Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


I’m a UK national – can I apply?

The answer depends on where you have been working recently, rather than on your nationality. If you have worked in the UK for no more than 12 months in the past three years, then you are eligible to apply for a fellowship.

I’m a non-EU citizen – can I apply?

Yes – the scheme is open to applicants from any country or nationality, so long as you’ve got a PhD or equivalent research experience and so long as you’ve not worked in the UK for more than 12 months in the past 3 years. If you are from outside the EU and are offered a fellowship, you will need to apply for a visa to work in the UK. This is likely to be through the UK’s Tier 5 visa route. We can help you with this process when the time comes.

I’ve had a career break – does that affect the eligibility criteria for applying for a Fellowship?

If you have had a career break (defined by the EC as not having been active in research for at least 12 months immediately prior to the application deadline), then a slightly different mobility criterion can be used which may enable some people to apply. In this case, you must not have resided or carried out the main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 36 months in the 5 years immediately prior to the application deadline.

What date will be used when you are looking at the eligibility criteria for a fellowship?

We will take the closing date for fellowship applications (29 September 2017) as the date on which the eligibility criteria need to be fulfilled. This includes the need to have a PhD or four years equivalent research experience, and the need to have not worked in the UK for more than 12 months in the past 3 years.

What does ‘four years equivalent research experience’ mean?

In order to be eligible for a fellowship, applicants must either have been awarded a PhD or have four years equivalent (full-time) research experience. The standard definition regarding equivalent research experience used by Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions is:

Full-Time Equivalent Research Experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is or was ever envisaged.

Funding and finances

How is the scheme funded?

The scheme is part-funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie grant agreement No 665593. The EU provides a fixed amount of money per fellowship (equivalent to €31,500 per year), which roughly covers half of the direct costs of the post. The remainder of the funds to employ a fellow need to be found by the host department. STFC also provides fixed amounts for training, travel & subsistence and consumables for fellow’s projects up to €4800 per year.

What sources of funds can be used to provide the non-EU part of the scheme funding?

Departments can use any source of funding to complement the EU contribution, except another Horizon 2020 grant, and with the condition that fellows must be able to spend 100% of their time working on their research project.

What pay will a fellow receive?

Fellows will be paid on standard STFC or Diamond pay scales. The range of salaries is £29,900 - £40,014, depending on experience – someone who has just completed their PhD should expect to be employed at the bottom end of this scale, whereas someone with several years’ experience and associated publication record and research achievements will be appointed higher up this range. The range quoted here gives the gross amount that a fellow will be paid – there are UK taxes, national insurance and pension contributions which are taken off these amounts before a fellow actually receives their pay (there are also employer pension and national insurance contributions which aren’t included in this amount). As a rough guide, after the above amounts are taken off, you are likely to receive between 70% and 75% of the gross salary as take-home pay.

The Research Project

Can the projects be multidisciplinary or across more than on STFC department?

Yes – in fact this is encouraged. Interdisciplinary projects, intersectoral projects (i.e. projects which might involve companies as well as academia) are welcomed. This is also true for projects which involve more than one STFC department – such projects are welcomed.

Can my project include a secondment or an industrial placement?

As long as your host department agrees that you can spend time away from the host location, and as long as the time away is a clear part of your research project, then secondments or placements elsewhere can be allowed. However, since researcher mobility is a key part of the programme, so extended periods back in the country that a researcher has just come from will need special justification.

Can I undertake research outside of the UK as part of my project?

It is quite likely that your research project will involve short trips abroad to run experiments at overseas facilities or to attend international conferences, and these are fine. If your project is likely to involve longer periods abroad, this may be possible but will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

What sort of projects have been funded under the scheme?

The first 13 RIFP fellows and their projects are described here.

The second 12 RIFP fellows and their projects are described here.

Other details

How long are Fellowships?

Within this call, the maximum fellowship length will be 2 years.

When do I need to have started my Fellowship by if I’m successful?

Fellowships need to have been started no later than 30 June 2018.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000