Postdoctoral Fellowship: frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions for the Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme.

How many times can I apply?

You can only apply once. Only those who are invited to the second stage of the competition can re-apply.

I am a biochemist / physicist / engineer, can I apply?

No. The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences. We therefore only fund research proposals from within humanities and social science subject areas.

Can I apply at multiple institutions?

You can only apply via one institution.

I got my PhD in 2014, but I decided to work in a non-academic job for a few years. Does this count as an exemption?

No, unfortunately the main type of exemptions we consider are breaks taken due to care commitments or for personal health reasons. If you feel you are eligible for exemptions, please send us an email to to review this.

I will not have my viva voce examination until early 2022/ My viva voce examination has not been scheduled yet! Can I still apply?

If you are reasonably confident that your viva voce examination will be held before 1st April 2022, then you may apply. However, if there are any changes last minute that push your viva voce date beyond the 1st April 2022, you will have to withdraw your application.

What is the Second Stage? Can I apply at the Second Stage instead?

The Postdoctoral Fellowship competition is a two-stage process. Only those who are successful at the Outline Stage can apply for the Second Stage. The Second Stage is invitation only. If you were previously successful in getting to the second stage, but did not get an award, you would need to re-apply at the first stage again.

What does the Head of my department have to do?

Your head of department (At your proposed institution) will be asked to upload a PDF document of their statement within the Flexi-Grant system. More information can be found within the Scheme Guidance notes on the information needed. The statement must be submitted to the application prior to the closing date.

How much will I get paid?

You will be paid your host institution’s standard rate for an equivalent position.

When I apply for funding through any of the awards 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 publication costs are not eligible.

Does the Academy require the outputs of the research it funds to be made available in any open access format?

No, this is not currently a stipulation of any Academy award.

Does a master’s degree in the UK count as ‘prior association’?

No. You will need to have worked as an academic researcher in the UK: For example, taking on a Research Fellowship position, or working as a Research Assistant at a UK academic institution. Please note if you worked in a permanent position you are ineligible to apply.

Can I take the award on at part time, so that I can work on a different project part time?

No. The Postdoctoral Fellowship buys you out for 100% of your time. However, it is possible for you to change part time working hours – but not for the purposes of working on a different project/ or to hold a different position.

Can I have more than one mentor?

No – the mentor position is a paid role and can only be taken up by one person.

Can my mentor be based at a different organisation?

No. Our expectation is that the mentor is from someone within the department you are applying to. This mentor is there to help you settle into the department, ensure your participation as a full member of the staff, and to support you with any departmental issues.

Can I apply if I do not intend to work in a University setting after the award?

Yes. This award is intended to help researchers to develop their careers and an acceptable outcome is to prepare you for a research career in a range of research organisation settings, not exclusively limited to universities.

Does the fellowship cover VISA costs?

Unfortunately, this is not a cost covered within the Postdoctoral fellowship budget. Any queries about the VISA or costs associated with it should be directed to your research department.

What do you mean by endangered or emerging subjects?

The definition around this is broad and typically endangered or emerging subject areas are those that are newly formed, becoming more prominent or those that are in danger of becoming lost.

Can I include a bibliography/reference list and, if so, where should I place this?

It is not a mandatory requirement that you include a reference list. If you choose to include this as part of your application, then it should be placed as part of the main text in your research proposal – you cannot upload this as an additional document.

Who can offer institutional authorisation for my application?

Institutional authorisation must be given by the registered approver in the British Academy Flexi-Grant® Grant Management System (GMS). This is variable at each institution and will often be the Research Grants or Contracts Office or equivalent. You should seek advice at your home institution.

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