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ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

The call for application to begin an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2021 is now closed. The call is likely to run again for October 2022 entry. Once announced, this page will be updated with details for 2022 entry. This is likely to be in November 2021. In the meantime, the details for 2021 entry below give a useful idea of what may be required for the next round.

ESRC-funded Postdoctoral Fellowships can be based at any of our partner institutions: Aston University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Warwick.


These 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.

This opportunity is open to applicants who:

  • Have completed or are expected to complete their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT. (Please note that you do not have to have completed a PhD funded by ESRC or a DTP.)
  • Have either been awarded a PhD by the submission deadline (23 March 2021) or have passed their viva voce with minor amendments by the application deadline of 23 March 2021 and have been awarded their PhD by the fellowship start date of 1 October 2021.
  • Have no more than 12 months active postdoctoral experience since passing their viva voce (allowing for career breaks) by 23 March 2021.

Permanent members of staff in an academic position with a research component are not eligible for this scheme. If a candidate has previously been employed on a part-time basis, that employment can be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Please read the call specification and FAQ documents fully before applying.

Proposals are welcome from single or inter-disciplinary backgrounds but the fellowship activities must be aligned to one of the Midlands Graduate School DTP's 17 accredited pathways.

How to Apply

Step One: Identify an MGS institution, pathway, and mentor

Institution: All MGS institutions can host a postdoctoral fellow, provided they offer the relevant pathway.

Pathway: Fellowships must be aligned to accredited pathways. You can find a list of our pathways here. Also note that your application will need support from the relevant Head of School or Department.

(Note: not all institutions offer all training pathways. )

Mentor: All applications must include a named mentor, who is also aligned to the chosen pathway. Further information about this aspect of your application can be found on pages 3-4 of the call specification, and pages 6-7 of the FAQ document. If you need help in identifying a mentor you can contact the relevant institutional pathway lead for further advice.

Step Two: Costing

Applications will need to be costed. There is support available in the ESRC call documentation to help you with this (see key documents above), and the institution to which you are applying will also offer support. Get in touch via the relevant enquiry contacts below.

Step Three: Submission and Deadlines

Applicants are required to complete the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships Application Form  and submit this along with all required attachments to esrcdtp at warwick dot ac dot uk by the application deadline 16.00 on 23 March 2021.

Please refer to the call specification for more details on what is required within each of these attachments.

Please note that there may be further earlier internal deadlines depending on the institution to which you are applying which are detailed below:

Aston University Deadline
  • Monday 25 January 2021 - Applicants must have contacted Strategic Funding Manager Ronni Littlewood to enquire about further information on how to apply.
University of Birmingham Deadline
  • 16:00 Friday 5 February 2021 - Applicants must have contacted the relevant Research Support Office about their application by this date. The relevant person you will need contact will vary depending on the College to which you are applying: Sonia Bains for the College of Social Sciences (, Helen Lambert for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (, and Liese Perrin for the College of Arts and Law (
University of Leicester Deadlines
  • Friday 12 February 2021 - Applicants/mentors to have approached their respective College Research Support Team/administrator to notify intention to submit a proposal, and discuss their project. For applications within CSSAH, please contact the College Research Support Team on For applications with CSE, please contact For applications with Health Sciences, please contact Applicants/mentors must work with the research support contact to determine the costings for the project so that a LUCRE costing form can be generated.
  • Friday 5 March 2021 - Latest date for costings and final proposals to be submitted to the Research Grants team for approval.
Loughborough University Deadline
  • Monday 22 February 2021 - Applicants need to have notified of their intention to submit a proposal, and to have also contacted the Research Office. Queries about who the relevant Research Office contact is can be directed to in the first instance
University of Nottingham Deadlines
  • Friday 22 January 2021 – Deadline for Applicants and/or Mentors to confirm School support and inform relevant Research Development contact (Queries about who the relevant Research Development contact is can be directed to in the first instance).
  • Monday 1 March 2021 – Applicants to submit draft proposals to relevant Research Development contact and mentor for review.
  • Tuesday 16 March 2021 – Applicants to submit final proposal to relevant Research Development contact.
University of Warwick Deadline
  • Sunday 14 February 2021 - Applicants must have contacted Warwick's Research & Impact Services team ( about their application by this date and should have confirmed support from their host department, a first draft of their Postdoctoral Fellowship application ready (the short sections on the application form and Case for Support), an outline of the activities they wish to be costed into the application, and details of their agreed mentor. Applicants will then work with the research support contact to determine costings for the project.
Equality & Diversity Data Form

The ESRC are seeking demographic statistics for the overall postdoctoral fellowship applicant pool for the purpose of equal opportunities monitoring. In order to comply with our ESRC reporting requirements if you are applying for an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship with the Midlands Graduate School, you should also complete our ‘Equality & Diversity Data Form’ available here, and submit this as one of the attachments with your final application. However, this is not a required attachment and candidates who do not include this form with their application will be recorded as having submitted as ‘Prefer not to say’ for each option.

If you choose to submit your Postdoctoral Fellowship application with all required attachments as a single PDF document, please ensure that the Equality & Diversity Data Form is submitted as a separate attachment and not incorporated into the main application.

  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • All final decisions on applications will be communicated to applicants by the end of June 2021.
  • Fellowships will commence on 1 October 2021.


General enquiries should be directed to the relevant institution within the DTP to where you are applying to hold the Fellowship.