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Independent Research Fellows

What are independently funded fellowships?

Fellowships are competitively awarded grants which support talented and ambitious researchers to lead an independent programme of research, whilst also providing personal and career development. There are many schemes covering different career stages and scientific remit, but most fellowships generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Postdoctoral Training Fellowships are aimed at researchers, often within~3 years of completing their PhD, to lead their own programme of research whilst based within an academic’s group
  • Career Development Fellowships support researchers who are ready to make the transition to independence. It is normally expected that a Career Development Fellow will have established themselves as a leader in their field by the end of the Fellowship period
  • Fellowships for Research Leaders provide protected time for research, reducing teaching or other administrative duties, enabling the delivery of research excellence.

Fellowships are highly competitive but can provide an excellent springboard for early career researchers to develop independence and establish their own programme of research. There are many Fellowship schemes supporting research within the Life Sciences with deadlines throughout the year.

The School of Life Sciences (SLS) offers a vibrant and supportive environment within a community of world-class scientists to undertake a period of Fellowship. We welcome enquiries from talented and driven researchers who are interested in joining SLS on an independently funded fellowship.

About the School of Life Sciences

The School of Life Sciences offers an excellent and supportive environment for research scientists embarking on an independent career. In REF2021, 90% of our research was rated as 'world leading or internationally excellent'. SLS’s innovative bioscience research spans six dynamic and highly collaborative Research Clusters, underpinned by a unique combination of world-class facilities and infrastructure including a new £54.3M Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building (IBRB), field and glasshouse facilities, and capabilities in imaging, proteomics and genomics.

Interdisciplinary research is strongly encouraged and enabled by our links with departments across the University of Warwick, particularly in the biological, medical, and physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. The cross-university Research Centres and Global Research Priorities further promote interdisciplinarity to address the challenges that we face globally.

SLS is committed to ensuring an open, inclusive, and supportive environment where everyone can achieve their goals. The School currently holds an Athena SWAN Silver award and has an active Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee focussed on improving the culture and environment in the school for everyone.

What we can offer

SLS has an long history of supporting early career Fellows, helping them all build successful independent careers.

We are committed to supporting researchers from diverse backgrounds with clear fellowship plans throughout their application. We will provide the following support to give your proposal the strongest chance of success:

  • Identifying appropriate funding schemes
  • Providing advice on your CV, highlighting areas of strength and discussing how to improve other areas;
  • Arranging a visit to SLS to present your plans, meet our academics and have a tour of our facilities.
  • Providing links to previous Fellowship holders, where possible
  • Preparing feedback on your Fellowship applications (strategic/scientific feedback, costing etc.)
  • Setting up mock Fellowship interviews.
  • Providing a mentor throughout the application process.

Expression of Interest

If you are interested in joining SLS on an independently funded fellowship, please contact Dr Kate Rathbone, the Research Strategy Development Officer ( with an Expression of Interest, which should include the following:

  • CV, including your list of publications
  • Short research proposal (2 pages in total, including your research interests and future plans)
  • A cover letter (max 1 page, including why you would like to join the School of Life Sciences).

Within the Expression of Interest, we would encourage you to consider the following:

  • What is your defined biological question and/or hypothesis based approach?
  • What is the novelty, timeliness and expected impact of your proposed research?
  • What is your unique selling point, perspective or approach?
  • Do you have freedom to pursue this line of research? (e.g. agreement with a former supervisor and their support)
  • How does the project proposal fit strategically with the School of Life Sciences?
  • Have you identified a suitable supervisor, mentor or collaborators in SLS?
  • Will your application benefit from any infrastructure or facilities available in SLS or Warwick?
  • Does your CV demonstrate that your career is on an upward trajectory and that you are ready to embark on an independent research career at this point?
  • What drives you to have an independent research career and are you able to articulate that?

Your Expression of Interest will be reviewed by the School, after which we will be in touch with feedback and information on next steps, possibly including a visit to the School of Life Sciences.

Meet some of our SLS Fellows:

Dr Fabrizio Alberti

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Through his Fellowship, Fabrizio will develop a platform to produce high-value chemicals in mushroom-forming fungi.

Dr Amol Bhandare

Epilepsy Research UK Emerging Leader Fellow

Amol is exploring the role of microglia and astrocytes in epilepsy, which are known to be involved in memory dysfunction and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

Dr Erin Connelly

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Erin's Fellowship is an international, interdisciplinary project exploring questions of ethnopharmacology and the antimicrobial efficacy of ingredients from historical and traditional medical sources.

Dr Emily Lane-Hill

Race Against Dementia Fellow

Emily's 5 year Fellowship will investigate the role of tau, a protein known to disrupt the function of neurons in the brain in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Joe McKenna

BBSRC Discovery Fellow

Joe is using high-resolution microscopy to study organelle dynamics within plant cells, in particular studiying how the endoplasmic reticulum interacts with the actin cytoskeleton

Dr Angeliki Skagia

Daphne Jackson Fellow

Angeliki's project explores how infectious microorganisms grow within plant tissues during infection and seeks to understand how plant cells respond to them.