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Ernest Rutherford Fellowship

The Ernest Rutherford Fellowships will enable early career researchers with clear leadership potential to establish a strong, independent research programme. They will encourage talented researchers in UK universities to remain in the country and at the same time attract outstanding overseas researchers to the UK.

An analysis of Fellows who have completed their Fellowship since 2006, disclosed all Fellows were employed and held permanent jobs. Further details showing the key benefits of a Fellowship can be found in the analysis of questionnaires.

STFC currently supports a number of Ernest Rutherford Fellows undertaking a range of research within STFC core science areas.

Statement of Expectations for Fellows

Research Councils UK (RCUK) has published its Statement of Expectations for Fellows, which sets out common principles for all Research Council-funded fellows.

Key facts

Each Fellowship will last for five years, with up to 12 being offered annually. The aim is to support future scientific leaders to establish a strong, independent research programme.

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships are intended for early career researchers who do not have an academic position.

Applicants must have a PhD and a minimum of five years’ research experience from the start of the postgraduate programme leading to the award of a PhD and 1 September 2019 with, normally, a minimum of two years’ postdoctoral experience.

The Ernest Rutherford Grant Funding scheme is no longer available for successful fellowship applicants.

We receive in the order of 150 ERF proposals each year from applicants with various levels of post-doctoral experience. The tables below illustrate the diversity of experience from our applicants.

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships years of Post Doc experience - applicants

Call Post-Doctoral Experience Average
  1 to 3yrs 4 to 6yrs 7 to 9yrs 10yrs + per call
ERF 2011 20 6 44 16 6
ERF 2012 23 83 47 17 6
ERF 2013 9 76 51 14 6
ERF 2014 16 81 46 23 7
ERF 2015 15 72 51 21 7
ERF 2016 11 80 41 21 6.5
ERF 2017 16 75 45 27 6.5

Ernest Rutherford Fellowships years of Post Doc experience - awarded

Call Post-Doctoral Experience Average
  1 to 3yrs 4 to 6yrs 7 to 9yrs 10yrs + per call
ERF 2011 3 9 3 1 6
ERF 2012 2 4 6 2 6
ERF 2013 2 1 7 2 7
ERF 2014 2 7 1 2 6
ERF 2015 2 8 2 0 5
ERF 2016 0 6 5 2 7
ERF 2017 1 5 5 1 6

How to apply

Closing date for applications: 16:00, 20 September 2018

2018 Guidance notes will be available in June 2018.

Departments will be informed in June of their fellowship application limits for the 2018 round.

You are advised to contact your proposed host department as early as possible and certainly well ahead of the deadline for submission of applications. Departments may have internal processes to select which candidates to support and the timetables for these vary.

Applications are encouraged from those seeking to resume a research career, following a period of absence from active research. Details can be found on our Returner Fellowships web page.

To apply for an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship you are strongly advised to read the guidance notes (PDF, 222KB). These contain the rules and regulations for the scheme and advise on completing the online application form in Je-S.

All documents must be submitted as pdf attachments and written as per STFC requirements. Of the fonts available stated in the requirements, standard Arial 11pt is the preferred font for STFC. STFC will be carrying out more rigorous checks and any documents not submitted as per STFC requirements may not be considered.

To allow STFC to monitor the equality and diversity of applicants, it is requested that all applicants who apply to a prospective host institution, irrespective of whether or not they are accepted by the host institution in taking their application forward, to complete an anonymised survey with their details and research area.


Decisions on who to invite for interview will be made mid/late January 2019.

Interviews will be held mid-February 2019.



Fellowships and general enquiries

Tel: +(44) (0) 1793 413195

Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000