SWDTC Postdoctoral Fellowships Scheme

The ESRC has announced Postdoctoral Fellowships as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The ESRC will support five GCRF Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDFs) across the SWDTC Universities. The South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) is one of five DTC partners to deliver this due to its longstanding commitment to supporting postgraduate training and demonstrable research strength in this area. Funding is available for up to £125k (100 % full Economic Cost (fEC) per fellowship, and will be supported at 80 % fEC. Funding will be provided for up to one year full time, or up to two years part time. Fellows should spend 100% of their working time on the PDF, though up to 8 hours will be allowed for teaching/other non-research activities.


  • Applicants must have PhDs from Bath, Exeter or Bristol.
  • At the time of submission, applicants must either have a PhD or have passed their viva voce with only minor corrections. Any offer of an award will be conditional until the host RO has received documentary evidence of the completion of the doctorate with no more than minor corrections from the awarding RO.
  • Applicants must have no more than three years’ active postdoctoral experience at the start date of the award. Active postdoctoral experience is defined as that accomplished between the viva being passed with no more than minor corrections and the proposed start date of the fellowship, not including any interruptions due to family, health or personal reasons. This includes professional doctorates as well as the PhD.
  • The scheme will not be opento applicants who are established, permanent members of staff in an academic position with a research component.
  • All proposals must comply with ODA requirements, with a primary purpose being to promote the economic development and welfare of a developing country or countries on the DAC list. Further guidance is provided here, and in the call specification documents.
  • All GCRF Fellows are required to have a mentor with suitable relevant experience, who should be based at the host research organisation. They should not (normally) be the applicant’s PhD supervisor.

Fellows’ programmes of work should reflect their prior knowledge and experience, and should include:

  • engagement with both academic and non-academic audiences to communicate the research findings that have come out of their previous doctoral work;
  • the building of international networks with both academic and user audiences to develop impact opportunities and inform and support the further development of their research;
  • collaboration with users through an internship or placement to help develop their professional and transferrable skills and understanding of users’ organisations and their needs;
  • production of publications in order to help establish a track record in their chosen specialisation and secure opportunities for long term employment in research;
  • further improvement of their research and related skills through additional specialised training;
  • shared learning gained through their fellowship with their DTC and the ESRC;
  • further limited research (no more than 25 per cent of time commitment) based on their PhD and related work through developing proposals for further funding. NOTE: New unrelated research may not be undertaken during a GCRF Fellowship.

ESRC ran a webinar for potential applicants on 12th August.  Click on the links below for slides and Q&A from the webinar.

Slides from GCRF Webinar on 12th August

Q&A from GCRF Webinar on 12th August

The deadline for applications is 9 September. Each DTC will review the proposals and make funding decisions on behalf of ESRC. Proposals will be assessed in early October, with decisions being communicated to applicants soon thereafter. Fellowships would typically commence by January 2017.

Click on the link to read the ESRC GCRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Call Specification

Click on the link to download the GCRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Application Form

Please address any general queries to the institution where your Fellowship would be hosted:

ODA specific queries can be addressed to ESRC: Henna.Patel@esrc.ac.uk or Josie.Mcgregor@esrc.ac.uk