NERC Independent Research Fellowship 2023

Deadline: 8th of November, 2023

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the driving force of investment in environmental science in the UK. We advance the frontier of environmental science by commissioning new research, infrastructure and training that delivers valuable scientific breakthroughs.

NERC invests public money in world-leading science, designed to help us sustain and benefit from our natural resources, predict and respond to natural hazards and understand environmental change.


  • This funding opportunity is open to early career researchers wishing to carry out independent research. Applicants on an upward trajectory to pursuing working independently and developing research leadership are encouraged to apply.
  • You must also be able to evidence reasonable scientific and technical skills and competencies, in line with the ambitions of the Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) scheme.
  • If you are currently studying for a PhD, you are only eligible if you are expecting to have passed your PhD viva before March 2024.
  • There is no limit on the number of years postdoctoral or work experience.
  • Holders of postdoctoral training fellowships such as the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions can apply. Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows and Daphne Jackson Trust Fellows who meet all eligibility requirements may also apply.
  • If you have been included on applications as a project co-lead, then you are eligible to apply provided you still meet all eligibility criteria. Your application must be different from applications you have been included on.
  • You may be employed at a lecturer level that is clearly a ‘teaching only’ post.


  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a UKRI Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

You should not apply if you hold, or have ever held:

  • a position at lecturer level (or the equivalent in an institution other than a university) that includes setting up a group and conducting your own research
  • an equivalent competitive fellowship that allows you to establish an independent research group, and therefore independent researcher status
  • a tenured academic post

If you hold a fellowship where you are eligible to supervise PhD students or submit research grants as a project lead, then we consider that equivalent to a lectureship. As a result, you are not eligible to apply.

Examples of these fellowships include, but are not limited to:

  • Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellowships
  • Medical Research Council Career Development Awards
  • BBSRC Discovery fellowships
  • UKRI Future Leaders fellowships

Click here to apply

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button