EPSRC synthetic biology postdoctoral fellowship

UK Research and Innovation

Rolling deadline
R&D and Higher Education

Apply for a fellowship focusing on the engineering challenges of delivering synthetic biology as a mature technology.

You must have either:

  • a PhD
  • at least four years’ experience in a relevant field by the start of your fellowship.

An eligible UK research organisation must host and support you during your fellowship.

Your fellowship can be up to three years long. This is prorated for part-time fellows, at a minimum of 50% FTE.

Your project can use one or a combination of:

-- discovery science

  • innovation
  • instrumentation and technique development
  • software engineering.

There is no limit on how much funding you can request. We cover 80% of your full economic costs. Your research organisation must fund the remaining 20%.

You could consider applying for a post-doctoral fellowship if you:

  • have recently started formulating your own research ideas for programmes of work up to three years in duration that will deliver high quality research with a focus on discovery science, innovation, instrumentation or technique development, or software engineering
  • can demonstrate that you have acquired the skills and expertise to successfully deliver your research proposal
  • have not previously held a significant grant (usually defined as those which included PDRA time, capital equipment or were in excess of £100,000 full economic costs)
  • have identified training and development needs to enable you to prepare for an enhanced career in research and innovation.

If you have already been in receipt of significant funding as defined above, or have been leading in an area of technical development, you may wish to apply for an open fellowship.

Research organisations may wish to show their commitment to applicants by providing additional support and resources. Read the host organisation statement for more detail.

You can apply for up to three years for a postdoctoral stage award. We will also allow fellowships over shorter periods. You can spend between 50% and 100% of your time on a fellowship.

If you want to work part-time, you can hold your EPSRC fellowship part-time as well, at a minimal level of 50%. In these circumstances, the duration of your fellowship can be extended pro rata.

We will fund 80% of the full economic costs of your project. You may request funding for:

  • equipment and other items needed to carry out the project
  • costs related to impact
  • travel and subsistence.

We will not fund costs for additional researchers on postdoctoral fellowships or individual items of equipment over £10,000 (including VAT). Read the equipment below £10,000 (including VAT) guidelines.

If you are a research organisation

We expect eligible research organisations to submit the most suitable candidates for these fellowships and identify the additional support and resources they will provide the applicant with if successful.

If you are a research organisation, you must:

  • make sure that aims and aspirations of the applicant are suitable for a fellowship application
  • support the applicant to ensure they have:
  • identified areas they need to improve on and how they intend to gain experience to meet these needs
  • considered their knowledge of ethical, responsible and inclusive research culture and thought about how they could further this knowledge
  • considered if they need a mentor, and what aspects of their development their mentor will help with.
  • identify the additional support you will provide to ensure successful project delivery and provide enhanced career development opportunities.

Find details of current fellows We invest in people with leadership potential at all career stages, helping them to lead excellent research projects.

Read more about our current fellows to learn about those inspiring scientists and engineers and find out how taking part in a fellowship has influenced their careers.

To find examples of projects we have funded, search for ‘fellowship’ in our online portfolio.


The things you must do before you start your application for a fellowship:

  • check that your theme is open for post-doctoral fellowships applications and, if you are not sure, contact the relevant portfolio manager or theme fellowship coordinator
  • read the fellowship application guide (PDF, 280KB).

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

We are always open for applications for fellowships.

When applying, select ‘New document’, then:

  • council: EPSRC

  • document type: fellowship proposal

  • scheme: EPSRC fellowship

  • call, type or mode: EPSRC post-doctoral fellowship . Consider which options apply to your application from the list below and copy and paste into the keywords box:

  • discovery science

  • innovation

  • technical skills.

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • case for support (nine pages, seven on the scientific case and two on the non-technical aspects (to cover the non-scientific elements of the assessment criteria) of your application
  • work plan (one page)
  • host organisation statement (two pages)
  • justification of resources (two pages)
  • narrative CV and track record (four pages) for the fellowship candidate only (see template)
  • project partner letters of support from all project partners included in the Je-S form (no page limit), noting that:
  • additional letters of support are not permitted on fellowship applications
  • where applicants are collaborating with other departments at the host organisation this should be included in the host organisation statement.
  • technical assessments for facilities listed as needing one in the Je-S guidance (no page limit)
  • cover letter (no page limit and this will not be seen by peer reviewers).

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors and use single-spaced 11 Arial or similar sans serif typeface.

We recommend you start your application in good time. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

When you submit the application, it will first go to your host organisation for review.

See the Je-S handbook (Je-S website) for full advice on completing applications.

You can find more details about the application process in our:

  • fellowship application guide (PDF, 280KB)
  • fellowship frequently asked questions (PDF, 115KB).

We will fund 80% of the full economic costs of your project. You may request funding for your salary, equipment and other items required to carry out the project, costs related to impact, and travel and subsistence.

See our guidance on completing your application.

Learn more or apply
All information about this funding has been collected from and belongs to the funding organization
20 April 2023