The Constitution Unit


Call for ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship applications 2021-22

7 December 2020

The Constitution Unit is inviting applications for the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship award. The deadline for expressions of interest is 18 December.

ESRC logo

The Constitution Unit is now inviting applications for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme.  

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships are aimed at those in the immediate postdoctoral stage of their career, to provide the opportunity to consolidate their PhD through developing publications, their networks, and their research and professional skills.

Fellowships will provide funding for up to one year full-time, or up to two years part-time to cover the fellow’s salary plus up to £10,000 of additional costs (to include costs such as mentoring costs, travel and subsistence, conference attendance, training, and fieldwork, for example).  

Fellows must spend 100% of their working time (whether full-time or part-time) on the fellowship and cannot take any secondary paid employment during the course of the grant.


All Fellows are required to have a mentor based at the research organisation where the fellowship is held. The mentor should have experience and a strong interest in the applicant’s field of research but should not normally have been the applicant’s PhD supervisor.  

The Unit would like to encourage applications from exceptional candidates to work with one of our researchers: 

- Professor Meg Russell (Unit Director) is particularly interested in applicants with projects on parliament or parliamentary reform, in the UK or comparatively. 

- Dr Alan Renwick (Unit Deputy Director) particularly invites candidates wanting to work on electoral systems, the conduct of referendums or deliberative democracy, in the UK or comparatively. 

You can read more about their research interests on their research pages, and are encouraged to do so before contacting them about your project. You are also encouraged to study the Constitution Unit research pages to get a sense of our current and past projects.

Candidates must have the support of a Constitution Unit member of staff who will act as the mentor and who will have reviewed and commented on the candidate’s proposal before it is submitted to the department for consideration.  Mentor details will need to be included in the outline application to the department and the mentor will need to provide a confirmation letter that they’re willing to support the application.


The call is open to applicants who have been awarded a PhD at a research organisation that is part of a Doctoral Training Centre by 23 March 2021 or who have passed their viva voce with minor amendments at such an organisation by that date and will be awarded their PhD by 1 October 2021.

Applicants may have no more than 12 months’ active postdoctoral experience since passing their viva voce (allowing for career breaks) by 23 March 2021.

Permanent members of staff in an academic position with a research component are not eligible for this scheme.  Applicants are not required to have previously held an ESRC-funded studentship in order to be eligible to apply. 

More information on eligibility can be found on the UBEL DTP website.  

How to apply 

Applicants who wish to be based at the Constitution Unit while completing the Fellowship at UCL must be selected by the Constitution Unit. If successful they will be put forward for consideration by the Department of Political Science decision panel. Applicants who are successful at this second stage will then be invited to submit their application to be considered amongst other applications in UCL. Lastly, those selected by UCL will be invited to submit their application to the ESRC. The key dates for this process are below.

In the first instance you must email either Professor Meg Russell or Dr Alan Renwick as soon as possible, and before 18 December, with an expression of interest, please include a 1 page outline of your proposal and a CV. 

Key dates 

  • 18 December. Deadline for applicants to contact their proposed mentor at the Constitution Unit. We advise you do this as soon as possible. Include a 1 page outline of your proposal and a CV. 

  • 7 January. Deadline to send the application form to the Department of Political Science decision panel. 

  • 24 January. Deadline to submit application to UCL. 

  • 23 March. Deadline to submit their application to ESRC. 

  • 1 October. Fellowships commence. 

Further details  

The UBEL (London DTP) website with links to the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme call and FAQs.  


Link to UCL Department of of Political Science process and news story.


Edd Rowe – Constitution Unit Office Manager 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 4977  Email: e.rowe@ucl.ac.uk