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ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP is pleased to invite applications for seven ESRC funded Postdoctoral Fellowships at least one of which must be aligned with the Industrial Strategy, to be based at one 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.

At least one Postdoctoral Fellowship that we allocate must be aligned to the Industrial Strategy. Alignment can be demonstrated in terms of addressing the skills gaps of advanced quantitative methods or data science, or where the proposed programme activities involves collaboration with a private sector partner such as a placement or a co-designed research activity.

Therefore, if your proposed project has an alignment with the Industrial Strategy as outlined above, we strongly recommend that this is addressed clearly within your application, and the project developed accordingly.


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 expected to complete their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT.
  • Have either been awarded a PhD by the submission deadline (23 March 2020) or have passed their viva voce with minor amendments by the application deadline of 23 March 2020 and have been awarded their PhD by the fellowship start date of 1 October 2020.
  • Have no more than 12 months active postdoctoral experience since passing their viva voce (allowing for career breaks) by 23 March 2020

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 2020.

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 will shortly be detailed below:

Aston University Deadline
  • Monday 24th February 2020 - Applicants must have contacted Strategic Funding Manager Ronni Littlewood and submitted an expression of interested form, which can be requested from Ronni Littlewood.
University of Birmingham Deadline
  • 12:00 Friday 7th February 2020 - 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 (s dot j dot large at bham dot ac dot uk), Ella Tebay for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (e dot tebay at bham dot ac dot uk), and Liese Perrin for the College of Arts and Law (l dot m dot perrin at bham dot ac dot uk).
University of Leicester Deadlines
  • Friday 14th February 2020 - 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 Applicants/mentors will work with the research support contact to determine the costings for the project so that a LUCRE costing form can be generated.

  • Friday 6th March 2020 - Latest date for costings and final proposals to be submitted to the Research Grants team for approval.

Loughborough University Deadline
  • Monday 24 February 2020 - Applicants need to have confirmed their eligibility, received confirmation of support from their proposed mentor at Loughborough, and have contacted Denise Wade,
University of Nottingham Deadlines
  • Monday 20th January 2020 – 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 24th February 2020 – Applicants to submit draft proposals to relevant Research Development contact and mentor for review.
  • Monday 16th March 2020 – Applicants to submit final proposal to relevant Research Development contact.
University of Warwick Deadline
  • Friday 14th February 2020 - Applicants must have contacted Warwick’s Research & Impact Services team ( about their application by this date and should have a first draft of their Postdoctoral Fellowship application ready, along with 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 the 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 2020.
  • Fellowships will commence on 1st October 2020.


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