NERC Independent Research Fellowships (IRF) for Environmental Science
Due to an update to policy, applicants may only have one Fellowship application under consideration by UKRI. Applicants cannot submit applications to both NERC IRF and UKRI FLF rounds.
The NERC Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists, by giving all fellows five years' support, which will allow them sufficient time to develop their research programmes and to gain international recognition.
As part of this scheme, NERC will expand its fellowship networking and training activities, working with host institutions, to support the development of future leaders in NERC science.
IRF key dates:
- call opens for applications on Je-S - 18 June 2020
- call closes on Je-S - 6 October 2020
- Peer review - October 2020 - January 2021
- IRF sift meeting - January - February 2021
- IRF sift meeting results available - February 2021
- IRF interviews - March 2021
- IRF interview results available - April 2021.
Application and assessment process
In order to identify future science leaders, the assessment process will concentrate on applicants' research potential, with track record assessed in a way that is appropriate to career stage. Applicants will be expected to:
- demonstrate their research vision and philosophy and outline ways in which their research could be developed over the five year fellowship;
- explain how they will contribute to the international research area and interact with the leading international groups in their field;
- explain how they will enable the potential economic or societal benefits of their research to be realised.
In order to demonstrate a commitment to the development of NERC IRFs, the head of department of the host institution will be required to demonstrate:
- the availability of structured institutional support, including infrastructure and facilities, funds to support research, and access to PhD students;
- support for personal development of the fellow, including mentoring, appropriate review, and training courses.
NERC has prepared a document answering some common queries about the Independent Research Fellowships.