTE). In all cases, the length of the fellowship must be extended accordingly on a pro-rata basis. For example, a five-year fellowship on a full-time basis would equate to a 10-year fellowship with the fellow working 0.5 FTE, but the value of the award would remain the same.

It is possible to change from part-time to full-time, or full-time to part-time at any point during the lifetime of the award.

Applicants should refer to the NERC research grant and fellowships handbook for details on funding for fellows on research grants.

Choice of institution
NERC recognises that mobility is not the only means to acquire the skills and experiences necessary to build a research career. NERC also recognises the need for having a fixed institution to provide unique facilities or opportunities, and other circumstances where moving would be unsuitable, such as domestic arrangements.

To demonstrate a commitment to the development of IRFs, NERC expects the head of the department of the host institution to submit a letter of support. This is to demonstrate the support offered to the applicant.

Normal individual eligibility applies and is detailed in section C of the NERC research grant and fellowships handbook.

NERC research and fellowship grants for all schemes may be held at:

  • approved UK higher education institutions
  • approved research council institutes
  • independent research organisations
  • public sector research establishments
  • eligible catapult centres.

Full details of approved research organisations can be found on the UK Research and Innovation website.



  • will be funded with the amount of £7,400,000
  • fund fellowships at 80% full economic cost. You may apply for funding for facilities costs and cruise costs.
  • will not fund studentships.
  • fellowship will last five years.
  • can choose to work full-time or part-time. Part-time fellowships will be pro-rata.


You must:

  • be an early career researcher
  • hold a PhD qualification or expect to submit your thesis before the fellowship interview.
  • You are not eligible to apply if you hold a tenured academic post or academic position at the lecturer level.
Eligible Regions: any area of NERC’s remit.

Application Process

Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.

When applying:

  • Select ‘documents’, then ‘new document’.
  • Select ‘call search’.
  • To find the opportunity, search for Independent Research Fellowships (IRFOCT22).

This will populate:

  1. council: NERC
  2. document type: standard proposal
  3. scheme: research fellowship
  4. call/type/mode: Independent Research Fellowships (IRFOCT22).

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit the document’.

You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

Your application should include the following attachments:

  1. the case for support (required, exactly one)
  2. justification of resources (required, exactly one)
  3. data management plan (required, exactly one)
  4. CV (required, exactly one. Applicants to use the Resume for Research and Innovation template)
  5. letter of support (required if project partnership details given, equal to the number of project partners)
  6. cover letter (optional)
  7. list of publications (required, exactly one)
  8. head of department statement (required, exactly one to be attached by the approver or submitter)
  9. preliminary Antarctic logistics support request (required if British Antarctic Survey (BAS) logistic support is requested. These attachments will not be sent out for peer review but will be sent to BAS)
  10. other (optional).

Looking for fully-funded opportunities, install the Youth Opportunities Android or iOS App here.

Application Deadline: October 11, 2022 (15 Days Remaining)

Apply nowOfficial link

For Further Queries

For more information, include 'IRF query’ in the subject line and mail at [email protected]
Disclaimer: Youth Opportunities spreads opportunities for your convenience and ease based on available information, and thus, does not take any responsibility of unintended alternative or inaccurate information. As this is not the official page, we recommend you to visit the official website of opportunity provider for complete information. For organizations, this opportunity is shared with sole purpose of promoting “Access to Information” for all and should not be associated with any other purposes.

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