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Postdoctoral Research Opportunities

Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Research Positions

The Department of Earth Sciences is keen to support early career researchers who wish to apply for research fellowships that will help them to establish themselves as independent researchers.

Find out about the postdoctoral research positions currently being advertised by this Department (along with other vacancies) on the University Job Opportunities page. Otherwise, explore the postdoctoral research fellowship opportunities below and get in contact with relevant members of our academic staff to discuss research with us.


Cambridge College Junior Research Fellowships

Several Colleges in Cambridge offer Junior Research Fellowships, which are salaried three-year fellowships suitable for postdoctoral researchers and scholars at an early stage of their academic career. Deadlines for JRFs are usually in the first academic term (Michaelmas) and are advertised, usually in the period August–September, on College websites and in the Cambridge University Reporterthe University’s official journal.

Application processes vary by College, though application materials would typically include a CV, a research statement, and one or two letters of support. See the individual scheme advert for precise details.


National Fellowship Schemes

If you are interested in applying for an independent postdoctoral research fellowship to work in the Department you should first discuss it with one of our academic staff working in the relevant research area. A member of academic staff must agree to support your application before it can be approved for submission to a sponsor. All grant applications must be completely ready for submission to the sponsor no later than five working days before the sponsor's published deadline—to allow sufficient time for the application to be formally approved by the Department and University central administration before submission to the sponsor.

We regularly host postdoctoral fellows through the following schemes:

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships/Grants

For researchers who are at an early stage of their research career. To take up this fellowship in the UK you must not have resided or carried out your main work/studies, etc., in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the application deadline. Fellowships last for up to two years, deadline is usually mid-September.

Royal Society Newton International Fellowships

For non-UK scientists who are at an early stage of their research career and wish to conduct research in the UK. Deadline is usually in March.

Commonwealth Rutherford Fellowships

For researchers from other Commonwealth countries to spend one or two years at an eligible UK university or higher education institution conducting postdoctoral research. Deadline is usually in December.

1851 Fellowships

Intended to give early career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise an opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation. Three-year fellowships open to all nationalities for people less than three years out of their PhD. Deadline is usually in February.

Leverhulme Fellowships

Three-year Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but with a proven record of research. The Leverhulme funds 50% of the fellowship, the other funds should be sought with an application to the Isaac Newton Trust—this application must be with the Department by early January. Deadlines are in mid-January (for INT match fund) and early March (to Leverhulme).

NERC Independent Research Fellowships

The NERC Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) Scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists, by giving all fellows five years of support, which will allow them sufficient time to develop their research programmes and to gain international recognition. Deadline is usually early October.

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

This scheme is for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances, such as parenting or caring responsibilities, or health issues. Female candidates are particularly invited to apply. Applicants must normally have no more than six years of research experience after PhD completion. Deadline is usually in November.

Royal Society University Research Fellowships

This scheme is for outstanding scientists 3–8 years post-PhD who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field. Funding is for five years with a possibility to extend to eight. Deadline is usually early September.

Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellowship—Geophysics and Biophysics

Two or three year fellowship in the fields of Geophysics and Biophysics to be held in Cambridge. For people with no more than 3 years since PhD excluding Cambridge and Harvard postgraduates. Deadline usually end of December every other year.

Oppenheimer Research Fellowship

Three year fellowship to be held at Cambridge University in Colloid Science as broadly interpreted within the fields of biology, surface chemistry, materials science and nanotechnology. For people with no more than three years since their PhD. Deadline is usually early January. For more details, please contact our .

L’Oréal UK and Ireland fellowships for women in science

Open to women of any country, but must be residing in the UK or Ireland at the time of application. Applicants must have no more than ten years of active full-time equivalent postdoctoral experience. Award around £15k. Deadline is usually in January.


More information on postdoctoral research funding is available from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

For more information on applying for research fellowships in Earth Sciences, please contact our .