What is the UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship scheme?
The Government Office for Science offers UK Intelligence Community (IC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships to outstanding early career science or engineering researchers. These Research Fellowsgips are designed to promote unclassified basic research in areas of interest to the intelligence, security and defence communities.
Each year members of the IC identify research topics and the applicants work locally with their University Research Advisor to develop and submit research proposals that align with the topics.
Who can apply?
Early-career researchers worldwide with a PhD, which was awarded no more than five years before the submission deadline. PhD students are eligible to apply, but must have been awarded their PhD (or the PhD must have been unconditionaly approved) before the date suggested in the applicant guidance notes or the offer will be withdrawn.
There is no nationality and age restrictions for applicants, but UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowships must be held at a UK higher education institution/university in a department that can show it is capable of fully supporting the research project and researcher. No security vetting is required as part of the UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship scheme, but by applying to this scheme the applicant is agreeing to be vetted if it becomes necessary during the research fellowship. If security vetting is required and the Research Fellow does not meet the security vetting requirement, the UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship award will be withdrawn.
In addition, the applicant must not hold a permanent academic position before the start of the UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Probationary or fixed-term lecturers are eligible to apply if the probationary or fixed-term status remains till the start of the Research Fellowship.
What are the benefits' of the programme
Each application is capped at a maximum contribution from the Academy of £200,000 over the 2-year period at 80% of the full economic costs (fEC). The host institution is responsible for providing the remaining costs. For further details on the resources requested, please see the applicant guidance notes available on the how to apply page.
In addition to the financial support, the scheme also provides mentoring support from an Academy Fellow and training and networking opportunities. In addition, UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellows will be assigned an Intelligence Community (IC) Advisor, who will advise the awardee and the University Research Advisor on the project.
Is the programme fEC?
The funding is at 80% of full economic costs.
What does the programme fund?
The funding includes directly incurred costs (e.g. Research Fellow's salary, travel and subsistence, other costs), directly allocated costs (e.g. estates) and indirect costs. For further details on the resources requested, please see the applicant guidance notes available on the how to apply page.
What does the programme not fund?
There are limits on the requested costs (e.g. unless the need for significant comptuting power can be justified, the purchase of a computer should not exceed £3,000 and you should not request more that one computer. The cost of any single item of equipment, software, cloud computing/compute time fees, database subscription or upgrade to existing equipment should not exceed £10,000. For further details on the resources requested, please see the applicant guidance notes available on the how to apply page.
What are the key dates to know?
Frequency of award cycle
Applications are open once a year, usually opening in January and closing in April. There is one application round each year.
Timeline of review process
Applications review will take place between April – June. Applicants will be informed of the result in July.
Start date of award
UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowships that are awarded in the year round must start between 1 October and 1 December in the same year, unless otherwise advised by the Academy.
Duration of award
The duration of a UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is two years full-time, calculated on a pro-rata basis for part-time awards. Requests for a shorter UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship are not accepted.
What is the assessment process?
The scheme has a one-stage assessment process. Applications will be assessed by reviewers consisting of the UK government intelligence, security, and defence community members (under the auspices of the Government Office for Science) and Academy Fellows. The reviewers will provide comments against each of the following assessment criteria, the overall quality of the application and make a recommendation on whether the applicant should be funded. The selection panel will consider the reviewers’ comments and select the top ranked candidates for awards. For further details on the assessment criteria, please see the applicant guidance notes on the how to apply page.
How do I apply?
Can I submit two ideas?
Can I reapply?
Applicants who have applied to this scheme before and were unsuccessful are eligible to reapply. These applications will be considered as new applications.
What reporting requirements will be expected of me throughout the duration of the award?
UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellows must submit a progress report every three months throughout the duration of the fellowship as well as an annual report and expenditure statement at the end of each year. At the annual review meeting the Research Fellow, mentor and Academy staff will discuss the report, progress made and future plans. Research Fellows will also be asked to provide some key data on their annual performance (e.g. publications and additional research funding) for the purpose of auditing and reporting to the Academy’s funders. Please see the Reporting and Review Meeting guindance on the how to apply page for more details.
Are there nationality or other eligibility restrictions?
There are no nationality and age restrictions for applicants. The host institution is responsible for securing all necessary work permits and related costs for the UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellows.
No security vetting is required as part of the Research Fellowship scheme, but by applying to this scheme the applicant is agreeing to be vetted if it becomes necessary during the Research Fellowship. Applicants are asked to declare any reasons why they might not be eligible to work in this area (see Statement of Support and Declaration in the application form).
What will the Goverment Office for Science contribute?
The Goverment Office for Science will fund up to £100,000 per year at 80% of full economic costs. Each application is capped at a maximum contribution of £200,000 over the 2-year period. In addition, UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellows will be assigned an Intelligence Community Advisor (IC Advisor), who will advise the awardee and the University Research Advisor on the research project.
How will any resulting intellectual property rights be assigned?
The Government Office for Science would normally expect right of use of any intellectual property generated during the research fellowship. The Academy will not own or be granted a licence under any intellectual property rights relating to or resulting from the Research Fellowship's Programme of Activities. All rights, title and interests in the foreground intellectual property shall be owned by the awardee's host university. Please see the Intellectual Property clauses in our standard contract template on the policy documents page for more details.
Will you help me find a host institution in the UK so that I can apply?
It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the host institution to gain their formal approval before submitting an application.
Can Research Fellowships be held at an industrial institution?
UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowships cannot be held at industrial institutions. However, research may be carried out with an industrial collaborator, providing the research is relevant to the programme of UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowships.
Can the Research Fellowship be extended?
Extensions beyond the two-year period are not permitted except for extenuating circumstances (e.g. maternity, paternity, extended sick leave, national service, or caring responsibility).
If the project warrants a third year of research and the Research Fellow, University Research Advisor, and IC Advisor concur, the Research Fellow is required to submit a supplementary research proposal. The proposal should not exceed three pages and must be emailed to the Academy no later than 1 January of the second year of research. This submission does not replace the annual reporting requirement. The third-year extension will be based on the quality of the research proposed and the availability of funding.
Can Research Fellows pursue other work during the course of their Research Fellowship?
UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellows are required to devote all their working time to the Research Fellowship programme of work. The UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship must be the Research Fellow’s only source of employment. Up to four hours a week may be spent on teaching and adminstration duties, and consultancy work.