Explore our research

Fellowships

We are keen to attract outstanding researchers in all disciplines from the UK or internationally and we welcome applications from exceptional candidates with a track record of high impact research.

As an institution, we are investing heavily in our talent pipeline, securing our research leaders of the future, we have a track record of converting fellowships into full-tenured academic positions and we can provide guidance and mentoring for selected candidates in developing your research career.

What is a Fellowship?

A Fellowship helps accelerate an academic career and makes an impressive addition to an academic CV. It should provide you with additional professional and enhancement training opportunities, mentoring and other opportunities for you to further your career development. Beyond this similarity it is hard to provide a single definition of a fellowship. 

Research Fellowships and Early Career Fellowships

These fellowships provide recent graduate students with the opportunity to complete additional training in a field and/or support the continued development of their research. The fellowships aims to provide an independent research career through the funded programme of activity as well as enabling researchers to become leaders in their chosen field. The primary difference between these two schemes is that Early Career Fellowships are usually within a set period of time since graduation whereas not all Research Fellowships have a time limit.

What types of Fellowships exist?

As described above, Research Fellowships and Early Career Fellowships are designed to accelerate careers and assist researchers to achieve research independence through the awards.

Other fellowships exist to assist with re-integration following career breaks (e.g. Daphne Jackson Fellowships), providing travel funding for collaborative working abroad (Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowships) or to translate your research to a different field (MRC Skills Development Fellowships).

Why would I want to do one?

A Fellowship can help to accelerate your career trajectory into academia. It provides evidence of professional development and a clear pathway to gaining research independence, a vital skill for successful academic positions. In addition, some fellowships are seen as highly prestigious and clearly enhance your CV and academic employment potential.

The Fellowship itself provides a fixed term funded position, usually far longer in duration than typical post-doctoral research positions. Salary, travel, basic equipment and consumable costs can all be provided enabling freedom and flexibility to pursue your research challenge. Fellowships also provide you with the experience of academic life without the burden of full administrative or teaching duties. If the Fellowship is completed successfully, there can be a tenured position to transition into as well.

Why Leicester?

We value our Fellows, and will work with you to ensure successful research and translational outcomes in the course of your fellowship. We're also here to support your transition to independence, with career coaching, leadership training and tailored developmental opportunities to see you to the next stage in your career.

If you are interested in applying for an externally-funded fellowship and would like to undertake your research at the University of Leicester, take a look at our research expertise:

Case Studies

Dr Catherine Greenfield - Daphne Jackson Fellowship

Catherine returned to a research career in 2019 with the help of a Daphne Jackson Fellowship award co-sponsored by the University of Leicester and the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council.

After completing her PhD in structural geology at Imperial College, Catherine took a 14 year career break for caring responsibilities. During this time she missed the challenge and excitement of research and struggled with the redefinition of who she was from scientist to carer. When the caring responsibilities eased, she felt the need to reclaim both her identity as a scientist and the ambition to make a difference in the world.

“I had the determination to achieve my dreams and had gained many transferable skills during my career break but when it came to applying for research posts it was bitterly disappointing to be told that the gap in my CV and lack of recent publications made me uncompetitive with other applicants”.

A serendipitous meeting with a friend and previous colleague led to a recommendation to look at applying for a fellowship with the Daphne Jackson Trust as a way to return to research.

“To my delight, there was a Daphne Jackson Fellowship advertised at the University of Leicester, close to where I lived. There wouldn’t be any requirement to relocate or commute long distances and it was part-time which meant that I could fit in caring for my family. It just seemed to be destined to happen”.

Catherine contacted the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment (SGGE) and developed an interdisciplinary project collaborating with geologist Dr Richard Walker and Prof Simon Gill in the School of Engineering. The research focusses on finite element modelling of rock compression and fracture with application to the carbon sequestration and geothermal industries.

Collaboration with Prof Simon Gill enabled training in state of the art software and a shift in discipline to focus on numerical modelling. Catherine is now bringing these skills to the SGGE to promote greater use of numerical modelling within the School. The fellowship also included training courses hosted by the Daphne Jackson Trust to support the particular issues faced by career returners in areas such as professional confidence and re-establishing a career network.

“To return to research after being away for such a long time was a huge challenge both professionally and personally. I have made it back with the support of the Daphne Jackson Trust, the University of Leicester and NERC plus generous help from advocates, including Richard Walker, Simon Gill and staff within the SGGE. The fellowship was a unique and fantastic opportunity for me. I could retrain to update my skills and knowledge in an academic setting and get back into research. It has given me a sense pride and an ownership of my own research with which I hope to make a difference.”

Dr Saroa Rashid - Daphne Jackson Fellowship

"I finished my PhD at the University of Leicester in 2017 where I studied the relationship between Clostridium difficile and its bacteriophages from the natural environment of Northern Iraq. I characterised novel strains of C. difficile and its bacteriophages and identified novel phages with potential for therapeutic use.

"During my PhD I had a busy four years juggling my studies and looking after my three children (who were 2, 11 and 12 when I started my PhD). For much of this time I functioned as a single parent in this endeavour, as my husband was fulfilling duties at our former University in Iraq. 

"After completing my PhD in Microbiology at the University of Leicester I took two years career break to support my older son who has cerebral palsy and was recovering from his surgeries on both legs, and also during the last 2 years was studying for his GCSEs so needed extra care and support. He was tutored at home with extra sessions after school that required input from me, I was also needed to help him with physical exercises to build up the strength in his muscles. These factors combined meant that it was desirable to take a break in my career and accommodate my family’s needs to take them through this critical period.  
During the time I was away I missed the challenge and excitement of research, although my passion to be a scientist did not diminish; I kept in touch with the field by keeping up to date with literature and attending conferences. However, I found difficulty in finding the opportunity to return to career with the gap in my CV and lack of recent publications that made me uncompetitive with other applicants.

"My husband’s colleague and former Daphne Jackson fellow at De Montfort University recommended to apply for Daphne Jackson fellowship as a way to return to research. My fellowship is a rare opportunity for me, mean I can return to science update my skills, expand my knowledge, learn new skills and return to research in an academic setting whilst continuing to look after my family outside of school hours and in school holidays.

"My PhD supervisor Prof Martha Clokie at Genetics and Genome Biology department University of Leicester well supported me at the beginning of my fellowship application and in drafting the research project. My research focusses on molecular characterisation of Clostridiods difficile in Northern Iraq and identification of phage-host interaction.

"My supervisor and the University of Leicester has provided me with further support and training to update my lab skill technique, teaching skills and to collaborate with other researchers within Martha Clokie’s group in writing publications. Also, Daphne Jackson Trust has provided the training to support the issues faced by career returners in areas such as professional confidence and re-establishing a career network.

“To return to research after being away for such a long time was a huge challenge both professionally and personally. I have made it back with the support of the Daphne Jackson Trust, Prof Clokie and the University of Leicester. The fellowship was a rare and fantastic opportunity for me. I could retrain to update my skills and knowledge in an academic setting and get back into research. It has given me a sense pride and an ownership of my own research with which I hope to make a difference.”

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