FAQs

The Commissioners naturally wish to select Fellows whose research promotes the remit of the 1851 Royal Commission. The Terms and Conditions have been composed to reflect that wish, and departure from them would put the applicant at a considerable disadvantage.

Can I apply for both the Brunel Fellowship and the Science and Engineering Fellowship?
You may not submit the same research proposal to both Fellowships. Please select the Fellowship that suits your research proposal the best.

Can I submit unique applications to both the Brunel Fellowship and the Science and Engineering Fellowship?
They are both highly competitive fellowships and candidates should focus on their most exciting and innovative proposal.

How many Brunel Fellowships will be awarded?
There is one Brunel Fellowship on offer each year.

When do applications open? When is the deadline?
The application form for 2022 will go live on 1 October 2021. Applications should be submitted by midday 19 January 2022.

I have more than 3 years postdoc experience.
Given that these are early career awards, the Commission is looking for candidates who have no more than three years postdoc experience at the anticipated start date of October 2022. Those with more than three years postdoc experience will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Where applicable, these should be explained in the form of a personal letter to The Secretary to accompany the submission. There is space on the application form to upload this letter.

Do you take into account career breaks such as maternity leave or time spent in industry?
Yes. We understand that not all career paths are the same and there is space on the application form to highlight your circumstances.

Can I undertake the Fellowship at the same institution as my PhD institution?
The Fellowships are intended for early career scientists who are looking to conduct independent research of their own instigation. Candidates who wish to remain at the same institution as their PhD should at least change research groups in order to show the independence that is required and have a very good reason to stay at the same institution. If it is a continuation of your PhD, it is unlikely to be a new and innovative programme of research of your own instigation. It is appreciated that exceptional domestic circumstances may restrict an applicant’s ability to shift their location, and that could be viewed sympathetically if the case is made in an accompanying letter to The Secretary. There is space on the application form to upload this letter.

If I do apply to stay at the same institution as my PhD, can my PhD supervisor be one of my references?
Yes, it is expected that one of your references will be your PhD supervisor. Your aim should be to provide two referees to give the strongest possible recommendation of your past work and your potential. As your PhD supervisor would have the best knowledge of you as a candidate, you should still use them as one of your references. The absence of a reference from the PhD's supervisor may place the applicant at a disadvantage.

Candidates need at least one UK based reference, but not from the same university where the Fellowship will be held. This is challenging for overseas candidates.
Commissioners recommend that at least one reference should be from a UK institution but it is not a rule. Your aim should be to provide two referees to give the strongest possible recommendation of your past work and your potential. If there is a UK academic who is sufficiently familiar with your work, there is a possibility that this would add weight to the reference as you are known outside of your immediate group.

What is the Fellowship salary cap?
There is no salary cap. The Commission will make a grant to the host institution to cover full payroll costs and it is expected that the Fellow will be appointed at a point on the postdoc pay scale appropriate to their experience.

Where should I include budgetary information on the application form?
We do not require any budgets or costings at the application stage.

I have seen in the online application form a question asking if I have applied to other fellowships. Will it hurt my chances to answer "yes" to this question?
No. We completely understand that researchers of the calibre we are looking for are likely to be applying for other awards. But it is helpful to know to give us an idea of how many may drop out before the fellowship is due to start. If you are successful and subsequently receive another Fellowship, please let us know.

I am currently completing my PhD studies. Do I need to hold my PhD by the time I submit my application?
You need to be in possession of your PhD before you can take up an 1851 Research Fellowship and the Fellowship must be taken up in the year of award, we do not allow them to be deferred. So if you are applying in the next Call for the 2021 round you must have your PhD before 31 December 2021.

The proposal.
We ask that the detailed research proposal is laid out over two pages of A4. It should be clear to read when printed out and when viewed electronically. We advise against using a very small font size and narrow margins. The word count should be approximately 750 words. It is not policed.

Can I hold the Fellowship on a part-time basis?
This is decided on a case by case basis and is discussed with the candidate after an award has been offered.