Mid-Career Fellowships Outline Stage 2023-24 guidance notes
Notes for Applicants for the British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship Scheme Outline Stage 2023-24 Competition
NOTE: PLEASE READ THESE SCHEME NOTES CAREFULLY
Any application which is incorrectly submitted will not be eligible for consideration
1. Through this scheme, the Academy intends to both support outstanding individual researchers with excellent research proposals, and to promote public understanding of and engagement with the humanities and social sciences. The primary aim of the scheme is, therefore, to allow successful applicants to obtain time freed from their normal commitments.
2. The time bought by the scheme should be devoted to the completion of a major piece of research. In addition, the Academy will look for evidence of a clear commitment to a strategy of public engagement and communication of the research outcomes during the period of the Fellowship. The scheme thus contributes to the Academy’s strategic commitment to the support of ideas, individuals and intellectual resources and to public engagement. Awards will be judged both on the quality of the research proposed and on the capacity of the applicant to communicate with abroad audience. Applicants are invited to indicate ways in which their proposed programme will contribute to advances in understanding, including public understanding, of their subject area and to the identification of appropriate strategic priorities in the social sciences and humanities. The Fellowships are tenable for a period of not less than 6 months and not more than 12 months beginning in the autumn of 2023. The earliest start date is 1 September 2024 and the latest start date is 1 January 2025.
3. The Mid-Career Fellowships are covered under the Full Economic Costing (FEC) regime, and no spending can take place outside of the timeframe of the Fellowship. The primary purpose of this scheme is to buy out 100% of the time of the researcher awarded the Fellowship. The Academy’s contribution to the Directly Incurred expense of the Principal Investigator’s salary cost will be capped at a maximum contribution of £80,000 at 80% FEC. The total value of the Fellowship, including Directly Incurred Salary, Directly Incurred Research Expenses, Directly Allocated (Estate Costs) and Indirect Costs is not expected to exceed £190,000 at 100% FEC. The Academy’s contribution to this is therefore not expected to exceed £152,000 at 80% FEC. The Research Costs element of the Fellowship is limited to a maximum of £10,000 at 100% FEC, i.e. an Academy contribution of £8,000. The total Directly Incurred cost (which includes the award holder’s salary and Research Costs) is limited to £100,000 at 100% FEC, i.e. an Academy contribution of £80,000. The table below shows the maximum Academy’s contribution to each budget heading at 80% FEC, and the maximum cost of each heading at 100% FEC:
* Absolute limit capped to a combined total of £100,000 at 100% FEC, £80,000 at 80% FEC.
Please note that the details of the Full Economic Costing are not required for this Outline Stage Application, and will be requested at the Second Stage if successful.
4. For the Research Costs portion of the Mid-Career fellowship, funds may be sought to cover the direct expenses incurred in planning, conducting, and developing the research. Please see the table below outlining the eligible and ineligible costs on this scheme.
Note 1: The case made must be explicitly approved by the Academy.
5. These Fellowships are awarded to individuals employed at UK universities, other UK institutions of higher education or Independent Research Organisations. The British Academy is particularly looking to support Mid-Career researchers on this scheme. The Academy takes no account of an applicant’s age or current status (e.g. Professor, Lecturer) in determining eligibility for these Fellowships. Rather, these Fellowships are intended primarily to provide opportunities for researchers who have already made an outstanding contribution to their field and have achieved distinction as an excellent communicator and ‘champion’ in their field, and who would usually be within no more than 15 years from the award of their doctorate. In considering eligibility, the Academy will make due allowance for applicants who have had career breaks; and for established researchers who do not have doctorates, who should be within fifteen years of their first academic appointment. Applicants can outline these circumstances under the Personal Statement section on the application form.
There is no ‘minimum’ time limit from the award of the doctorate for the Mid-Career Fellowship scheme, but applicants who have been awarded their PhD within the last few years should bear in mind that they will be competing with those who will have a whole range of experience so they would need to have a strong case in terms of their track record of research, publication and public engagement already to be sure it is worth applying for a Mid-Career Fellowship.
6. Applicants will be asked in their proposal to set out specific plans for the dissemination of their research to a broad audience, in addition to publication in the usual academic press and journals.
7. Applicants for the Mid-Career Fellowships should be intending to pursue – or, in the case of those applying to support a programme of communication, have pursued – original, independent research in any field of study within the humanities and social sciences. The Academy will take into account the aim of providing support for areas in which there are specific vulnerabilities within the humanities and social sciences. All applicants are invited to state how they see their particular programme, whether directly meeting current challenges or not, contribution to the identification of future priorities and challenges. To amplify this final point, the Academy does not set thematic priorities to which all applicants are expected to relate their proposal. Rather the onus is on the individual to indicate if, and how, their research will contribute to meeting national challenges. The primary factor in assessing applications will remain the quality of the proposal.
8. The British Academy welcomes proposals for high-quality research in all its subject areas. While all proposals should be situated in an appropriate field of study, they may vary considerably in their approach to conceptualisation, methodology and/or outputs, depending on the discipline. In some cases, creative and professional practice may play a significant role in shaping the methods and/or outcomes of research. In all proposals, whether practice-led or not, a clear scholarly rationale is required for the choice of research methods, processes and outputs.
9. Applicants should note that the Mid-Career Fellowships will provide only limited research expenses to the successful candidates. The principle applied by the Academy is no duplication of funding for the same purpose. The table below shows the British Academy funding schemes which are, and are not, allowed to be held in tandem by the same award holder.
* Applicants may apply for both a Mid-Career Fellowship and a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, but if both are successful, only one can be held.
Resubmission of the same proposal may be made once in the Mid-Career Fellowship scheme. An applicant is eligible to re-apply with a revised or different proposal so long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
Previous Mid-Career Fellowship holders are not permitted to submit another application to this scheme.
10. The British Academy uses a two-stage application process on this scheme. In this first Outline Stage, for which the deadline for application approval by your employing institution is 5pm (BST) 23 August 2023, applicants are invited to supply information about their current academic commitments, publications, and research proposal. Applications at this stage are not expected to provide detailed costings, and institutions are asked simply to approve the application to indicate awareness of it, and agreement that, in the end of the British Academy inviting a second stage submission, the institution will then (in January 2024) provide full financial details of the Full Economic Costing and research expenses.
The Second Stage application will also provide the opportunity for the applicant to update any aspect of their proposal, if necessary (and to explain the reasons for doing so), and to update their CV, if applicable, along with updating their publication record. There must be no significant change from the original Outline Stage application, as any unexplained changes may result in conflict with the statements that were provided by the Assessment Panel and by the referee from the Outline Stage.
(Please note that no referee’s statement will be required for a Second Stage application as the original reference, along with the Assessment Panel’s reviews from this Outline Stage application, will be presented to the awarding Committee.)
11. For the Outline Stage, applicants are required to nominate one referee (from outside their own employing institution), who is as independent from the applicant as possible. The referee is not intended to be an advocate for the applicant – rather their role is expected to be to help provide a rounded assessment of the proposal indicating both strengths and weaknesses. The applicant should ensure that the supporting statement from their chosen referee is submitted on the British Academy Flexi-Grant® Grant Management System (GMS) as early as possible, to allow enough time for applicants to meet any internal deadlines set by their employing institution.
The deadline for employing institutions to approve applications and submit them to the British Academy is 5pm (BST) 23 August 2023– this deadline is final as no late applications can be accepted.
The reference must be submitted before the application can be approved by the host organisation. Any application without a supporting reference will not be able to be submitted.
Your referee must be drawn from outside your own employing institution, and before listing your referee on your application form you should seek permission that they are happy to provide this before the deadline for the submission of this application in Flexi-Grant.
It is essential that you enter the correct email address for your referee, otherwise your referee will not receive the automated messages delivered from Flexi-Grant. If your referee has more than one email address, you must check which address they are using to ensure they can access your application. We strongly advise that you complete your application as easily as possible to allow your referee enough time to provide their reference in the system and to allow for any unexpected delays.
Please note that the reference must be provided through Flexi-Grant, it cannot be provided as an email attachment nor sent by post in hard copy.
12. There is likely to be strong competition for the available Fellowships. Initial assessment of applications is made by peer reviewers, whose comments and recommendations are considered by the Research Awards Committee, which makes the final decision on the Fellowships to be offered. There are no interviews prior to offers being made. The result of the Outline Stage of the competition is expected to be either an offer to submit a Second Stage application or a notification that the application has been unsuccessful.
The flow chart below illustrates this process. The flow chart below, illustrates this process:
13. Applicants may wish to note that the following summary is given to assessors to form the basis of their judgements on the applications submitted:
a) Is the applicant at an appropriate career stage, usually within 15 years of the award of a doctorate, with due allowance for career breaks? Has the applicant already made an outstanding contribution to their field?
b) Is the proposal of outstanding quality?
c) Is the applicant’s proposed communication strategy well thought out and likely to contribute strongly to the public engagement aim of the scheme?
14. Please note that academic merit and the focus on communication are the primary bases on which assessment will be made and may be judged together.
15. Assessors will evaluate the proposal taking into account the following criteria as appropriate to the aims of the scheme: its originality, its relationship to, and the volume of, research already done in the field, the quality of the research proposed, the suitability of the methodology, the feasibility of the research programme, its timeliness, the communication plan and the public benefit of the intended outcomes. Assessors may take into account evidence of language competence where the understanding of material in a foreign language is crucial to the achievement of the research objective. Assessors will also evaluate the ability of the applicant to undertake the proposal, taking into account the contribution they have already made to their field, their academic age and stage of career. Backlogs of publication (including any reasons given by applicants) may also be taken into account in assessing the current proposal.
16. 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. Regrettably, feedback is not a feature of the Mid-Career Fellowship scheme. The Academy is unable to discuss the decisions of the awarding Committee, which is governed by the Code of Practice. Submission of the application form constitutes the applicant’s agreement to all terms, conditions and notices contained in the Scheme Notes.
17. Applicants are expected to avoid research misconduct. Research misconduct includes the fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting results, misrepresentation, mismanagement or inadequate preservation of data and/or primary materials, making up data or results and recording and reporting them, such that the research is not accurately represented in the public research record.
18. Applications can only be submitted online using Flexi-Grant. Applications cannot be submitted on paper, via email, or in any other format.
19. Applicants should be aware that this application form will be considered by appropriate assessors. The application will be treated as confidential at all times.
When completing your application on Flexi-Grant, it is recommended that you take note of the following points:
Personal details: When registered in Flexi-Grant, 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 Flexi-Grant: This includes the following symbols: < >
PDF documents: If asked to upload 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.
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 employing organisation at least five working days before the closing date to allow for your organisation’s administrative procedures. You should also check whether your institution has its own internal deadlines.
Application sharing: You can invite other contributors to join the application. All contributors must be registered on Flexi-Grant and mark their work as ‘Complete’ before you can submit your application.
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. If your application is returned to you for editing, then you must resubmit it again before the deadline and allow enough time for your employing institution to approve it.
Guidance: In the tables below, you will find in the left-hand column each question as set out in the application sections and in the right-hand column useful guidance on its completion.
Further clarification: If any of this advice is unclear, or you need further information, please do not hesitate to seek clarification from the British Academy’s Research Funding Office (contact details at the end of these notes).
Completion of application: The application can be completed by using the navigation tabs on the application summary page, with each page categorised as follows:
Page 1: Research Proposal
Page 2: Eligibility criteria
Page 3: Applicant details
Page 4: Applicant Career Summary
Page 5: Nominated Referee
Page 6: Equal Opportunities
A full list of question fields to be completed as part of the application can be found in the following table. Each box in the table 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. An asterisk (*) indicates which questions are mandatory and therefore must be complete before the application can be submitted. Please read the guidance notes carefully before completing the form.
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 your ‘Submit for Organisation Approval’ button appear.
Please select the subject 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.
Proposed Programme and Plan of Action
Under ‘Proposed Programme’, please give a detailed description of the proposed programme of research and communication and public engagement, including methodology. Applicants should be aware of the importance that assessors place on the viability, specificity and originality of the programme and of its achievability within the timescale, which should be specified under Plan of Action. Applicants should keep in mind the timescale of the award (not less than 6 months and not more than 12 months) and propose a plan of action that is achievable. Both are mandatory fields and the limits are 2000 words for the proposed programme and 800 words for the plan of action.
Planned research outputs/Plans for publication and dissemination
Please indicate in the ‘Planned research outputs’ field what the expected output(s) from your programme might be. As appropriate, these might include monograph, journal article(s), report(s), guidance notes, training plan(s), book chapter(s), digital resources, other (please specify). This is a mandatory field and the limit is 300 words.
Under Plans for publication and dissemination, give more detail about plans for publication, and in a separate paragraph, state in more detail what plans you have for public engagement, noting the emphasis placed by the Academy on communicating findings to a broad audience. This is a mandatory field and the limit is 500 words.
The Academy attaches importance to the dissemination of research, and assessors will take into account how far the intentions for publication or other dissemination have been developed.
It is a condition of award that digital resources created as a result of research funded by the British Academy be deposited in an appropriately accessible repository. Of course, we do not expect confidential data to be readily available and neither do we expect all research to produce digital resources.
However, if applicable to this application, applicants need to provide details of how and where any electronic or digital data (including datasets) developed during the project will be stored, along with details on the appropriate methods of access.
Applicants should ensure that any necessary technical advice is obtained before commencing work that involves the creation of digital resources.
Please confirm whether the primary product of the research will be a digital resource, and if so how and where it will be deposited.
Start date/End date/Duration
To select a date in the future using the calendar feature, click on the month and year in between the two arrows at the top of the box. To change the year, keep clicking on the box – a second click will produce a decade. Use the arrows to move back or forward in time. To change the month, a second box will appear where you can select the month you wish and then you can type the year you require in the box provided. Click on the date, and the calendar will take you to the month and year you have selected where you can select the relevant date for display.
Fellowships must be taken up between 1 September 2024 and 1 January 2025.
Overseas travel - Country, Institution
If your proposal will involve travel abroad, please indicate up to three countries to be visited during the Fellowship, and any specific institution(s) to be visited or with which you will be collaborating.
Support of British International Research Institute Required/Granted
This field refers not only to support that might be sought from British International Research Institutes, but to all appropriate links with them. The British Academy provides Government funding for the British Institute at Ankara, British Institute in Eastern Africa, British Institute of Persian Studies, British School at Athens, British School at Rome, Council for British Research in the Levant and Society for Libyan Studies.
All applicants with research interests in these parts of the world are invited to consider making approaches to the relevant School or Institute. More information can be found on the Academy’s website at:
If your proposal is relevant, please indicate in this field the way in which your programme could benefit from, or contribute to, the work or life of the relevant Institute. This is an optional field, and the limit is 700 words.
Endangered or Emerging Subject Areas
Applicants for the Mid-Career Fellowship should be intending to pursue original, independent research in any field of study within the humanities or social sciences. There are no quotas for individual subject areas and no thematic priorities.
All applicants are invited to state how they see their particular programme, whether directly meeting current national challenges or not, contributing to the identification of future priorities and challenges. To amplify this final point, the Academy does not set thematic priorities to which all applicants are expected to relate their proposal. Rather the onus is on the individual to indicate if, and how, their research will contribute to meeting national challenges. The primary factor in assessing applications will remain the quality of the proposal.
This is an optional field and the limit is 300 words.
The Academy expects that applicants will have any language skills necessary to conduct the programme. If relevant, please state the level of language competence of the applicant and other participants, or otherwise explain how the objectives of the programme will be met.
It is expected that most ethical issues will be covered by standard codes of practice. It is only necessary to indicate here in detail any non-standard issues. Please note the Academy’s ethics policy described in the Code of Practice. Approval to undertake the proposal must be granted by the relevant authority before any work requiring approval begins.
Please confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria as stated on page 2 of these guidance notes. On this page you will start to answer questions about your eligibility.
Primary and 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.
If your proposal is especially interdisciplinary, please use this field to explain the nature of the relevance to different fields of research. This field is optional and if used, we recommend no more than 500 words.
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 the closing date.
Please enter the organisation at which you are employed.
Most appropriate establishments are registered in the system. If your 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 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 their 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 must be done before the deadline otherwise you will not be able to ‘resubmit’ your application.
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.
You can update your personal details by checking ‘my account’ and selecting the link to ‘my contact details’ and ‘my organisation’ and ensuring the relevant details are up to date.
Please state your nationality. Up to three choices may be selected.
Statement of qualifications and career
Please give details of up to four relevant qualifications, in particular the award of PhD (if you hold one), which must be entered in the first box. A brief CV must be uploaded as a PDF document in the later field ‘curriculum vitae’.
The curriculum vitae must be uploaded as a PDF file. It should be kept brief and it will not be necessary to include details of research grants held, prizes/awards won, conferences attended or external examining.
Publications, Unpublished Research
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.
Present Appointment, Employing Institution and Present Department
Please give details of your current appointment. Applicants must be employed in an established post in which they have specific commitments from which they need to be relieved in order to concentrate on this award.
Applicants working towards a PhD or awaiting the outcome of their viva/submission of corrections are not eligible to apply.
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 field below under personal statement). If you do not have a PhD, but are employed as a Lecturer etc., you are still eligible to apply as long as you are within fifteen years of your first academic appointment.
Applicants are invited to include any information relating to their professional career which they may wish to be taken into account in assessing this application. For example, details of a career break, particularly in the case of applicants who were awarded a doctorate more than 15 years ago, or the effect of working on a part-time contract may be relevant. This field can also be used to explain eligibility for applicants who do not possess a PhD. This is an optional field and the limit is 150 words.
Assessors will use any information provided in this statement when considering the track record of an applicant in terms of the contribution they have made to their field, academic age and stage of career.
Applicants can use this space to outline any special considerations to be made, such as career breaks due to parental leave and caregiving responsibilities.
Next period of research leave; dates of research leave in last five years; standard sabbatical arrangements; current commitments
These fields call for details of the next period of research leave already granted, research leave already enjoyed in the recent past (sabbatical leave, unpaid leave and leave resulting from other research awards) as well as the normal leave entitlement offered by the applicant’s employing institution; and information about current teaching (including numbers of PhD students supervised), curatorial, administrative and publication commitments, giving a clear indication of those from which the applicant would not be able to be released in order to work on the proposed programme. Details of current duties should mention specifics of teaching, curatorial and administrative commitments.
An application may not be eligible for consideration if there is a report outstanding on any previous award from the Academy to the applicant. Failure to follow this guidance may result in your application being withdrawn from this round of competition.
Please give details of any applications submitted to the British Academy within the last five years.
Please note that a full report and statement of expenditure for any previous grant must be submitted, before further funding can be considered.
Applicants are required to nominate one referee and ensure that the supporting statement from their chosen referee is submitted on Flexi-Grant, in good time 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 final deadline for this round of competition, which is 5pm (BST) on 23 August 2023. Please note this deadline is the final approving deadline.
Your referee should be familiar with your project and able to comment on its significance and feasibility, on your abilities, and be as independent from you as possible. The referee is not intended to be an advocate for the applicant – rather their role is expected to be to help provide a rounded assessment of the proposal indicating both strengths and weaknesses.
The reference may be supplied by a researcher 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 before the deadline. It is essential that you enter the correct email address for your referee (especially if they are using more than one email address) otherwise your referee will not receive the automated messages delivered from Flexi-Grant.
We strongly advise that you submit your application as early as possible to allow your referee enough time to provide their reference in the system before the deadline for submission.
An application cannot be considered unless the reference has been submitted on time. Please note that the reference must be provided through Flexi-Grant, it cannot be provided as an email attachment nor sent by post in hard copy.
This section is optional; however, the Academy would greatly appreciate it if you can complete the details to assist us in our diversity monitoring.
The British Academy is committed to its policy of Equal Opportunity in the provision of its grants and awards. Please help us to monitor the effectiveness of this policy by providing information concerning your age, gender, ethnic origin and disabilities (if any).
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.
Please note that the British Academy does not require any financial details at the Outline Stage, although your institution may have internal requirements for this to be calculated now before an Outline Stage application is submitted.
There is no financial details page on the Outline Stage application form.
Please remember that the purpose of the scheme is to buy out 100% of the time of the applicant and that the combined total of the DI Salary cost and the DI Research Expense cost cannot exceed £100,000 at 100% FEC.
THE ACADEMY WILL ONLY PROCESS APPLICATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED AND SUBMITTED CORRECTLY
Once you have submitted your application for approval by your employing institution, an automatic email will be sent to the Organisation Approver for your employing institution. The Organisation Approver will either: approve and submit your application, ‘send back’ your application for edits/corrections or decline your application. You must complete your application with enough time for your institution to review and approve it. They must record their approval by 5pm (BST) 23 August 2023.
It is recommended that you allow at least five working days for this process. Please check with your employing institution as their internal timetables may require earlier submission. If your employing organisation approver requests modifications, they can return your application to you for editing. Once an application has been approved by the Organisation Approver, it cannot be returned. Please note that if your application is returned to you for editing, then you must submit it again to your Organisation Approver.
Please note that once the closing date has passed, approvers cannot approve applications and submit them to the British Academy. Unapproved applications are removed from consideration. No late applications can 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 Flexi-Grant and click on the link to the Application Portal where a summary of your application will be displayed.
Please note that academic quality and the focus on communication are the primary bases on which assessment will be made and may be judged together.
Assessors will evaluate the proposal taking into account the following criteria as appropriate to the aims of the scheme: its originality, its relationship to, and the volume of, research already done in the field, the quality of the research proposed, the suitability of the methodology, the feasibility of the research programme, its timeliness, the communication plan and the public benefit of the intended outcomes. Assessors may take into account evidence of language competence where the understanding of material in a foreign language is crucial to the achievement of the research objective. Assessors will also evaluate the ability of the applicant to undertake the proposal, taking into account the contribution they have already made to their field, their academic age and stage of career. Backlogs of publication (including any reasons given by applicants) may also be taken into account in assessing the current proposal.
Once your application has been submitted, you will not be contacted again by the British Academy until the Outline Stage decisions have been made (by late November 2023). You will not be required to do anything further in the Flexi-Grant 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 British Academy process and you do not need to do anything for this. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by late November 2023 by email to the email contact address given on their application form.
Applicants in any doubt about any aspect of their application are advised to contact the Research Funding Office at the British Academy by emailing [email protected]
Deadline for Outline Stage applications: Wednesday 23 August 2023 (5pm, BST)
Please note: This deadline is the official deadline for employing institutions to submit applications to the British Academy. Applicants are advised to check with their Research Office (or relevant department) whether internal deadlines have been set by their own institution.
Results of Outline Stage announced via email to applicant’s address on the application: from late November 2023
I am a Mid-Career researcher but notice that applicants should ‘usually be within no more than 15 years from the award of their doctorate’. I received my doctorate more than 15 years ago - would I still be eligible for consideration?
You are not directly eligible within the terms we have set, but a case could certainly be considered by the assessors. If your doctorate was awarded more than 15 years ago and your career has been interrupted, for example for illness or maternity/paternity leave, we will consider your case sympathetically. If you want to apply, please do so - in the personal statement you will need to set out the case for being considered to be Mid-Career, referring, for example, not only to the periods of interruption, such as for maternity/paternity leave, but to the subsequent impact of having young children to care for as well.
For an applicant to the MCF scheme who has no other claims for career breaks, maternity/paternity leave etc. is the 15 years postdoc experience an ‘absolute’ or an ‘approximately’ and does the 15 years period apply at the application date or the start of the Fellowship?
We don’t propose to count dates very strictly, so someone whose doctorate was awarded up to or around 15 years would be fine. The 15 years limit is counted back from the closing date of the Outline Stage (23 August 2023). If applicants are very clearly outside the target range that we have used to define Mid-Career and have no good reason to be considered mid-career, they would not be considered a high priority and therefore would be unlikely to be supported. We would suggest they look at the British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship scheme (opening on 4 October 2023). This scheme has no limitation on when the doctorate was awarded and is a fixed 12 month replacement teaching Fellowship only, but has no research costs built in.
I am a Mid-Career researcher in an established post at a UK institution, but I do not have a doctorate. Am I eligible to apply for a Mid-Career Fellowship?
If you are able to make a case that your career experience is equivalent to that of PhD level (i.e. publication record etc.), you are in an established position at a UK institution, and you are within fifteen years of your first research-related appointment then you will be eligible to apply. However, we recommend that you make reference to this under the ‘Personal Statement’ part of application form so that the assessors are fully informed.
I am employed in an established post at an Independent Research Organisation. I do not have teaching commitments, but my time to focus on research is constrained by my other duties. Am I eligible to apply for a Mid-Career Fellowship?
Yes, we expect that curators based in IROs who are research-active but whose time to focus on their own research is limited by their day-to-day duties will be eligible to apply to have time freed from those normal duties to concentrate on their own research project. They will be eligible to apply and will be considered by the assessors as equally relevant to this scheme as university-based staff.
I am employed at my university on a part-time contract – am I eligible to apply for a Mid-Career Fellowship or are only full-time researchers eligible?
Applications are accepted from researchers currently employed on both full and part-time contracts (i.e. anything less than 1.0 FTE). As the scheme is designed to buy out the whole of the Fellowship holder’s research time, any award will cover the entirety of the salary costs of any part-time contract. In other words, if you are employed for 20 hours a week then the Fellowship would buy out the 20 hours a week. However, we strongly recommend that applicants on part-time contracts make a case in the personal statement section as to why their need to be freed from their commitments is as great as someone who is on a full-time contract as it would be helpful to the assessors to know how the remainder of their time is spent.
I am on a full-time contract but only wish to dedicate and charge part of my time to the Fellowship. Can the overall cost of the award be shared with funding from another body on a part-time basis?
As above, we would not consider it a high priority to support a candidate whose time is not wholly devoted to the Fellowship. Only exceptionally could a case be made for an applicant on a full-time contract to choose to work part time and have time shared with funding from another body. In this instance, a very strong argument would need to be made to outline the feasibility of completing the research proposed in the related timescale. In these circumstances, an applicant would also need to be careful in costing the award in order not to count their time twice – funding cannot be provided for this on an FEC basis when it is already covered by another FEC award.
If a member of staff is on a fixed term contract which covers the proposed period of the Fellowship, would such a person be eligible to apply for the scheme?
Yes. It is essential, however, that the period of the contract covers the whole proposed period of the Fellowship. The purpose of the scheme is to allow successful applicants to obtain time freed from their normal teaching and administrative commitments. If the member of staff’s current contract ends during the proposed Fellowship period, or before it starts, but there is a commitment from the University to renew the contract, then also, yes, the applicant would be eligible.
Is the salary element of the Mid-Career Fellowship funding intended for the award holder or for teaching replacement?
The basis of the Mid-Career Fellowship is that the Fellowship is offered on the Full Economic Costing model, under which costs are calculated on the basis of the salary of the Mid-Career Fellows themselves. In agreeing to support the award, the institution is agreeing to enable the Mid-Career Fellow to have the time to concentrate on the programme of research and communication set out in the original application, save for those commitments declared on the form, from which it is not possible to be relieved (usually PhD supervision). How the institution uses the money awarded for the Fellowship is up to it – we are not paying specifically for a replacement so cannot insist on a full-time teaching replacement being appointed, but it would be good if an opportunity, albeit a short-term one, was opened up for an early career appointment as a result. All the Academy needs to be assured about at the end of the Fellowship is that the programme of research and communication has been carried out as planned, and that teaching and other commitments did not get in the way.
The notes for this scheme mention that there is a budget of £8000 for research expenses – can this funding also be used for public engagement activities?
Yes, research costs can include public engagement and dissemination activities including organising events, talks, conferences, workshops and presentations.
I understand that the research expenses can cover a wide range of possible types of expenditure, but since this is capped at £8000 it will be difficult to finance all these costs under that heading. Is there perhaps another heading for research expenses? Are there separate categories for travel and accommodation?
The main purpose of the Mid-Career Fellowship is to buy out the time of the applicant from their normal university commitments – it is not designed to provide more general financial support for a research project – it is, after all, a Fellowship and not a Research Grant. It is correct that some research expenses fall under the Fellowship, but this is capped at a maximum of £8000 (at 80% FEC), and there is no other capacity for increasing this as part of this award. The funds are designed to help support the Fellowship-holder and can include research assistance costs if necessary.
The funding being applied for is to allow time for the writing up of extensive fieldwork, rather than to carry out further research or undertake a programme of communication activity. Through the writing up, it is the intention that various publications arise and there will be opportunity for ongoing communication with existing stakeholders and potentially develop new links with other interested parties, so a programme of communication/dissemination is planned, but the driver for the Fellowship is to have the opportunity thoroughly to interrogate the raw data for a focused period. Is such a focus appropriate for a Fellowship application?
This focus is fine - but we would also stress that the scheme places a strong emphasis on a programme of communication activity. In order for a good application to be presented to our assessors this factor should be taken into consideration.
I have applied for a Mid-Career Fellowship, but I will be taking up a new post at another institution shortly. Are these Fellowships transferrable, and if I was offered a Fellowship could I take it with me?
Yes, these Fellowships are transferrable and if your application is successful then we will advise you on what you need to do in order to take the Fellowship with you to your new institution.
I am currently a Principal (or Co-Investigator) on another British Academy grant. Am I eligible to apply?
There can be no duplication for funding for the same purpose by more than one British Academy scheme. As the Mid-Career Fellowship buys out the Fellowship-holder’s time 100%, any existing award must be completed, and a final report submitted, before the Mid-Career Fellowship can be taken up. The Fellowship demands 100% of the time of the Fellowship-holder therefore it would leave no capacity to undertake separate research.
I was unsuccessful in applying to the Academy in a previous round. Are resubmissions accepted?
Yes, resubmission of the same proposal may be made once in the Mid-Career Fellowship scheme. An applicant is eligible to re-apply with a revised or different proposal so long as they still meet the eligibility criteria.
I received a Mid-Career Fellowship from the Academy previously – can I apply again as I’m still within 15 years of my doctorate?
No, previous Mid-Career Fellowship holders are not permitted to submit another application to this scheme.
The ‘Notes for Applicants’ state that the Fellowship is to begin in the ‘autumn of 2023’. Is there a specific date when the Fellowship must start - or can the start date be delayed?
The earliest date that the Fellowship can be taken up is 1 September 2023, and the last start date permitted is 1 January 2024. If the Fellowship cannot be taken up on a date within this timeframe, then regrettably the offer would have to be declined.
I see from the ‘Notes for Applicants’ that I would not be eligible to be considered for a Mid-Career Fellowship if I haven’t submitted my report and financial statement on the award I am currently holding. What is the deadline for receiving the report and FES on my current award so that my Mid-Career Fellowship application can proceed?
The Mid-Career Fellowship scheme is a two-stage application process with the result of the Outline stage being announced in November 2023.
If you are invited to the Second Stage, for which the closing date will be 10 January 2024, you must submit the final report and FES on your current award to the Academy no later than this date.
When I apply for funding through any of the schemes offered by the British Academy, can I include in the application the cost of APCs (Article Processing Charges) to enable any articles that may arise from the research to be published in learned journals that offer a ‘Gold’ open access option?
No. Currently the Academy’s position is that costs of publication are not eligible costs.
Is Apprenticeship Levy an eligible cost?
No, this is currently not an eligible cost and should not be included in the Final Expenditure Statement.