Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme

NINE DTP will be offering postdoctoral fellowship funding for candidates to start in October 2021.


Dates and details of the 2021 Competition will be announced in October or November.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

Take the next step towards a career in Research

The Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership (NINE DTP) invites applications for six ESRC-funded postdoctoral Fellowships to commence in October 2020. The fellowships are aimed at those in the immediately postdoctoral stage of their career, to provide the opportunity to consolidate their PhD through developing publications, their networks, and their research and professional skills.

The call is open to applicants who have completed their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT and who have less than twelve (12) months postdoctoral research experience. At the submission deadline, the applicant must either have been awarded a PhD or have submitted their thesis and passed their viva voce with minor corrections, with the expectation that the PhD will be awarded by the fellowship start date.

The posts may be based at any of our partner institutions, and will be fixed term positions on either a one-year full-time or two year part-time contract. The Fellowship will include salary costs, and additional funds may be applied for to support additional research activity, including travel, subsistence, conference attendance, training, and fieldwork. Pay may vary from institution to institution, but is likely to be on point 30 of the national HE pay-scale (set at £33,797 in 2019).

The ESRC particularly encourage proposals that involve the use of advanced quantitative methods (AQM), data skills or engagement with partners in the business sector.

All potential candidates must submit an Expression of Interest to their prospective department by January 2021 (final date TBD). This should comprise a 2-page proposal, along with a CV. The applicant should also name their proposed mentor.

Departments will then decide which candidate(s) they will work with to develop into a full application.

Once candidates have received the support of their nominating department, the department and candidate must submit a completed application form, along with all required attachments, by March (date TBA).

All applications should be submitted alongside the names and contact details of four (4) external reviewers who would be able to provide an impartial review of the application, a signed Consent Form and a completed NINE DTP Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form. This is for reporting purposes only, and all data will be anonymised. This data will not form any part of the review, and will not be passed to the reviewers.

Departments (and not the applicants) should send the ESRC required documents combined into a single pdf file, together with the completed Equal Opportunities and Consent forms, to

The DTP will peer review the proposals and make funding decisions on behalf of the ESRC by the end of June 2021. Successful candidates will be expected to assume their duties on 1 October 2021.


Expressions of Interest:

Full Application:

Download the Application Form

ESRC Call Specification

Download Call Specification


Download FAQs

Equal Opportunities Form

Please submit to your department; the information collected will not form any part of the reviewing process.

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Data sharing form

To review your application, we require your consent to share your details with reviewers in our universities, and with external academic experts.

Consent Form

The benefits of a NINE DTP Postdoctoral Fellowship

A year-long paid position

(or two years part-time) working at one of our seven partner institutions, developing your research and establishing your professional credentials.

Opportunities to create networks, disseminate research, and deliver impact

Over the course of the year, the successful appointees will work to develop their research, with a focus on dissemination, publication and research impact

Develop your employability

Whether you are working towards a career in academia, or the wider research environment, the fellowship will provide opportunities for valuable personal and professional development.

Get to know our fellows!

Find out more about our current fellows, and the exceptional work they are performing across the North East and Northern Ireland

Our Fellows


The ESRC have established a number of core requirements for the post, as described in the documentation above (summarised below).

In addition to meeting the ESRC requirements, all candidates will need to meet the employment requirements of their proposed research organisation, and may be required to prove they have the right to work in the United Kingdom.

Applicants may only apply to one research organisation within the partnership.

  1. Applicants must have completed their PhD at a research organisation (RO) that is part of a DTP or CDT.
  2. Applicants must ensure that their research is aligned to a DTP Training Pathway; applicants may only apply to those departments who are part of the specific training pathway.
  3. Applications are welcome from all eligible candidates; they need not be current NINE DTP students.
  4. Applicants do not have to have had an ESRC-funded studentship in order to be eligible to apply.
  5. The call is not open to applicants who are established permanent members of staff in an academic position with a research component
  6. At the time of submitting a proposal, the applicant must:
    • have been awarded a PhD; or
    • have submitted their thesis and passed their viva voce with minor corrections, with the expectation that the PhD will be awarded by the fellowship start date.
  7. Applicants may have no more than 12 months of active postdoctoral experience at the start date of the post. Active postdoctoral experience is defined as that accomplished between the viva voce being passed and the proposed start date of the fellowship. This includes professional doctorates as well as the PhD. In calculating ‘active’ experience we will make allowance for career breaks, where the applicant has interrupted their career for family, health or other personal reasons.
  8. Proposals are welcome from applicants who are returning to research following a career break, subject to meeting the eligibility requirement of possessing no more than 12 months of active postdoctoral experience.
Aberystwyth University
Aston University
Bangor University
Birkbeck College
Brunel University London
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Cardiff University
City University London
Durham University
Edinburgh Napier University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Goldsmiths College
Heriot-Watt University
Imperial College London
Keele University
King’s College London
Lancaster University
London School of Economics & Political Science
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Loughborough University
Manchester Metropolitan University
Newcastle University
Northumbria University
Open University
Queen Margaret University Edinburgh
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen’s University of Belfast
Roehampton University
Royal Holloway, University of London
School of Oriental & African Studies
Sheffield Hallam University
Swansea University
Teesside University
The University of Manchester
University College London
University of Aberdeen
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Bradford
University of Brighton
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
University of Dundee
University of East Anglia
University of East London
University of Edinburgh
University of Essex
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
University of Gloucestershire
University of Hull
University of Kent
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Liverpool
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
University of Plymouth
University of Portsmouth
University of Reading
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
University of Stirling
University of Strathclyde
University of Sunderland
University of Surrey
University of Sussex
University of the West of England
University of Ulster
University of Warwick
University of York

Job Specification

The ESRC Call Specification provides details of the nature of work that candidates will be expected to undertake; a fuller job description will be provided to the candidate upon the issue of the grant, which will reflect the conditions established by the ESRC.

As employees of a University the successful candidates will be subject to the employment policies of the University, including any probation requirements and rules of conduct.

Application Process

NINE DTP Application Guidelines

Download our Application Guidelines

Pre-application preparations

All Postdoctoral Fellows will need to identify, and gain the support of a mentor at their University of choice. The mentor should have a strong interest in the applicants area of research, but should not normally be the applicant’s PhD supervisor unless there are exceptional circumstances. The mentor should have appropriate skills and experience to assist the fellow in achieving their specific goals and aspirations for the year.

We anticipate most applicants will have one mentor, although a second is permitted where appropriate. Situations where a secondary supervisor might be considered more appropriate include:

  • where the focus of the fellows research is inter- or multi- disciplinary in nature
  • where the candidate wishes to spend a considerable length of time overseas
  • where the candidate wishes to retain links to their prior research institute, or PhD Supervisor

We anticipate that Mentors and their fellows will meet for around 1-2 hours per week throughout the duration of the fellowship.

We anticipate that many applicants will identify potential mentors independently, or with advice from previous supervisors / academic contacts. However, should candidates need assistance in identifying a suitable mentor, we advise contacting the most appropriate Training Pathway Lead.

Please note: all mentors must be located in a department or school which is part of a recognised NINE DTP Training Pathway.

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the relevant HR policies of their proposed Research Organisation:




Queen’s University Belfast

Sunderland University

Teesside University

Ulster University

All prospective fellows should work to identify and describe the potential impacts of their research on policy and practice, and how these might be developed and maximised.

The evaluation of the research impact of the fellowship will be reflected within the assessment process, and will form a part of the academic review process.

It should be noted that funds will be made available to develop and deliver impact; candidates are strongly encouraged to make clear and well-considered plans of how they can best deliver impact within the year fellowship.

The ESRC provide a number of resources to assist applicants in preparing research proposals, providing guidance on the nature of research which is fundable, and considerations of ethics, impact and developing research collaborations.

All applicants are encouraged to visit the ESRC website Guidance for Applicants page; we further encourage use of the Impact toolkit when developing impact strategies.

Application documentation

In addition to completing the application pro forma, the following attachments must be produced in a minimum of font size 11. The following seven attachments are mandatory and must be included with your proposal:

This should be structured to include the following headings:

  • Abstract/ summary of progress

Applicants should provide either a summary or abstract of their in-progress or completed thesis. This should be no more than one page and should include its main claims to originality and excellence, methodology used and significant findings.

  • Impacts of your research

This section should describe the impacts your research has had or that you expect it to have. Impacts include the impact of completed research and any planned further limited research, the dissemination of its results and the building up of a publication track record, the development of the research field and the behaviour or understanding of users and policy makers. We are also interested in the impact the applicant’s training to date has had on their skills development and on their prospects for a successful academic career.

  • Research-related achievements

This section requires a well-structured summary of ‘where you are now’ in your training and personal development. This will help reviewers decide whether an applicant is at a stage in their career development where a fellowship will have an important and lasting impact on their ability to work as a professional researcher.

  • Planned programme of activities

This section should detail your planned programme of activities and the key milestones for these activities. Please note that the programme of activities should be tailored to support your longer term career aspirations whether you are aiming for a career in academia or a research career in the broader economy.

Fellows are not expected to undertake new research during an award. However, limited additional research directly linked to the PhD can be undertaken. The Fellowship does not have to be directly building on the work of the PhD; however it does need to follow on or be related to it.

The programme of activities should provide the fellows with time to communicate the research findings arising from previous doctoral work, build international networks to develop impact and further develop research, collaborate with users, learn the skills of writing for publication, and further improve their research and related skills.

We recognise that during the period of award a limited amount of teaching could be beneficial to the professional development of the fellows. Award holders will therefore be permitted to put aside a maximum of six hours per week (pro rata) to teaching including preparation time.

This statement should be used to break down and justify the resources required to undertake the research project.

  • Explain why the indicated resources are needed, taking account of the nature and complexity of the research proposed. Note that it is not sufficient merely to list what is required.
  • Break down of resources into the summary fund headings Directly Incurred, Directly Allocated and (where appropriate) Exceptions, as outlined in the proposal form. In addition, spend should be justified related to the following headings:
    • Overseas institutional visits (including any potential fieldwork costs)
    • Funding for networking
    • Training costs
    • Mobile equipment needs (i.e. laptop)
    • Impact-related costs
  • In some cases, such as investigator time, use of internal facilities and shared staff costs (all likely to be Directly Allocated costs), the basis of the costing need not be justified, but the need for the resources does need justification.
  • Estates and indirect costs do not need to be justified.
The CV needs to provide the date the PhD viva voce was passed, or the scheduled date for the viva voce, brief details of education to date, any awards received for work or training, previous employment history, and any conference papers or publications.
The list of publications should contain the bibliography for references cited in the proposal. The applicants own publications should include with their CV.
The head of department at the host RO must complete a statement confirming the RO’s support for the proposal. Host ROs must demonstrate their strong support for the proposal guaranteeing as a minimum that the named mentor will be available and that appropriate support facilities, including office space and appropriate computing facilities, will be made available to the fellow during the period of the award. In addition, the host RO will be expected to show they have a commitment to the support and promotion of early career researchers and lecturers.

The head of department statement should:

  • confirm that the applicant would be accepted into the department for the purpose of undertaking the proposed programme of work;
  • explain how the proposed programme of work would fit in with the department’s wider research programme;
  • confirm that the applicant would have access to the same training and development opportunities open to permanent members of academic staff at the institution;
  • confirm that the applicant’s work and progress would be subject to the same monitoring and appraisal as those of other academic staff within the host RO.
A combined mentor statement and CV must be included as an attachment to the proposal.

Fellows will be required to have a mentor throughout the period of the award and they should be identified at the time of applying. The mentor should ideally have research experience in the same field as the applicant but should not, wherever possible, be the PhD supervisor. The mentor will need to be a senior colleague within the host RO. The reviewers will emphasise the role of the mentor seriously and will look for strong evidence of support. Thus the mentor statement should demonstrate that the mentor:

  • has considered the individual applicant’s needs carefully and tailored their programme of support to their individual needs
  • will ensure the fellow is kept properly active and focussed throughout the year
  • will also keep the fellow’s long-term career prospects clearly in mind.
The applicant must provide one referee statement to contribute to the assessment process. The referee may be the PhD supervisor, however if the supervisor is the proposed mentor, the referee statement should be from a second academic.
A work plan should be included to highlight key milestones for the programme of work.
It is a requirement of the ESRC Research Data Policy  that all applicants planning to generate data as part of their grant must include a Data Management Plan. The Data Management Plan should be used as an opportunity to describe how the data, ie primary input into research and first-order results of that research, are going to be managed – starting from planning for research and through the life-cycle of the grant until data is accepted for archiving by the UK Data Service.

The ESRC recognises the importance of research data quality and provenance. Research data generated by ESRC-funded research must be well-managed by the grant holder during the grant period to enable their data to be exploited to the maximum potential for further research.

If you are intending to visit an overseas institution within the period of the fellowship, a letter of support from the institution must be provided, supporting the visit in principle.

No other additional attachments will be accepted and your proposal may be returned or rejected if you include attachments that are not permitted under this call or if any of the mandatory attachments are missing.

Any questions?

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