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Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

This scheme offers a recognised first step into an independent research career for outstanding scientists and engineers at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances, such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.

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

This competitive scheme offers you the opportunity to:

  • focus on your own research, freeing you from administrative and teaching duties
  • hold your fellowship on a part-time basis or convert from full-time to part-time and back again to help match work and other commitments, such as caring responsibilities or health-related reasons
  • claim back time spent deferring the fellowship and/or working part-time at the end of the fellowship

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. The Royal Society does not cover clinical medicine (such as patient orientated research and clinical trials), social sciences or humanities, other than when working in partnership with organisations.

To mark the 35th anniversary of the University Research Fellowship, and over 20 years since the launch of the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship, the Royal Society commissioned a major survey to determine the impact of these long-term fellowships on the career pathways and scientific achievements of our alumni. Find out about some of the career pathways of alumni to the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship on our Career Pathway Tracker page.

Am I eligible to apply?

You must be able to demonstrate a current need or by the start of the fellowship a need for flexible support due to personal circumstances, at the time of application and for the duration of the fellowship. This can include current or future parental responsibilities (i.e you are currently pregnant) or caring responsibilities (such as raising children or looking after ageing or seriously ill family members), clinically diagnosed health issues or other personal circumstances that create a need for a flexible working pattern. Please contact the grants team if you would like clarification on whether you meet this eligibility requirement.

Applicants must take a leading role in the project.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • are ready to take the next steps to develop your independent research career
  • are in the early stages of your research career, either having recently completed a PhD or have up to six years of research experience since your PhD by the closing date of the round. The does not include any career breaks or part-time working, refer to the scheme notes for further detail
  • do not hold a permanent post in a university or not-for-profit organisation

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

How flexible is the fellowship?

The Society’s fellowships are highly flexible for example part-time working requests can be considered for personal reasons such as ill-health or caring responsibilities. Sabbaticals and secondments can be accommodated too. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave.

When applying, the Society will consider time spent outside the research environment when assessing eligibility. Additionally, where applicants have taken formal periods of maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave as the primary carer (either the mother, father, partner or adopter), or extended sick leave, the Society will allow the actual time of leave taken, as well as an additional six months for each period of leave when assessing eligibility (e.g. 18 months will be allocated for someone who has taken 12 months of parental leave).

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

The scheme provides funding for five years. 

The scheme covers:

  • Research Fellow's salary: 80% of the basic salary costs up to £40,354.58 in the first year, estates costs and indirect costs. (Under the full economic costing model, 80% of these costs will be met by the Society)
  • Research expenses: 
    • Contribution to research expenses up to £13,000 in year one and up to £11,000 per year thereafter
    • Additional research expenses of up to £40,000 in 2019/20 and £80,000 in 2020/21 will also be awarded
  • Research assistance:
    • 80% of full economic cost of a postdoctoral research assistant, including salary costs, indirect and directly allocated costs, and estate costs.
    • Contribution to a four-year PhD studentship
    • Equipment costs.
    • Up to £1,000 per year to support public engagement activities
    • Up to £5,000 for training and professional development for the Research Fellow and any staff or students supported by the grant.

The Society is providing an enhanced level of research expenses for newly appointed research fellows between 1 October 2019 and the end of March 2021 due to additional funding from the UK Government’s Talent Fund. Any future decision by The Society to continue this enhancement beyond March 2021 will be subject to the availability of continued funding of the Royal Society through the Government’s Talent Fund. In the event that funding is available, the Society may run a further application process to enable award-holders to apply for additional funding during financial year 2020-21.

The basic salary requested should be at a level commensurate with the applicant’s skills, responsibilities, expertise and experience, up to a maximum of £40,354.58 per annum. An annual spine point increase of 3% may be applied to the salary. For more information about indexation and inflationary increases, please refer to the scheme notes.

Before applying, please read the scheme notes for more detailed information.

What is the application process?

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

Applications will initially be reviewed and then shortlisted by members of the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship Selection Panel. Applicants will be notified if they have reached the shortlisting stage.

The shortlisted proposals will be reviewed by three independent referees suggested by the panel members and successful applicants will be shortlisted for an interview. Applicants are informed of the result of this stage and interviews will take place the week commencing 18th June 2019. Please note that interviews for the fellowships will be held at the Royal Society. Applicants are asked to keep this week in June free. Only applicants that pass the other stages of assessment will be invited.

Applicants will be notified of the result by the end of July 2019.

We are committed to supporting applicants with disabilities. If you require a reasonable adjustment during the application process, please contact the team to let us know.

Benefits of holding a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows have the opportunity to access a range of training programmes covering topics including leadership, science communication and public engagement. Furthermore, opportunities arise throughout the year for Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows to participate in activities coordinated by the science policy, public engagement, schools outreach, and industry engagement teams at the Society.

In addition to the support the Society offers through its policy on maternity, paternity, adoptive and extended sick leave, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows are able to receive financial support for childcare costs to support attending conferences and collaborative research visits. Further information can be found in the Society's Childcare Travel Policy.

We hold an annual meeting at the Royal Society which brings research fellows together to share science and meet their peers. There are also opportunities to meet with peers and other Royal Society research fellows at regionally based meetings organised by the Royal Society, which are often attended by Fellows of the Royal Society. All newly appointed Fellows will be invited to an induction meeting, typically held in November.

Meet our Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows

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