Newton International Fellowships 2020 guidance notes

Guidance notes for the 2020 Newton International Fellowships. Please read these scheme notes carefully. Any incorrectly submitted application will be ineligible for award.


The Newton International Fellowship Scheme was established in 2008 to select the very best early career postdoctoral researchers from all over the world and enable them to work at UK research institutions for two years. Newton International Fellowships are made available by the British Academy, Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences.

Aims of the scheme

This scheme focuses on early career international researchers. The aims of this scheme are as follows:

  • To support the development and training of postdoctoral researchers at an early stage of their career from any country outside the UK, by providing an opportunity to work at a UK research institution for two years.
  • To ensure the best postdoctoral researchers across all relevant disciplines from around the world are supported in the UK.
  • To foster long-term relations between Newton International Fellows and the UK research base through the establishment of an alumni programme for former Fellows of this Scheme. The alumni programme includes the possible provision of further funding for Newton International Fellows for follow-on activities, to enable links with UK-based researchers to be maintained and developed.

Subjects covered

Research must be within the British Academy’s remit of the humanities and social sciences. Eligible applicants for these disciplines can apply from any country outside the UK. If your research falls within the remit of the Royal Society or the Academy of Medical Sciences you must make your application directly to them through their Flexi-Grant systems. 

  • British Academy 
  • 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 
  • Archaeology 
  • Medieval Studies 
  • Early Modern History to 1850 
  • Modern History from 1850 
  • History of Art and Music 
  • Philosophy 
  • Law 
  • Economics and Economic History 
  • Anthropology and Geography 
  • Sociology, Demography and Social Statistics 
  • Political Studies: Political Theory, Government and International Relations 
  • Psychology 
  • Culture, Media and Performance 
  • Education 
  • Management and Business Studies 

Value of funding and support provided

Funding will consist of:

  • £24,000 per annum for subsistence costs (tax exempt)
  • up to £8,000 per annum for consumables
  • a one-off payment of up to £3,000 for relocation expenses in year one only (up to £2,000 for EEA Nationals)
  • contribution towards the cost of dependents’ (partner and children only) visas required to relocate to the UK for non-EEA nationals
  • a contribution will also be made to enable the UK host institution to host a Fellowship; this will be equal to 50% of the award (excluding the additional funding for dependants’ visas).

Contribution to UK host organisation

Newton International Fellowships will not be costed on the basis of full economic costing (FEC). Instead, awards will include a sum of 50% of the award (i.e. up to £33,500 for two years) to enable the UK host institution to host a Fellowship, to cover access for the individual to the institution and department facilities (adequate office and laboratory space and access to essential equipment and facilities, etc.).

For example:  if the award value is £35,000 in the first year (£24,000 + £8,000 + £3,000), the contribution to overheads is £17,500; therefore, the overall award value in the first year is £52,500. Newton International Fellows will not have access to this funding. The host organisation will not receive an overheads contribution for extra funding awarded for dependants’ visas.

Duration and start of Fellowship

Fellowships are expected to commence by 31 March 2021 but not before 01 October 2020, preferably on the first of the month. Fellowships will be for held for two years, on a full-time basis.

Flexibility during the Fellowship

Should any candidates need to hold the Fellowship on a part-time basis because of caring responsibilities this will be considered by the British Academy and discussed on a case-by-case basis at the point of being offered a conditional award or during the award. 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 etc.

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa (Exceptional Promise)

British Academy’s Newton International Fellows requiring a visa to work in the UK are eligible to apply for a Research and Innovation Talent Visa (i.e. Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa) under the accelerated process of endorsement. In line with the highly prestigious nature of the award, the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route is designed for people who are internationally recognised as potential leaders and enables the holder to be both adaptable and flexible during their research in the UK.

Alumni follow-on funding for Newton International Fellows

British Academy’s Newton International Fellows may also be eligible to receive Alumni follow-on funding following the tenure of their Fellowship to support networking activities with UK-based researchers.  Information regarding the Follow-on Alumni funding will be sent to successful Newton International Fellows towards the end of the Fellowship.

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