The British Academy / Wolfson Fellowships 2022-23 guidance notes
Guidance notes for the British Academy/Wolfson Fellowships 2022-23 Competition. Please read these scheme notes carefully. Any incorrectly submitted application will be ineligible for award.
OverviewDownload the guidance notes
Aim of the scheme
The third round of competition for the British Academy/Wolfson Fellowships continues a joint initiative between the Wolfson Foundation and the British Academy to support the next generation of research and engagement leaders in the humanities and social sciences.
These awards are designed to support early career researchers who show exceptional talent in both research and public engagement, emphasising and demonstrating the importance of academic research and creative thought at a time of rapid political and societal change.
The programme will provide early career academics with the most valuable commodity – time – by releasing them from some of their administration and teaching duties to pursue their research, along with funding for public engagement and travel. The award duration is three years.
It is expected that six awards will be offered in this second call, and that they will continue to participate with future cohorts building a network of outstanding researchers.
The second competition last year was extremely popular and attracted a high volume of applications resulting in a success rate of under 10% (similar to British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships and Newton International Fellowships). We are expecting this third round of competition to be popular again.
Successful candidates will be selected on the basis of the quality and interest of the research project proposed in the application, and on the expected contribution to be made to public understanding. Award-holders are expected to play an active role engaging with a wide range of British Academy award-holders, including other Wolfson Fellows, during the period they hold the award and will gain access to British Academy support for events for both academic and public audiences.
The grant maximum is £130,000 across three years. Awards can be used flexibly: at least £90,000 for time buy out, and up to £40,000 for research and travel expenses and dissemination of findings. The funding is expected to be divided: first, to buy out time of day-to-day duties of the award-holder in order to focus on their research goals. Secondly, for travel and public engagement across the three years of the award to help with research costs and to undertake dissemination of the findings from the Fellowship research locally, nationally and globally. The funding is not offered on the FEC model and no institutional costs can be covered.
Competition opens: 12:00pm 21 September 2022
Application deadline: 5:00pm 30 November 2022
Decisions (notification via e-mail): 28 February 2023
Earliest start date: not earlier than 1 September 2023 and not later than 1 January 2024
Eligible applicants must be resident in the United Kingdom, within 9 years of the award of their doctorate, and have a permanent or fixed term post that covers the length of the award (three years) at a UK university or other research institution including museums and galleries. The eligibility window for this year’s round of competition has been extended to 9 years (from 7 years) for this round of competition, it is expected to be as a one off to allow those that have had their careers disrupted and opportunities curtailed in the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic to apply. The British Academy understands the disruption that has been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to those early in their careers, who have had to move to teaching online and have had their research, publishing and conference opportunities limited.
Applicants on part-time contracts are encouraged to apply as the scheme aims to be flexible in offering support, including those who have taken maternity leave or have caring responsibilities. Exemption from this criterion may be granted for reasons occurring after the date of the viva voce examination such as: maternity leave, illness, family commitments etc. The scheme encourages those working within Independent Research Organisations (IRO) to apply. The applicant must have a track record of research achievement consistent with the early career focus of the scheme, demonstrated through their previous academic work and public engagement activity. They should also demonstrate the potential for outstanding qualities of intellectual and academic leadership, especially through their track record of willingness to connect, collaborate and network. They must have shown exceptional talent and imagination in researching issues of global significance and be able to demonstrate their ability to engage a broad audience, both in the lecture theatre and via other modes of communication.
Applicants must have a mentor, either a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) or another academic, during the course of the Fellowship, championing their project and their candidacy, a mentor cannot be a referee. Applicants are responsible for contacting and obtaining the support of a mentor prior to the submission of their application. Please note that the Academy does not expect the mentor to be based in the same institution as the applicant. Their role is to give academic support and guidance, not specific support within the institution at which the award-holder is employed. See the British Academy website for a list of Fellows:
Applications not completed correctly (including references) and on time will not be considered.
Applicants will be expected already to have a permanent or fixed term post at a UK university, IRO or other research institution which can provide a suitable environment and support for applicants. Applicants should have research, teaching and other related duties from which they would need to be released in order to heighten their focus on the research and engagement supported through the Fellowship. The British Academy welcomes applications from museums and galleries, including those with Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status.
Assessors expect to assess the research achievement of the proposed focus for the Fellowship, and the quality of the public engagement activity to be undertaken during the award. They will look at the applicant’s track record to date, bearing in mind the early career focus of the award, and at their potential to be leaders in research and public engagement. They will expect to be satisfied about the applicant’s record in collaboration and their commitment to participation during and beyond the award.
There are no interviews prior to selection. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of the application by the end of February 2023. The approving organisation will be asked to give its consent before the award is confirmed.
The following page shows a flowchart diagram presenting the assessment process described above.
Personal details: When registered in the British Academy Flexi-Grant® GMS, a user has the option to add or update personal information such as contact details, log-in details (including email address and password), interests, research and employment details, at any time. This does not form part of the specific application form for any individual scheme but represents a personal record of your account in the system. Please keep this information up to date.
Automatic log-out: You are strongly advised to save your work regularly to prevent accidental loss of text. The Flexi-Grant website will automatically log people out if no activity is detected. It is recommended that you work offline in a separate word processor and copy and paste completed text online once complete.
Multiple sessions: Do not have multiple browser windows/tabs of your application open at the same time as this may cause information to be lost. Only one user should edit an application at a time.
Word limits: If you exceed the word limit, you will not be able to save the page you are working on. Longer-length text should be completed separately and backed up in a word processor.
Plain text: If entering plain text, please avoid using symbols as some may not be accepted by the Flexi-Grant: This includes the following symbols: < >
PDF documents: When uploading PDF documents, please add your name and a heading at the top of every page to show what the document is (e.g. CV or list of publications). Please avoid uploading documents containing illustrations with fine details or colour as this can cause problems when creating a PDF of the application. Each PDF cannot exceed 3Mb in size.
Email addresses: It is essential that you ensure your email address is up to date and actively monitored, or you may miss important notification emails.
Submission: You will not be able to submit your application until you have completed each section in full. You should submit your application for approval by your host organisation at least five working days before the closing date to allow for your host organisation’s administrative procedures. You should also check whether your institution has its own internal deadlines. We strongly advise that you contact your referee as early as possible to avoid any last-minute issues before the submission deadline.
Application sharing: You can invite other contributors to join the application. All contributors must be registered on the Flexi-Grant grants management system and mark their work as ‘Complete’ before you can submit your application – including the referee.
Application deletion: You can delete your application at any time although it is often a lot easier to just re-edit your existing application. We will be able to recover a deleted application for a period of seven days after deletion. After this, it will be permanently removed from the system.
Application returned for editing: The Organisation Approver can return your application to you for further editing, but the original deadline remains in place.
A full list of question fields to be completed as part of the application can be found in the table below. It is essential that you create a PDF of your completed application by clicking ‘Print application’ and check it thoroughly (including email addresses and uploaded PDF files) before submitting it for approval by your host organisation.
*Indicates a required field.
Completion of Application = word limits in bold/italics or underline (as per other scheme guidance notes)
Application summary page
NB When your application form is complete, the status for each page on the application summary page will say: ‘Complete’. However, only AFTER all invited contributors to your application have clicked the ‘Submit my Contribution’ button will the ‘Submit for Organisation Approval’ button appear.
Please select the subject area from the drop-down menu that is most relevant to this proposal.
Title of research proposal
In this field, please avoid using any unnecessary quotation or other punctuation marks (e.g. do not use quotation marks round the full title simply to indicate it is a title). Consider the presentation by checking the ‘print application’ option to ensure that the title appears as you wish it to.
Please provide a short abstract summarising your proposed research in terms suitable for an informed general audience, not one specialised in your field. This is a mandatory field and the limit is 150 words.
Please give a detailed description of the proposed research and engagement programme, including methodology. Applicants should be aware of the importance that assessors place on the viability, specificity and originality of the research and engagement programme and of its achievability within the timescale, which should be specified in the Plan of Action. The limit on this field is 2000 words.
Plan of action
Please indicate here a clear timetable for your research programme – please keep in mind that it is expected that there will be a balance between the conduct of new research and the public engagement with the findings. Part of the time may be devoted to planning and preparation and individual events may necessarily be more limited in timescale. Try to be as specific but realistic as possible. Your chances of award will be affected by the assessors’ perception of how viable and realistic this plan is. The limit on this field is 800 words.
Plans for publication and dissemination
The aim of this award is to support research and engagement and both aspects should be clearly addressed. Please state in more detail in this field what plans you have for publication or other dissemination of your research, including potential publishers, journals, conferences etc that are appropriate for your research subject. Please also note that public engagement activities need not be solely restricted to the dissemination of findings from the research conducted as part of the award, but can, with appropriate justification, include broader dissemination related to the research interests of the applicant. The limit on this field is 500 words.
Project start/end date
Please click the calendar button to select the start and end date of the proposed research. Please note that the earliest start date for awards in this round is 1 September 2023 and the latest start date is 1 January 2024.
Please provide the name of your proposed mentor and their role at the institution.
Other participants/role of other participants/added value of collaboration
Please list any other participants in the proposed research and engagement activity. Please note that this is a Fellowship award to an individual, and there is no role therefore for a "Co-Applicant".
Please explain the roles that the other participants are going to play in the proposed research and engagement.
Please state briefly what you see as the added value of collaboration over the proposed research and engagement.
Significance and context
Please explain briefly the project’s intended audience and explain what impact it has already made or its potential impact on the subject.
Please provide any examples of how material from the project, or scholarship derived from it, has permeated into outlets such as student or school textbooks, books aimed at a more general readership, or pieces in the media, or has otherwise contributed to popular culture. Do you have any plans for publishing more popular accounts of your work, if none already exist? Is there material arising from the project that might be appropriate for such treatment?
This is a mandatory field and the limit is 500 words.
It is not expected that any special ethical issues will arise that are not already covered by relevant professional Codes of Practice. The normal expectation, therefore, will be that applicants should answer the pair of questions ‘Ethical approval obtained’, no and no.
If there are any special issues arising, but they have already been cleared by approval from a relevant authority, please answer yes and yes.
If any special issues arise and approval has not yet been obtained, please answer yes and no, and provide more explanation under ‘Ethical approval (more information). This latter field is optional and does not need to be completed unless the answer to the earlier question is ‘yes and no’.
Do you anticipate that the proposed engagement will form the basis for future collaborative activity? If so, please give brief details here. This is an optional field, and the limit is 550 words.
Benefits to the UK
Is the proposed research and engagement activity likely to meet national challenges facing the UK? If so, briefly explain in what ways the UK more generally might benefit. This is a mandatory field, the limit is 550 words.
Benefits – international context
Is the proposed engagement likely to meet international challenges facing society? If so, briefly explain in what ways the benefits more generally might be spread to other countries. There is a 550 word limit.
If the proposed engagement is especially multidisciplinary in its approach, please explain in more detail here. This is an optional field.
Please confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria as stated on page two of these guidance notes. On this page you will start to answer questions about your eligibility.
Primary subject, secondary subjects
Your application must be relevant to the Humanities and/or Social Sciences and you will need to select the relevant subject areas and fields from the drop-down list.
Time period, audiences, regional interests
These fields provide the opportunity to give further indications of the relevance of your subject area. They are optional fields.
Please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that you complete your application in time for your employing institution to process it and provide their approval by their closing date.
Please enter the organisation at which you are employed.
The majority of appropriate establishments are registered in the system. If your proposed organisation is not there, please contact the institution’s research support services, or equivalent, and ask them to provide the British Academy’s Research Funding Office with the contact details of an appropriate person in the organisation to act as an approver.
All applications must be approved by the employing organisation authorities e.g. research grants office, finance department, etc. The approving department will receive email notification once you have completed your application and submitted it. They will be asked to provide approval and then submit the application to the British Academy. It is strongly recommended that the applicant maintains an open dialogue with the approving department at the host institution as the British Academy cannot be held responsible for emails being caught in spam filters or not being received.
It is recommended that you allow at least five working days for this process. Once they have checked your application they will contact you if any changes are required, please note if changes need to be made these will have to be done before the deadline as they cannot be done afterwards.
Lead Applicant contact details
Please take care to review and complete your personal details accurately. Errors in this section can cause difficulties in the processing of your application.
Please state your nationality. Up to three choices may be selected, of which the first is mandatory.
Statement of qualifications and career
Please give details of up to four relevant appointments and qualifications, in particular the award of the PhD, in reverse chronological order. A brief CV should be uploaded as a PDF document in the later field ‘curriculum vitae’.
PhD confirmation, PhD awarded date
Eligible applicants are expected to be within seven years of the award of their doctorate (counted from the date of the viva voce examination). Relevant consideration may be given to career breaks and interruptions, but all applicants should bear in mind the intention that these awards are for early career researchers.
Please answer 'yes' if you have been awarded a PhD, and 'No' if you do not hold a PhD but have suitable equivalent experience (and explain this in the personal statement field). If you do not have a PhD, but are employed as a permanent Lecturer etc. with not more than seven years’ previous academic experience, you are still eligible to apply.
Please state the date of the viva voce examination in this field.
Present appointment, employing institution and department
Please give details of your current appointment.
This field is optional, but may be used, for example, in providing information regarding interruptions to an academic career. The limit on this field is 150 words.
Assessors will use any information provided in this statement when considering the track record of an applicant in terms of publication, academic age and stage of career, one of the stated assessment criteria.
Other academic experience
This award provides funding for both research and public engagement, and applicants are expected to be able to demonstrate a track record in both areas. Please use this field to highlight relevant experience about your professional career to date, including any teaching experience, experience in organising conferences, workshops and wiki-based discussions.
Please also highlight specifically within this field any of your past and present academic experience that helps to demonstrate your potential for leadership in research and engagement.
This is a mandatory field and the limit is 500 words.
Please list principal publications to date in reverse chronological order under publications. In the case of planned, unpublished research, please give details of planned publication dates, or explain why the research has not yet been published. Assessors may take backlogs of publication into account.
The curriculum vitae should be uploaded as a PDF file. It should be kept brief and it will not be necessary to include details of conferences attended or external examining.
Previous support dates
An application will not be eligible for consideration if there is a report outstanding on any previous research grant awarded by the Academy to the applicant or any co-applicant. Failure to follow this guidance will result in your application being withdrawn from this round of competition.
Please give details of any research applications submitted to the British Academy within the last five years. In the case of a further application for continuing research which has received previous Academy support, please note that a full report and statement of expenditure for the previous grant must be submitted before further funding can be considered.
Where did you hear of this scheme?
Please indicate where you heard about this scheme.
Please provide details of funding for the proposed engagement in the relevant fields.
Applicants should prepare accurate costings and explain the funding requested.
The grant maximum is £130,000 across three years. Awards can be used flexibly: at least £90,000 for time buy out, and up to £40,000 for research and travel expenses and dissemination of findings. The funding is expected to be divided: first, to buy out time of the academic duties of the award-holder in order to focus on their research goals. Secondly, for travel and public engagement across the three years of the award to help with research costs and to undertake dissemination of the findings from the Fellowship research locally, nationally and globally. The funding is not offered on the FEC model, and no institutional costs can be covered.
This is a mandatory section of the form.
Please do not use ‘£’ signs in the amount boxes.
Applications to other funding bodies
Please state if any application has been made to any other funding body or is planned to be made to any other funding body, in connection with the proposed engagement. Please include details of whether such a bid has been successful or not, and an indication of timetables to decision if bids have been planned or submitted but not yet decided. This is an optional field and the limit is 750 words.
Value of Academy’s support
Please state briefly, in no more than 550 words, what the value of the British Academy's support through this award would mean to you.
This page is not mandatory, however the Academy is committed to supporting diversity in our funding and would appreciate applicants completing the following details to enable us to monitor and analyse how inclusive our processes are. The information provided will be treated as strictly confidential and will be used for statistical purposed only. It will not be seen by those involved in the selection process and no information will be published or used in any way which allows any individual to be identified.
This information will be kept separately from the rest of your application and will not be seen by those involved in making decisions in the selection process, including referees etc.
Applicants are required to nominate one referee and ensure that the supporting statement from their chosen referee is submitted on the British Academy GMS before the deadline. Please note that the reference must be received before you can formally submit the application for approval, and you are strongly advised to ensure that your referee submits the reference well in advance of the formal applicant deadline for this round of competition, which will be 5pm on 30 November 2022.
Please note this deadline is final.
Your referee *must not be the proposed mentor* but should be someone who is familiar with your project and able to comment on its significance and feasibility, and on your abilities. The reference may be supplied by a scholar based outside the UK if you wish. Your referee MUST be drawn from outside your own employing institution.
Before listing your referee on your application form, you should seek permission from them that they are happy to provide this by the applicant deadline. It is essential that you enter the correct email address for your referee otherwise your referee will not receive the automated messages delivered from the British Academy GMS.
The statement that the Referee is being asked to complete is broken down into the following sections; Importance of the research proposal; Ability; Feasibility; and Engagement of Public Interest which each has a maximum word limit of 500. The Referee is also asked to score each of these sections on a range of 1 to 7 where the latter is the highest and then provide an Overall Score. There is also an ‘Overall Comments’ section which is optional and does not have a word limit.
An application cannot be considered for an award unless the proposal and reference have been submitted on time.
The referee must submit their reference BEFORE the applicant can submit their application. The ‘Submit’ button for the applicant will not appear until the referee has clicked the ‘Submit my contribution’ button.
Please note that references must be provided through the British Academy GMS, they cannot be provided as an email attachment nor sent by post in hard copy.
Head of Department
The Head of Department should be the person who heads the Department, Faculty, Institute or other unit in which you are currently working and will be expected to comment on the career development benefit to be gained if the award is made.
Heads of Department and Referees must be invited to contribute to your application via the Flexi-Grant system. You can invite them under the ‘Contributors’ tab on your application summary page. Once they have been invited, they will receive an email notification with instructions on how to contribute. There is a limit of 1500 words.
Please note that the Head of Department statement must be received before you can formally submit the application for approval, and you are strongly advised to ensure that your HoD submits the statement well in advance of the formal applicant deadline for this round of competition, which will be 5pm on 30 November 2022.
Please note this deadline is final.
Please also note that an application cannot be submitted until all required contributors have submitted their contribution first.
THE ACADEMY WILL ONLY PROCESS COMPLETE, SUBMITTED APPLICATIONS.
Once you have submitted your application for approval by your employing organisation, automatic emails will be sent to your employing organisation’s approver asking them to log on to the system. You will not be able to edit your application after it has been submitted for approval. The organisation approver will either: approve and submit your application, ‘send back’ your application and contact you to request modifications or decline your application and contact you.
Please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that you complete your application in time for your organisation to process it (including requesting changes) and provide their approval by the closing date. It is recommended that you allow at least five working days for this process, but please check with your institution as their internal timetables may require earlier submission.
If your employing organisation approver requests modifications through the British Academy GMS email facility, they can unlock your application, allowing you to edit it. They can do this by selecting ‘Return to Applicant’. An automatic e-mail will be sent to you alerting you of this fact. Once you have completed and saved the requested changes, please re-submit your application for approval by your organisation.
Once your organisation has approved your application and submitted it to the British Academy it will not be possible to make any changes.
Please note that once the closing date has passed, organisation approvers cannot approve applications and submit them to the British Academy and unapproved applications are removed from consideration. Late applications will not be accepted.
It is recommended that you check that your application is submitted in time. To see the details of the organisation approver and to check the status of your application, you should log into the British Academy GMS and click on the link to the Application Portal where a summary of your application will be displayed.
Once your application has been submitted and approved, you will not be contacted again by the British Academy until the decisions have been made, and you will not be required to do anything further in the GMS system. You can track the progress of your application by clicking on the link to the Application Portal where a summary of your application will be displayed. Please note that the eligibility stage is an internal process and you do not need to do anything for this. Whilst your application is under consideration, the ‘Formal Offer’ status will read as ‘Decision Pending’. This means that a final decision has not yet been made. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application approximately three months after the closing date by email to the email contact address given on their application form.
Applicants in any doubt about their eligibility or any other aspect of their application are advised to contact the Research Funding Office at the Academy, where staff will be pleased to assist (contact details of the Research Funding Office can be found on the following page).
The Academy has adopted a Code of Practice for assessing research applications, setting out the principles of equity, integrity and confidentiality governing the treatment of all applications for research support. Feedback is not a feature of this programme, and the Academy is, regretfully, unable to enter into correspondence regarding the decisions of the awarding Committee, which are governed by the Code of Practice. Submission of the signed application form constitutes the applicant's agreement to all terms, conditions and notices contained in the Notes for Applicants.
Deadline for applications including organisation approval: 5:00pm on 30 November 2022
Results announced by email to address on application: before the end of February 2023.
The British Academy
Research Funding Office
10-11 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH
Email: [email protected]
Notes valid for the 2022-23 BA/Wolfson Fellowship Competition.