International Fellowships 2023 guidance notes
Guidance notes for the 2023 International Fellowships. Please read these scheme notes carefully. Any incorrectly submitted application will be ineligible for award.
1. The International Fellowships programme provides support for outstanding early career researchers to make a first step towards developing an independent research career through gaining experience across international borders. Each award is expected to involve a specific and protected research focus with the award holder undertaking high quality, original research.
2. The programme is funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
3. The programme offers support for three years of funding at 80% FEC to enable internationally based early career researchers to establish and conduct their research in a UK host organisation.
4. It is expected that around 15 awards will be offered in this round by the British Academy.
5. The deadline for applications is 5pm (UK time) on Tuesday 28 March 2023.
6. Applications are developed with the support of the UK Sponsor. The Sponsor must work with the lead applicant to develop the project proposal and should provide mentoring, support, and guidance throughout the duration of the fellowship. More information regarding the expectations of the sponsor can be found in paragraphs 44-49.
7. The overarching aim of the International Fellowships programme is to attract and retain emerging talent in the UK and build a globally connected, mobile research and innovation workforce. The objectives are to:
• Attract talented international early career researchers to establish and conduct their research in the UK;
• Support early career researchers to pursue high-quality and innovative lines of research;
• Provide opportunities to acquire and transfer new skills and knowledge through training and career development;
• Foster long-term relationships through networking opportunities and the International Fellowships alumni programme.
8. The International Fellowships are delivered by the following UK National Academies, and applicants should apply to their relevant Academy for support and in line with the following remits:
• British Academy – social sciences and humanities
• Royal Society - natural sciences, including biological research, biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics.
9. To apply through the British Academy, applicants should be intending to work in any aspect of the humanities or the social sciences. Outputs involving creative practice (e.g., musical composition and performance, visual practice, creative writing, and film making) are welcome but will be considered to fall within the British Academy's remit only when they form part of an integrated project of critical or historical significance. For a full list, please see the below.
• Classical Antiquity
• Theology and Religious Studies
• Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
• Linguistics and Philology
• Early Modern Languages and Literatures to 1830
• Modern Languages, Literatures and Other Media from 1830
• Medieval Studies
• Early Modern History to 1850
• Modern History from 1850
• History of Art and Music
• Economics and Economic History
• Anthropology and Geography
• Sociology, Demography and Social Statistics
• Political Studies: Political Theory, Government, and International Relations
• Culture, Media, and Performance
• Management and Business Studies
10. If there is any doubt about the eligibility of a project, contact the International Team at [email protected].
11. The British Academy International Fellowships are expected to commence between October 2023 and March 2024. Awards cannot start before 1 October 2023. A start date of the first of the month is preferred.
12. This call is expected to be able to support approximately 15 British Academy International Fellowships.
13. Awards are expected to run for three years each.
14. In addition, the scheme will provide a wider programme of support and engagement for the International Fellowship award holders.
15. Award-holders will be able to apply via an accelerated route for a Global Talent Visa. For further information, see https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/international/global-talent-visas/
16. The cost of the visa and any associated costs for the applicant and their dependents (e.g.,including Immigration Health Surcharge costs) are eligible under this programme.
17. The funding provided through these awards is for the entirety of the award holder’s time (whether that be for a part-time of full-time award). 100% of the time on the award must be spent on project activities related to the award that has been made as set out in the application. It is for the applicant, and subsequent International Fellowship award holder, to determine the research activities they undertake so that they most support their research and career development. This award is for research and there is a responsibility on the host institution to ensure that the award holder will have protected research time. Where beneficial to the award holder, they may wish to undertake some teaching, however, the onus of the award is one that is focused on research and only the award holder may determine if they wish to undertake teaching to complement their other activities. At most, teaching may only be for 5 hours per week.
18. This round of Fellowships will be for a duration of three years and the award is offered at 80% FEC. Applicants may apply for research expenses of up to £12,000 and relocation costs of up to £8,000. Applicants will need to justify the level of research expenses and relocation costs requested in their application. In exceptional circumstances, the Academy will consider bids for relocation costs above £8,000, however, this will require a full justification.
19. 80% FEC is understood in the following manner:
20. From this round onwards, the British Academy International Fellowship award holders will no longer be classified as visiting researchers on a stipend, but salaried employees. Award holders will receive a reasonable salary set by their host institution. Fellowships awarded in the 2023 round will be awarded for three years instead of two. These changes will help to enhance the awards that the Academy can offer, ensuring that we can continue to support and attract excellent international early career researchers to engage with the UK.
21. Changes to the British Academy International Fellowship are based on programme evaluations to attract outstanding early career researchers who wish to make a first step towards developing an independent research career through gaining experience across international borders. The Academy has secured additional funding from Government to trial extending the fellowship for a third year; a decision on whether to retain this change in subsequent years will be made in the next 12 months.
22. Funding may be sought to cover the following elements:
- A contribution to the directly incurred salary costs of the award-holder at 80% FEC – the salary is to be negotiated between the applicant and the UK host institution. The Academy will be monitoring the proposed salaries from an equality, diversity, and inclusion perspective. Salaries should be commensurate with skills, responsibilities, expertise, and experience. It is expected that the requested basic salary for the first year will be comparable to academic staff at an equivalent career stage. Inflation should be applied to salaries by institutions with a justification provided for the level that they are using.
- Estates and indirect costs – 80% of the award holder’s estates and indirect costs.
- Research expenses at 100% including travel, field trips, subsistence, accommodation, consumables, training, conferences, dissemination, and one-off relocation and visa expenses.
23. Support for the cost of childcare will be considered as part of the allowable research expenses.
24. Consumables include the purchase of specialist software (not readily available at the UK host organisation), datasets, photocopies, microfilms, etc., and any other minor items that will be used up during the course of the award.
25. Travel related to progressing the research and/or innovation activities of the award is an eligible cost with relevant fieldwork in the UK or internationally being encouraged where appropriate. Applications, however, must be for awards based in the host organisation applied to where it is expected that the majority of the research supported will be undertaken.
26. The Academy expects award holders to minimise their travel and carbon footprint using alternatives where possible (for example video conferencing), and choose travel that has a lower carbon impact, where practical.
27. The following items are not eligible for funding (applicants registered with special needs may consult the Academy about possible exceptions prior to application):
- salary costs for research staff/assistants;
- salary costs, research expenses or other research support for the sponsor;
- purchasing equipment;
- open access fees;
- computer hardware including laptops, electronic notebooks, digital cameras, etc;
- books and other permanent resources;
- the preparation of camera-ready copy, copy-editing, proof-reading, indexing, nor any other editorial task;
- subventions for direct production costs (printing, binding, distribution, marketing etc);
- costs of publication in electronic media;
- carbon offsetting.
28. In addition, funding provided through the grant must not be duplicated through other sources.
29. All payments will be made quarterly in arrears in instalments directly to the UK host organisation.
30. The Academy reserves the right to reduce the funding requested if it does not consider the rates applied to be reasonable, such as in relation to inflation, research expenses and relocation costs.
31. Award holders may also be eligible to receive Alumni follow-on funding following the tenure of their Fellowship award to support networking activities with researchers based in the UK or internationally.
32. Information regarding the Follow-on Alumni funding will be sent to successful International Fellowship award holders during their Fellowship award.
33. The International Fellowships are intended to be highly flexible. The following guidelines will normally apply. However, in exceptional circumstances, additional flexibility may be available.
Please contact [email protected] for further information.
34. It can be held on either a full-time or on a part-time basis for health reasons or caring responsibilities. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, shared parental leave, adoptive or extended sick leave as well as financial support for childcare costs that arise from attending conferences for example.
35. The costs of reasonable adjustments required to support researchers with disabilities will also be an eligible cost.
36. If the Award Holder moves host organisation before the start or during the award, the award will be moved to the new host organisation (provided that the new host organisation is in the UK and meets the host organisation eligibility criteria as specified in paragraph 37 and 50-53).
37. The Academy welcomes applications from a diverse range of eligible UK host institutions. The award must be held at a UK institution recognised by the Academy. The following types of organisations will be eligible to apply to host the award:
- Higher Education Institutes that received funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies
- Research institutes (RIs), for which research councils have established a long-term involvement as major funder as part of the national research base.
- Approved relevant Independent Research Organisations.
38. The Academy is aware that individuals will have had different opportunities to balance their research with other commitments during their career. There is a question in the application form (the personal statement) that will enable applicants to provide further information on any significant periods of leave or any periods of significant teaching or administrative workload that may have impacted on their research, so the Academy can take this into account when assessing applicants’ track record.
39. Where applicants have taken formal periods of maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoptive leave as the primary carer (either the mother, father, partner, or adopter), or extended sick leave, the Academy will allow an additional amount of time on top of each period of leave when assessing eligibility.
40. Applications from individuals who have not studied or worked in the UK previously are encouraged as the scheme aims to establish new links between the applicant and the UK.
41. The Academy wishes to encourage applications from historically and/or structurally disadvantaged groups and female researchers.
42. Applications from researchers with disabilities are welcome and encouraged. The Academy will provide adjustments to ensure they can participate fully in the selection process. If an adjustment is required when accessing the application form or for any other part of the application process then please contact [email protected] In addition, costs that are required for the researcher to undertake their award will be considered eligible regardless to what is set out in paragraph 27 above. The Academy welcomes any questions applicants may have on this matter.
43. Applicants for the International Fellowships must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Applicants must hold a doctoral degree or be in the final stage of their PhD provided that it will be completed (including viva) before the start date of the fellowship award (or have equivalent research experience).
- Applicants should have no more than seven years active full-time postdoctoral experience atthe time of application, including teaching experience, time spent in industry on research, honorary positions and/or visiting researcher positions. Career breaks must be clearly detailed and explained in the application, for example “Start and end dates - career break – maternity/paternity leave.”
- Applicants should be working outside the UK and should not hold UK citizenship at the time of application. Applicants cannot have lived, worked, or undertaken research in the UK in the 12 months immediately prior to the application, with the exception of short-term visits of less than three months in total and applicants who are refugees in the UK according to the Geneva Convention.
- Applicants who are not currently employed are still eligible but will need to provide details of their previous supervisor.
- Individuals already living, working, or undertaking research in the UK are not eligible to apply.
- Individuals working outside the UK but employed by a UK organisation are also not eligible to apply.
- Applicants who completed their PhD at a UK organisation must have been working and based outside the UK for at least one year at the deadline for the application.
- Applicants proposing to return to their UK-based PhD organisation and/or PhD supervisor or to their post-doctoral supervisor will normally be considered to be ineligible and so applicants must have exceptional reasons for proposing to do so.
- Applicants must be competent in oral and written English. The applicant must confirm their competency on the application form and the UK Sponsor needs to include the applicant’s competency in their supporting statement.
- Applicants may only submit one application in a round. The application must be with only one UK Sponsor.
- Applications who have been unsuccessful in a previous round of the competition may make another application in this round.
- Applications who have previously held a Newton International Fellowship are ineligible to apply for an International Fellowship.
44. All Applications must be developed with the support of a UK Sponsor for the International Fellowships.
45. The International Fellowships are aimed to promote independence in the award holder, however, the Sponsor is expected to support in the development of the project proposal, and throughout its delivery when required.
46. The UK Sponsor must work with the lead applicant to develop the project proposal and should provide mentoring, support, and guidance throughout the duration of the award. Sponsors are not eligible for any funding and are not to utilise an award as an opportunity to extend their own research.
47. It is essential that there is contact and discussion between the UK Sponsor and applicant prior to an application being submitted. This should lead to a clearly defined research proposal and a clear understanding of the needs of the award holder and the responsibilities of the Sponsor.
48. Please note that the British Academy will not be able to assist in locating a UK Sponsor.
49. UK Sponsors for the International Fellowships must:
• be an established independent researcher of at least postdoctoral (or equivalent) status;
• make all the necessary practical and administrative arrangements for the International Fellowship;
• hold a permanent or fixed term contract in the UK-based research institution recognised by the Academy where the award will be held. In the case of fixed term contracts, employment must continue for at least the duration of the award.
50. It is required that the host organisation provide the award holder with the necessary departmental and institutional support to complete their award successfully, including adequate office and laboratory space and access to essential equipment, software, and facilities.
51. In addition, it is required that the host organisation adhere to the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. This includes providing appropriate training and development opportunities for the award holder as early career researchers.
52. The Academy is committed to increasing diversity in the research workforce recognising this is a key part of ensuring research excellence. Host organisations are expected to provide supportive workplace structures to ensure diversity, this includes consideration of the diversity of applicants that they support to apply to the scheme.
53. International Fellowship award holders must be appointed on terms that are no less favourable than those of comparable posts in the host organisation.
54. Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:
- Applicant: The suitability of the individual for the fellowship and their potential to develop an independent research career. Track record commensurate with actual research experience to date including past achievements, research career to date, publication record, awards, datasets held in repositories, software, keynote lectures and current and previous grants; how the candidate intends to use the fellowship to further their research career.
- Research Proposal: The importance and academic merit of the proposed research and the clarity, quality and originality of the proposed project and likely contribution to the research field. If the research plan is clearly defined and feasible.
- Host Organisation & UK Sponsor:
- The suitability and strength of the UK Sponsor, including their track record in the area of proposed research as well as in supervising and mentoring early career researchers.
- The suitability and strength of the host department and/or institution for the proposed research i.e., access to appropriate expertise/equipment/facilities/resources and space during the award period as well as the suitability of the host organisation for the applicant's career development e.g., appropriate level of support and training opportunities.
55. All applications to the International Fellowships are reviewed and assessed by relevant assessors’ who have appropriate research expertise.
56. Please be assured that the British Academy specifically requests anyone involved in reviewing applications to consider them in confidence. More information on the Review Process can be found in Appendix 1.
57. All applicants will be notified of outcomes via email.
58. The timetable for this call is as follows:
59. To complete and submit the application form, the lead applicant is required to provide supporting statements or references from the following individuals:
- Departmental support
- The UK-based Head of Department is expected to detail your suitability for the department and the intentions for your career development and must confirm that the host organisation will give the award holder the necessary departmental and institutional support to complete their Fellowship successfully, including adequate office and laboratory space and access to essential equipment, software and facilities. This must include that the award holder will be appointed on terms that are no less favourable than those of comparable posts in the host organisation.
- UK Sponsor
- Lead Applicant’s current supervisor
▪ If the applicant is an independent researcher or in industry, please use your direct manager or the most recent academic supervisor, if the applicant is currently unemployed, please use your most recent academic supervisor.
- Two nominated referees
- It is requested that one referee be nominated by the Applicant and one by the UK Sponsor.
60. The guidelines for choosing the 2 nominated referees are as follows:
- The primary consideration is that they are able to comment independently and authoritatively on your application (i.e., someone in your field, who is as independent a researcher as possible from the applicant/Sponsor). You do not need to know them personally, but you should make sure they are able to provide a reference before adding them to the application.
- It is requested that one referee be nominated by the Applicant and one by the UK Sponsor.
- At least one nominated referee must be based in the UK. A UK-based researcher is defined as someone who holds a permanent or fixed term contract at a UK research organisation.
- Nominated referees from the same institution as the Applicant or Sponsor will not be accepted.
- Nominated references from the Applicant’s former/current supervisor (including PhD supervisor) will not be accepted.
- The referee must not be a member on the assessment panel for this programme or a member of the British Academy’s Council.
- References must be submitted in English. If a reference is not submitted in English, it will not be accepted and may render the application ineligible.
- No two references
61. These individuals can be invited through the ‘participants’ tab displayed on the application form summary page, where you will find each of the required participants as described above.
62. Please select ‘invite’ and enter the e-mail address of the person you wish to invite to provide the relevant statements and send the invitation.
63. The recipient will need to accept your invitation before they can participate in the application.
64. You can monitor the progress of your participants’ activity through this section of the application form, and issue reminders as required. Once the recipient has accepted your invitation, their status will be displayed as ‘active.’ Upon completion of their section of the application form, their status will be displayed as ‘complete.’
65. You will not be able to submit your application form until the status of all participants shows ‘complete.’
66. Please note that once an applicant submits an application on Flexi-Grant®, it is then directed to the designated Approver for the UK Host Organisation at which the applicant has applied to host an award.It is recommended that referring and supporting participants fulfil their requirements at least 5 working days before the submission deadline (Tuesday 28 March 2023) to ensure there is sufficient time for organisational approval. The UK Host Organisation approver must approve the completed application by the submission deadline.
67. It is the applicant’s responsibility to liaise with the nominated referees, the UK Host Organisation’s Approver, and the Heads of Department to ensure that the required tasks are completed by the deadline. Please contact the British Academy before the deadline if there is any issue. Alternatively, the UK Host Organisation’s Approver, the Heads of Department, and the nominated referees can contact us directly. The British Academy will not be held responsible for emails that are not received due to address errors or spam filters and no provision is made for non-receipt of emails sent by the British Academy.
68. Once participants have completed all their sections of the application form, please remind them to select ‘Save & Submit’ on the application form page or select ‘Submit your contribution’ on the summary page.
69. On the occasion that an invited participant accidentally submits their section of the application form prematurely, the Lead Applicant has the ability to re-open the application form for the participant. To do this, the Lead Applicant should return to the Participant tab on the application form summary page. You will find a ‘re-open’ button alongside the name of any participant who has completed their section of the form. Once you click this button, the form is reactivated and available for participants to amend.
70. The Research Support role displayed under the participants tab is an optional role, which allows you to invite an individual from the relevant UK Host Organisation research support team to review and amend the application prior to submission. The primary purpose is to ensure that the requested finances have been recorded correctly for this specific grant programme. As this is an optional role, it will not affect your ability to submit your application for approval.
71. Additional system guidance can be found in the ‘Systems Guidance Notes’ Section.
72. The British Academy has a Code of Practice for assessing applications, setting out the principles of equity, integrity and confidentiality governing the treatment of all applications. The Code of Practice also covers Data Protection, the Academy’s ethics policy and the appeals procedure. The Code of Practice may be viewed on the Academy’s website at https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/code-practice. Feedback is not a feature of the British Academy’s International Fellowships 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. Please note that by applying to this programme, applicants undertake to accept the terms under which applications are assessed.
76. Please note that information regarding your application for an International Fellowship may be shared with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Royal Society, and for data monitoring and scheme evaluation purposes. You may also be contacted by selected third parties such as independent evaluators, consultancy groups, and career development organisations. If successful, the British Academy will contact you regarding the administration of your award throughout the course of your funding and after its completion. You may also be contacted by the Royal Society and or an agent acting on their behalf, for reporting and evaluation purposes throughout the course of your funding and after its completion.
Please read these guidance notes carefully as you complete the form.
Using Flexi-Grant ®
Applications can only be submitted online using the British Academy’s Grants and Awards management system (Flexi-Grant®) via https://britishacademy.flexigrant.com/. Further information about the Grants and Awards Management system can be found via https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/funding/flexi-grant. If you have not previously used Flexi-Grant®, please follow the registration process from the Flexi-Grant®, homepage. Paper-based applications will not be accepted.
Before completing the online form, all applicants should check that they comply with the eligibility requirements and ensure all necessary information is presented in the application. These requirements are strictly adhered to and applications without all the necessary information, or evidence to show the assessment criteria are met, will be rejected.
All applications must be approved by the UK Host Organisation and the applicant’s departmental support must be completed before you can submit via Flexi-Grant®. Late applications will not be accepted.
Completing the application form
The application can be completed by using the navigation tabs on the application summary page, with each page categorised as follows:
Summary Research Proposal
Lead Applicant Career Summary
UK Sponsor Career Summary
Applicant Declaration Nominated Referees Support
Head of Department Support (of the UK Sponsor)
Lead Applicant’s Supervisor Support
A full list of question fields to be completed as part of the application can be found in the Question Guidance below.
To complete and submit the application form, the lead applicant is required to provide supporting statements from five different individuals (including the UK Sponsor’s Head of Department, two nominated referees, the Lead applicant’s supervisor, and the UK Sponsor).
These individuals can be invited through the ‘participants’ tab displayed on the application form summary page, where you will find each of the required participants as described above.
Please select ‘invite’ and enter the e-mail address of the person you wish to invite to provide the relevant statements and send the invitation.
The recipient will need to accept your invitation before they can participate in the application.
You can monitor the progress of your participant’s activity through this section of the application form, and issue reminders as required. Once the recipient has accepted your invitation, their status will be displayed as ‘active.’ Upon completion of their section of the application form, their status will be displayed as ‘complete.’
You will not be able to submit your application form until the status of all participants’ shows ‘complete.’
Once participants have completed all their sections of the application form, please remind them to select ‘Save & Submit’ on the application form page or select ‘Submit your contribution’ on the summary page.
It is recommended that Participants fulfil their requirements at least 5 working days before the submission deadline (Tuesday, 28 March 2023) to ensure there is sufficient time for organisational approval. The UK Host Organisation approver must approve the completed application by the submission deadline.
- The UK Host Organisation approver must approve the completed application by the submission deadline.
- The following individuals must be listed under the Participants tab:
- Head of Department at the UK host institution
- Lead Applicant’s current supervisor overseas (if the applicant is an independent researcher or in industry, please use your direct manager or most recent academic supervisor; if the applicant is currently unemployed, please use your most recent academic supervisor)
- Under the participants tab displayed on the application form summary page, please enter the e-mail address of the Nominated Referees who you wish to invite to provide the relevant statements.
- The following individuals must be listed under the Participants tab:
- The applicant’s Nominated Reference
- The Sponsor’s Nominated Reference
It is the applicant’s responsibility to liaise with the UK Host Organisation’s Approver, Sponsor, Departmental Supports, and the nominated referees to ensure that the required tasks are completed by the deadline. Please contact the British Academy before the deadline if there is any issue. Alternatively, the UK Host Organisation’s Approver, Sponsor, Departmental Supports, and the nominated referees can contact us directly. The British Academy will not be held responsible for emails that are not received due to address errors or spam filters and no provision is made for non-receipt of emails sent by the British Academy.
Re-opening the Application form to Participants
On the occasion that an invited participant accidentally submits their section of the application form prematurely, the lead applicant has the ability to re-open the application form for the participant. To do this, the lead applicant should return to the ‘Participants’ tab on the application form summary page. You will find a ‘re-open’ button alongside the name of any participant who has completed their section of the form. Once you click this button, the form is reactivated and available for participants to amend.
It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure that approval of the application by the UK Host Organisation is completed before the closing date.
The person responsible for approving your application will be the delegated authority at the UK Host Organisation where you are applying to hold your Fellowship. This may be someone within the research office, Faculty administration, Vice-Chancellor, or other administrative or management role. The approver will be someone with the authority to approve the potential International Fellowship to be hosted within their organisation. They will have the capacity to approve that the proposed research and assure the proposed budget is appropriate and eligible for the International Fellowship.
You will only be able to submit your application for approval by the UK Institutional Approver once all sections of the application form have been marked as complete, and the Sponsor, Head of Department, Nominated Referees and Supervisor have marked their work as complete AND have submitted their section (the applicant must check the status of the Sponsor, Head of Department, Nominated Referees and Supervisor under the ‘Participants’ tab on the summary page of the application form). Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.
Please read these guidance notes carefully as you complete the form.
Note that questions with * are mandatory fields.
In the following table each box represents a page of the application form; the left-hand column contains the questions within each of these pages as set out in the form; the right-hand column contains useful guidance on its completion.