How to apply

Applying through the Je-S system

You must use the Joint electronic-Submission (Je-S) system to prepare and submit your fellowship proposal. In order to apply, the organisation where the fellowship will be held must be registered to use Je-S. Most UK research organisations are now registered - view a summary of current Je-S registration statuses on the Je-S website.

If you do not have a Je-S account

You will need to create one. To do this, you will need to select the option "Create Account" from the main Je-S log in screen and then specify that you need the ability to create and submit fellowship proposals. You may wish to refer to the relevant section of the Je-S handbook - external link - for details of how to do this.

If you have a Je-S account

If you have a Je-S account, but it is unregistered, you too will need the ability to create and submit fellowship proposals. You can change this in the "My Details" section of the Je-S system by selecting that you need the ability to create and submit fellowship proposals.

If you have a registered Je-S account, you will be able to create fellowship proposals without the need to change your registration status.

If you have forgotten your account log in details or are unsure whether you already have an account please contact the Je-S helpdesk who will advise you.

Submitting your fellowship through Je-S

The submission route that your fellowship proposal will take depends upon how the host research organisation has configured its submission process. The tutorials give an overview of the submission process through Je-S. If you are submitting a fellowship through a host organisation that is not your own, you may wish to familiarise yourselves with its submission process.

You will of course be in discussion with the organisation where you wish to hold the fellowship. As part of these discussions, you should ensure that it is content to submit the fellowship proposal on your behalf. Upon submitting the fellowship proposal to the research council, the research organisation submitter will be asked to confirm that it has verified your identity. It will also be advised to check the head of department statement to ensure that it has been completed by an appropriate person.

Closing dates, times and eligibility criteria are published in the online guidance, or in individual announcements of opportunity. These may vary between schemes so please check the relevant guidance before making your application.


General fellowship enquiries:

Enquiries regarding Je-S submission:

01793 444 164

Case study - Dr Katherine Dobson, Durham University

Dr Katherine Dobson

Dr Katherine Dobson

Please summarise your background prior to applying for a NERC IRF award relevant to your successful application.

I have changed my research focus quite a lot over my career compared to some colleagues. Although each project was a logical step on from the last, it did make establishing and maintaining my track record more challenging. Multidisciplinary research might be encouraged, but there is still relatively little understanding and support for multidisciplinary researchers, and how the subject area can affect quantifiable outputs.

One of my previous moves was a big gamble: moving from Earth Sciences to Materials Sciences, and onto an industry-supported project with little publication potential. I made the move to develop the unique skill set that let me put together my NERC fellowship, but knew it would come at a cost. While it was hard and isolating working in a group where my research interests were completely different, and where a lot of my work wasn't seen, it did let me bring all sorts of new ideas and methods back across to geoscience.

Why did you choose to apply for an IRF?

I wanted the opportunity to develop my own research programme building on my experiences and the opportunity now available. My project would not have been technically possible even two years ago, so it was partly about timing, and the flexibility of a NERC IRF to let me apply the experience I gained in materials science to NERC-focused research. NERC fellowships are extremely competitive and prestigious, and the greater flexibility and support they offer is what allowed me the time and resources to be able to do the best work I can.

What are the main research goals of your IRF?

To understand how magma moves, and how mobilisation and movement controls the explosivity of volcanic eruptions. Most magmas beneath volcanoes have almost completely crystallised, and very little liquid is left, they shouldn't be able to move, but somehow they do. How? Why? When?

What notable outcomes, have arisen from your IRF to date? (These could include academic achievements or societal and economic outcomes).

My project only started in April, so I am still in the main development and capability development stage. I was lucky enough to be able to perform the first set of experiments right at the start of the fellowship, and am in the middle of processing the results. However, the fellowship has already allowed me to develop new international collaborations, convene international conference sessions, and get more involved with the international Early Career Network in my area. I am also already helping a wider section of the NERC research community by helping on existing and developing new PhD projects which use my technical expertise for very different applications.

Do you have any advice for potential applicants?

Spend as much time as you can to distil down the core ideas and aims of your project. Shorter is better. I found that my proposal was better when I expanded into space giving additional detail rather than having to cut text out. Be bold and know what you want, but get as much feedback from other academics, both in your own field and from other departments, as you can early on. Feedback from senior academics in physics, materials and chemistry didn't change what I was wanting to do, but completely changed the way I presented it.