Durham International Junior Research Fellowships (COFUND)

Durham University is delighted to announce the next round of its Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) scheme, designed to attract the brightest young researchers in Europe and beyond, and build international networks of scholars with a common passion for the deepest theoretical questions and most pressing practical problems facing humanity.

The JRF scheme is aimed at researchers with significant post-doctoral experience, but recent doctorands of exceptional ability and researchers who have followed non-traditional academic career paths (such as in public corporations, NGOs or industry) are also encouraged to apply. Researchers who already hold tenured or tenure-track academic posts (or similar) should apply for Durham International Senior Research Fellowships. JRFs will pursue new research ideas of their own design, undertaken in collaboration within academic researchers at Durham University.

Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the diverse spectrum of opportunities offered by the Institutes and Centres at Durham, which span the Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, and link their proposals to research programmes of the Institutes and their constituent research centres. These Institutes are listed below. Applicants may, however, submit a research proposal that is independent of the Institutes, Centres or the Durham University Business School, provided that they have a coherent and cogent reason why this research should be conducted in Durham: such 'free-standing' Junior Fellows will be affiliated to the Institute of Advanced Study.

  • Institute of Advanced Study (IAS)
  • Institute of Computational Cosmology (ICC)
  • Institute of Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP)
  • Biophysical Sciences Institute (BSI)
  • Durham Energy Institute (DEI)
  • Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR)
  • Wolfson Research Institute (WRI)
  • Institute of Mediaeval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)
  • Durham Global Security Institute (DGSI)
  • Durham University Business School (DUBS)
  • Institute of Advanced Research Computing (iARC)
  • 53 Research Centres

In order that the JRFs can complete a significant piece of original research during the Fellowship, the normal period of the Fellowship will be 2 years, though Fellows can make a case for a shorter period with a minimum of one year.

At the end of their Fellowship time, the JRFs should be of a standing and maturity that they can win permanent positions in Universities or Institutes within their home countries or elsewhere in the world. To assist them in their career development, each JRF will have a Mentor and a personal development plan to develop their research management and leadership skills. JRFs will be able to take advantage of the award-winning University Research Training Programme and participate in the vibrant intellectual life of the Institutes, Centres and Departments. A further aim of the JRF Scheme is to build long-term transnational research links between Durham and the institutions from which the JRFs come or to which they will return, relationships that can lead to collaborative research programmes, new funding opportunities, joint dissemination activities or researcher exchange.

JRFs will have no teaching obligations, but may be offered the opportunity to develop their teaching skills if they so wish.

A member of the Durham academic staff will act as host and Mentor for each Fellow. Before applying, applicants must secure the agreement of a Durham academic to act as their host. The host will help them to refine their research proposal and ensure that the appropriate facilities for the conduct of the research project are available in the University. The host is required to complete a proforma that is a necessarypart of th e application documentation.

To be eligible, applicants must normally have completed a PhD at the time of application and may not have been resident in the UK for more than 12 months in total during the 36 months preceding the reference date for this call (1 July 2017). There are no nationality restrictions, but the award of a Fellow ship will be conditional on a visa and work permit being secured, if required, from the UK Border Agency.

Junior Research Fellows will be employed in the University on a non-renewable fixed-term contract. Junior Research Fellows will be issued with a full employment contract by Durham University; they will have full social security coverage, will be eligible to join the University Superannuation Scheme and will have access to the UK health services through National Insurance payments. They will have full access to the University library and IT resources, professional skills training, occupational health services, careers advice, specialist research facilities relevant to their project and a training allowance of up to € 7k p.a. to fund fieldwork and conference attendance , research consumables, publication costs, impact and outreach activities.

Each JRF may make a case to spend up to 25% of the Fellowship period at an institution outside of the UK where they have not previously worked or studied. This outgoing phase will establish new networks for the Fellows and cement or build new international collaborations for Durham University.

JRFs will be appointed at a point on the Grade 7 scale appropriate to their experience. Starting salaries will be in the range £31,656 – £35,609 p.a. Accommodation is not provided by the University for all JRFs, but from time to time there are a number of Resident Fellowships in Colleges for JRFs who wish to develop pastoral skills in addition to organisational and leadership skills. These Resident Fellows, selected by College Principals in response to applications from JRFs, act as personal tutors to undergraduates, organise activities for the post-graduate student body in their College and act as a point of contact to engage other post-doctoral researchers in the  University with the Colleges. In exchange, Resident Fellows enjoy discounted accommodation and free meals in the College. JRFs will be informed if and when Resident Fellowships become available.

Key Tasks

Junior Research Fellows will be expected to perform the following key tasks:

  • execute the research project detailed in their application for a Junior Research Fellowship (any changes in the objectives or methodology should be agreed in advance with the academic host);
  • plan and manage their own research activity and research resources, in collaboration with the academic host;
  • deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by using initiative and creativity;
  • present papers or talks on their research at conferences or workshops;
  • write up the results of the research project for publication in a form that is appropriate for internationally leading research in their academic field;
  • liaise with research colleagues and make internal and/or external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding and to form relationships for future research collaboration;
  • engage with scholars in Durham outside of their specialist field and explain the research project in terms that can be understood by non-specialists;
  • develop proposals for collaborative activity with the academic host or other researchers in Durham to enable continued collaboration after the end of the Fellowship.

The Durham International Junior Research Fellowships are supported by the European Union through the COFUND programme.

Eligibility Criteria

  • In line with the terms of funding set by Marie Curie, “researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account”. The reference date for this call is 1 July 2017.
  • Applicants from any discipline are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants will normally hold a doctorate and have significant post-doctoral research experience, or its equivalent in a commercial or industrial environment. Exceptional candidates without post-doctoral experience will also be considered.
  • Applicants are expected to propose a programme of original research that is distinct from the work carried out in their doctoral studies.
  • Applicants must submit a complete application as described in the Application Procedures

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be marked against the following criteria (weightings in brackets)

  • Criterion 1: Quality of scholarship and contribution of the candidate to his/her field, as appropriate to the career stage of the candidate (40%)
  • Criterion 2: Quality and ambition of the proposal for research activities at Durham (40%)
  • Criterion 3: Ability to communicate his/her research vision to experts and non-experts (10%)
  • Criterion 4: Ability to work with other researchers and to enrich the Durham academic community (10%)
Application date
2 Dec 2016
2 years
Europe United Kingdom
Humanities Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore Archaeology Architecture Art & Art History Classical Studies Digital Humanities History History & Philosophy of Science Linguistics Literature Media Studies Music & Musicology Philosophy Religion & Theology Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology Other Agronomy Biology Chemistry Computer science Engineering Mathematics Medicine Physics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 9 years
Program Type
Excellent Science Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions
Award granted
£ 31.656–35.609/year + research allowance