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Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

This scheme offers a recognised first step into an independent research career for outstanding postdoctoral scientists who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances, such as caring responsibilities and/or health-related conditions.

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship
Human cortical neurons in a dish. Credit: Dr Sarah Newey, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow from the University of Oxford.

Changes to the Fellowship

Until 2022, the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (DHF) was a five-year fellowship. From the 2022 application round onwards, applicants have the opportunity to submit a research proposal and costs for an eight-year fellowship. Costs for years six to eight will be subject to satisfactory progress and completion of a mid-fellowship checkpoint review at the start of year four.

Additionally, researchers can now apply for up to £90,000 in research expenses per annum to support the research programme proposed in their application.

These changes were introduced to increase the stability of funding available to DHFs, support them to develop their research group and give them the opportunity to focus on their research aims with a reduced administrative workload.

About the scheme

This scheme offers you:

  • the opportunity to build your independent research career  
  • freedom, time and long term flexible support to pursue high quality and innovative lines of scientific research
  • flexibility to accommodate personal circumstances such as caring responsibilities or health-related needs
  • support to develop as a research leader through tailored, high quality professional development, networking and engagement opportunities

This scheme is highly flexible to accommodate for part-time working, sabbaticals and secondments. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave.

Am I eligible to apply?

Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. For a full list, please see the breakdown of subject groups and areas supported by the Royal Society. Submissions from clinically qualified scientists may be considered. The Society does not support clinical or interventional research on humans at the individual or group level, social sciences or humanities, unless otherwise stated.

You must be able to demonstrate that you currently have, or will have by the start of the fellowship, a need for flexible support due to personal circumstances. This can include parental responsibilities, caring responsibilities, clinically diagnosed health conditions or other personal circumstances that create a need for a flexible working pattern.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • are ready to take the next steps to develop your independent research career; you must take the leading role in the project
  • are in the early stages of your research career having up to six years of research experience since your PhD by the closing date of the round. Career breaks are taken into account - please refer to the scheme notes for further details
  • do not hold a permanent post (including proleptic or rolling contract of employment) in a university or not-for-profit organisation
  • do not hold, or have not previously held, an equivalent fellowship that provides an opportunity to establish an independent research group and therefore independent research status

For further information about how to apply, please read the FAQs provided at the top of the page in the grey box.

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements, laid out in the scheme notes. 

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

From the round opening in September 2022, appointments will be made for an eight-year period; however, confirmation of funding for years six to eight will be subject to completion of a satisfactory mid-fellowship checkpoint review at the start of year four.

The scheme provides:

  • Research Fellow’s salary: 80% of the basic salary costs up to £41,675 in the first year, estate costs and indirect costs
  • Contribution to research expenses of up to £90,000 per annum

Please read the scheme notes for full value of award information.

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows have the opportunity to access a range of training opportunities covering topics including leadership, science communication and public engagement. Furthermore, opportunities arise throughout the year for Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows to meet with other award holders and participate in activities coordinated by the science policy, public engagement, schools outreach and industry engagement teams at the Society. For further details relating to the additional benefits of holding a Royal Society Research Fellowship, please read our summary page.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Society’s grant management system Flexi-Grant®. 

Your application will go through the process detailed on the Making a grant application page overseen by the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship Selection Panel. Your need for flexibility will only be viewed by the Society’s Grants team to check your eligibility for the scheme.

Panel members and independent reviewers will assess an application solely on the basis of scientific merit. 

Interviews will be held in early June at the Royal Society you are advised to keep this period free. You will be notified of the result of the application process around the end of July 2023.

The Royal Society recognises that diversity is essential for delivering excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Society wants to encourage applications from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences to maximise innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity. We regularly review and revise processes to help ensure that all talented applicants have an equitable chance to succeed as per the assessment criteria. This includes ensuring all panel members are briefed on unconscious bias in decision making as part of our assessment process.

Please note a new statement for applicants on the impacts of COVID-19 has been released on our website. 

Support for applicants with disabilities

The Royal Society welcomes applications from scientists with disabilities and provides adjustments to ensure that they can participate fully in the selection process. If you need an adjustment when accessing the application form, attending interviews, or for any other part of the application process, please contact the Grants team on or +44 20 7451 2666. Adjustments can include, but are not limited to:

  • extension of the deadline
  • additional support to complete the application form
  • technical support during interviews for candidates with hearing or visual impairments
  • support during interviews for neurodiverse candidates and those with mental health conditions
  • additional costs to support candidates requiring a chaperone during interviews.

For more information regarding the scheme, please contact the Grants team on or visit our contact us page

Below, you can read case studies from our Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows. You can also read an in-depth report on the career pathways of our alumni on the Career Pathway Tracker page.

Meet our Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows

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