Understanding Society Fellowship programme

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To enable researchers to devote time to research that directly impacts on the Study, Understanding Society runs a Fellowship programme. These allow researchers to take time out to focus on projects based on Understanding Society data or methodological challenges.

As one of the largest household panel studies in the world, Understanding Society provides a rich resources for researchers from many different fields. It allows researchers and policymakers to gain a deeper understanding of issues such as poverty, unemployment or mental health, by allowing researchers to gain an understanding whether conditions are persistent or transitory. The data is also ideal for evaluating policy changes, as before and after measures are reported at individual and household level. At the same time, Understanding Society provides significant opportunities for methodological research. This has often been focused on formal experiments carried on the Innovation Panel, but there are many opportunities for methodological research on the main survey as a result of changes in design over time

The Fellowship programme provides funding for a 12-month full or part-time project, with additional resources for follow-on dissemination and impact generating activities. Practical support is available from the Study team to advise on data and analysis plans, communication and impact strategies.

How to apply

Each call for Fellowships has a specific theme. Previous rounds have included a focus on biomarkers and genetics data, methodological research on representativeness, and policy focused projects.

The call for Fellowships is currently open. The themes for this round of Fellowships are research on event histories and mixed mode measurement. Read the current call for proposals here. Apply by 5.00 p.m. on the 25th October using this application form

What do we look for in a Fellow?

Applications will be assessed on the basis of their scientific merit and potential to enhance the usefulness of the Study as a research resource and/or generate policy impact.  Any researcher based in a higher education institution is eligible to apply (except the University of Essex), but people can only have an Understanding Society Fellowship once, so previously successful applicants should not apply. We welcome applications from researchers at any career stage, but you must have successfully completed PhD research to apply. Fellowships are not open to Masters or PhD students. Early careers researchers (ECRs, < 3 years post PhD) should identify a mentor in their own institution. 

Our previous Fellows

What does a Fellowship provide?

  • Funding will be provided for the Fellow’s salary, including NI and pension costs for up to 12 months.
  • Further funding is available for dissemination and impact activities in the six months following the Fellowship. 
  • The maximum budget per Fellowship is £70,000 for staff and dissemination related costs. 

As part of their project Fellows are required to:

  • Share the syntax for any projects, which if appropriate and acknowledging the Fellow’s authorship, would be added to the Understanding Society website and/or used to create new datafiles for the Study.
  • Author an Understanding Society Working Paper.
  • Contribute to the Understanding Society blog or podcast series.
  • Submit their research to peer review journals and present at relevant conferences.

On all topics we particularly welcome projects that also aim to actively promote policy learning, with additional funding available for such activities, including beyond the end date of the fellowship if helpful. Fellows that wish to pursue policy engagement for their project will be supported by the Understanding Society Policy and Partnership Unit to engage widely with policy makers, including Understanding Society‘s co-funder group, and work with them to disseminate findings and generate impact.  

Application date
up to 12 months
Social sciences : Demography, Law, Economy, Geography, Management and Public administration, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Political science, Pedagogic & Education Research, Information and Communication Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Sociology
Other : Medicine