British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships

Aim of the award

The aim of the British Academy in making these awards is to offer opportunities for outstanding early career researchers to strengthen their experience of research and teaching in a university environment which will develop their curriculum vitae and improve their prospects of obtaining permanent lecturing posts by the end of the Fellowship. The primary emphasis is on completion of a significant piece of publishable research, which will be assisted by full membership of an academic community of established scholars working in similar fields.

Eligibility requirements

NOTE: These are assumptions based on eligibility of the 20/21 competition and may be subject to change, though we do not anticipate any major amendments.

  1. Applicants must be supported by the UK host institution in which they wish to hold the Fellowship.
  2. Applicants must be within three years of the award of a doctorate (for the 2021/22 competition this would likely mean either already having been awarded a doctoral degree following a viva voce examination held on or after 1 April 2019; or having a reasonable expectation that they will have submitted and had their thesis examined by 1 April 2022).
  3. Applicants in the 2021/22 competition awarded a PhD following a viva voce examination held prior to 1 April 2019 who are unable to offer extenuating circumstances, such as interruption to their academic career for maternity leave or illness, will not be considered.
  4. Applicants must be a UK or EEA national, or have completed a doctorate at a UK university. Any applicant who does not fall into one of these categories must demonstrate a strong prior association with the UK academic community, for example through already having been employed in a temporary capacity (longer than twelve months) at a UK university.
  5. NOTE: If you have been unsuccessful in the previous round you will require an invitation from the British Academy to submit an application to the scheme in future years.

Number of Awards: 45 awards are expected to be offered.

Level of grant and tenure

Awards are for three years.

Timetable applying for this scheme in 2021-2022

University of Bristol operates an internal process for all applicants wishing to undertake their fellowship within the Faculty of Arts. Those selected for submission will be given the support of the Research and Enterprise Division (RED) to develop the proposal for the British Academy.

The process for the Faculty of Arts is as follows

  1. Applicant requests a two-page outline template from Research Development – email Lindsay Coleman (
  2. Applicant approaches a potential mentor at Bristol with an outline of a proposal on the RED outline template and a combined two-page CV and publication list.
  3. The Mentor makes a decision to support based on:
    • if the project will be competitive, given a maximum likely success rate of 8%;
    • if the applicant has, or will have publications at the point of external submission. Our feedback suggests that candidates need at least one article published or in press (and the best have at least three publications);
    • their capacity to lend a strong level of support in developing the application (experience suggests that most successful applications have been developed with close support of the Mentor).
  4. The Mentor contacts the School Research Director (SRD) (copying in the Head of Department) to request final authorisation. NOTE: while there is no institutional quota, SRDs will only authorise applications that they consider to be competitive.
  5. In order for the Faculty and for Research Development to provide full support for the external bid, outlines should be submitted to SRDs on or before 4pm on Monday 28 June. Applications will be considered after that point, but it may not be possible to guarantee the full level of support offered by Bristol.
  6. In previous years, applicants have been invited to attend a training day in Bristol, scheduled this year as 10am-12.30pm on Wednesday 7 July. This will be held virtually. Attendance at this day/session is not compulsory – all will receive support of the Faculty going forward to the external deadline, expected to be at the end of October.

For more information, please click here.

School Directors of Research

School of Humanities: Josie McLellan (
School of Modern Languages: John Foot (
School of Arts: Havi Carel (

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