Postdoctoral Fellowships

**Please note that the ESRC Postdoctoral Scheme entry for academic year 2020/21 is now closed. The call specification and application details for 2021/22 will be added once made available by the ESRC.**


The Grand Union Doctoral Training Parternship is pleased to invite applications for ESRC-funded postdoctoral Fellowships to commence 1 October 2020. They will be based at one of our partner institutions: Brunel University London, The Open University or the University of Oxford.

The DTP expects to award six, one-year Fellowships, at least one of which must be aligned with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, either by addressing skills gaps (eg. through use of advanced quantitative methods and/or data skills) or a programme of activities that involves direct engagement with partners in business and industry (eg. project collaboration or a placement).

Fellowships are aimed at those in the immediately postdoctoral stage of their career, to provide the opportunity to consolidate their PhD through developing publications, their networks, and their research and professional skills. Proposals are welcome from single or multi-disciplinary backgrounds but the fellowship activities must be aligned to one of the Grand Union DTP’s 23 thematic pathways and based at least 50% within the social sciences.

Grants will cover salary costs, and candidates can apply for up to £10,000 to support mentoring costs and additional research activity (eg. travel conference attendance, training, and fieldwork). As a general guide, mentor costs will be around £4,000 and candidates can apply for around £6,000 for additional activity.



The call will be open to applicants who have undertaken their PhD at a research organisation that is part of an ESRC-funded DTP or CDT. At the application submission deadline (23 March 2020), the applicant must either have been awarded a PhD or have submitted their thesis and passed their viva voce with minor corrections, with the expectation that the PhD will be awarded by the fellowship start date.

Grants are restricted to those with no more than 12 months active postdoctoral experience, between passing their viva and the application deadline of 23 March 2020.


Application Process 

Full details on the scheme are available below in the ESRC Call Specification and FAQ Documents.

Candidates should identify the DTP pathway to which they would be aligned and consult the relevant department/academic unit about potential applications to ensure compliance with any internal deadlines.

Fellows are required to have a mentor who is a senior colleague based at the University where the Fellowship is held. If you need help identifying a suitable mentor, please contact the relevant Pathway Lead. 

An application form and required documents must be submitted as a single pdf via the relevant department/academic unit by 16.00 on 23 March 2020 to

In order to support ESRC equality and diversity monitoring, applicants are also asked to optionally complete and return an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form separately to the main application. Information received will be anonymised, will not form part of any selection process and will not be disclosed to the selection panel or department/academic unit.

The Grand Union DTP will peer review the proposals and make funding decisions on behalf of the ESRC by end of June 2020.


ESRC Call Specification     ESRC FAQs   


Application Forms

Application Form     Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form


Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Candidates may find the slides from the 2018 competition information session useful for general reference, however please note that some specific information will have changed.  

PDF Briefing Slides 



General queries about the scheme and/or departmental/unit contacts at either Brunel University London, the Open University or the University of Oxford can be directed to the following:

Institution Contact
Brunel University London
The Open University
University of Oxford

Departmental Internal Competitions - Special Deadlines

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3 February 2020 - ODID’s internal competition deadline:

The Department is restricted to supporting a maximum of three applications to this very popular call, and will therefore run an internal competition to determine which applications will proceed. Prospective applicants should alert ODID’s Research and Grants Manager ( that they wish to submit an application to this competition at their earliest opportunity, and must have arranged to meet with the R&G Manager by the 8th January 2020. Full drafts of all application materials are required by this date, alongside a statement of support from the applicant’s mentor.

ODID will submit applications on/by the earlier date of the 9th March 2020. Please note that no late applications will be permitted.

15 February 2020 - SOGE's internal competition deadline:

Please contact Senior Research Support Officer Gillian Willis for additional information regarding this internal call and deadline for the School of Geography. 

4 February 2020 - OSGA’s internal competition deadline:

Full details of the Department's internal selection process may be found on their website

13 February 2020 - Faculty of Law's internal competition deadline: 

Each department or faculty in Oxford is only able to submit three applications.The Law Faculty will therefore have an internal deadline based on outline proposals and the three selected applicants will then receive additional support to complete their applications. The outline proposal for the Faculty deadline should consist of a 2-page CV, a 2-page proposal and a supporting statement from a potential mentor - a current member of the Law Faculty.

The Law Faculty deadline for outline proposals will be Thursday 13th February 2020 (Faculty expression of interest: 6 February 2020). These should be sent to Karen Eveleigh at More information can be found on their website