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FAQs for applicants

Here you will find answers our most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the Excellence Fellowship application process.

What is the aim of an Excellence Fellowship?

UCL's Excellence Fellowship Programme seeks to recruit the highest calibre early career researchers from leading international institutions, supporting them to establish their independent career and become the outstanding research leaders of the future.

For the 2021 round of fellowships the funding comes from UCL's Eugenics Restitution fund. UCL scientists in the early 20th century were involved in formulating the principles of eugenics and encouraging their adoption. Policies enacted in the name of eugenics around the world targeted specific groups of people, including those of lower economic status, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. UCL wholly rejects these views and as a step towards redressing these injustices, and as recommended by UCL’s recent eugenics inquiries, UCL aims to appoint two Excellence Fellows to address the current underrepresentation of groups targeted by eugenics.

The appointments are aimed at creating greater diversity of people, thinking and perspectives in genetics, and the broader life and medical sciences, ensuring that targeted groups are fully engaged in the construction of the future of the research landscape in these disciplines.

What fellowships are available in 2021?

Up to two fellowship posts are available in the Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment within the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Applications are welcome from clinical and non-clinical researchers in disciplines across the life and biomedical sciences, provided the research proposed fits within the remit of the Research Department for Genetics, Evolution and Environment which includes biodiversity and environmental biology, the biology of ageing, microbiology, computational biology, evolution and development, evolutionary genetics, human genetics and human evolution.

Further details can be found on the UCL Department for Genetics, Evolution and Environment website.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Candidates must be able to demonstrate an exceptional track record in their research field to date, and will have begun to build a reputation for the quality of their research, but will not yet have established an independent career or led a research group. They must be able to articulate that they are on the cusp of independence in terms of skills, vision, and outputs.

It is expected that fellows obtain an external intermediate fellowship and/or secure substantial peer-reviewed funding during the tenure of the post. As such, candidates are expected to be at a suitable career stage and of the appropriate calibre to apply for fellowships such as the MRC Career Development Award or Wellcome Early-Career Award.

In addition, for the 2021 round the fellowships will support applicants who have experienced hardship or been disadvantaged in the pursuit of their education and early research career. We particularly welcome applications from the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) community and those with disabilities.

In applying for the 2021 round, applicants will be asked to provide details of how their appointment will stimulate positive action to address underrepresentation of groups targeted by eugenics within UCL.

I am finishing my PhD: can I apply?

It is expected that the candidate has gathered a body of research outputs, and some candidates will achieve this during their PhD. To determine competitiveness, it is recommended that candidates consider the review criteria of:

  1. Readiness for independence (e.g., in terms of skills, vision and outputs).
  2. Competitiveness to secure an external intermediate fellowship in the first or second year of the fellowship.
I am proposing an interdisciplinary research programme. Can I apply?

Yes. Candidates wishing to work in interdisciplinary fields are encouraged to apply.

What is the duration of the appointment?

Excellence Fellows are funded for three years in the first instance. Excellence Fellows are expected to apply for externally-funded fellowships or personal awards during the tenure of this post and if awarded, the fellow's salary would be covered by the external funder. Part-time positions will be considered.

What funding is provided for the post?

Excellence Fellows will receive three year's salary funding, until salary is taken over by an external fellowship.

Excellence Fellows will receive up to an additional £50k to be used freely across the three years to support his/her research throughout the fellowship.

Fellows will be supported in applying for funding within the first two years of appointment. Funds may originate from government, charities or the commercial sector.

What is the starting salary?

Posts will be offered at UCL Grade 8 (£45,610 - £53,757). Clinical applicants will be appointed at the equivalent STR or JDPS payscales. Please note that consultant salaries will not be covered by this programme and clinicians will be expected to complete the fellowship prior to taking up a consultant level post.

When would a Fellowship start if I were awarded one?

This is agreed between the successful candidate and the Division of Biosciences; this will normally be within 3 months of the interview. Note that interviews for the 2021 recruitment round are scheduled for week commencing 21 February 2022.

What should I include in my 2-page research proposal?

The research plan should focus on the next three years and allow the reviewers to get a picture of what your aims are, your broad approaches, and how this addresses important issues/questions in the field.

You don’t need to go into detailed methodology or background, but you need to get across enough of your approach that they can understand how you are going to answer your research questions and to support the feasibility that you are able to do the work.

What should I include in my cover letter?

The cover letter should include details of how your appointment will stimulate positive action to address underrepresentation of groups targeted by eugenics within UCL. It should also include details of why you are applying for this fellowship at UCL, a summary of your track record in your research field to date, and plans on how you will use this fellowship to establish an independent career and lead your own research group.

Will I have an opportunity to supervise a PhD student?

Successful applicants will be eligible to co-supervise a PhD student with a more senior member of staff on relevant PhD studentship programmes within UCL. No additional funding will be available for this through the Excellence Fellowship.

How do I apply?

Full guidance on the application process can be found on our How to apply page.

Costings: Is a costings required for the application? What costs can be included if I am awarded a fellowship?

Do I need to include costings with the application?
You do not have to submit any costings with the application. Only upon award of the fellowship will the recipient be asked to submit costings.

What costs will be covered by the £50K?
The Programme does not define allowable/non-allowable expenses; it is kept flexible so that fellows can spend their funds in whatever way best supports their research.

Can I include personnel costs?
You may choose to support personnel with your consumable budget, provided they fit within the £50k.