The ESRC have issued their own FAQs document, which is available here.

We have developed further FAQs, which are not addressed in that document. Please click on the question headings that you are interested in to see the answers.



What is "active post-doctoral experience"?

The ESRC describes active postdoctoral experience as any research post that is undertaken since passing the viva. You must have no more than 12 months experience in a research post at the time of the closing date of the competition - 22 March 2019.

Are there any residential eligibility criteria for this competition?

No. Applications are encouraged from home, EU and international applicants.

Does it matter where I obtained my PhD?

Yes. You must have completed your PhD at a research organisation that is part of a Doctoral Training Partnership or Centre for Doctoral Training. A list of these eligible organisations can be found here:




How much funding can I apply for?

There is no maximum limit on the overall amount applied for, but there is a £10,000 limit on costs (excluding the fellow’s salary, as well as associated indirect and estate costs). In addition, 10% of the total amount applied for must be set aside for impact costs. Please bear in mind that the ESRC will only pay 80% of the full economic costing of the fellowship, and the host institution is expected to pay the remaining 20%.

Can I include in my costings funds to employ a laboratory technician to assist with my research?

The ESRC have agreed that, if this support is considered essential and will come within the £10k allowed for "other costs", you can include them in your application. However, the ESRC have made it very clear they would expect this to be on an ad-hoc basis, as the only staff permitted on this grant is the fellow.


How many mentors must I have, and where should they be based?

The ESRC requires fellows to have a mentor based at the research organisation where the fellowship is held (page 3 of the specification). The specification also says that, “a secondary mentor is permitted”. However, please note that SeNSS requires its fellows to have two mentors during their fellowship: one based at the fellow’s home institution, and one at another SeNSS institution. SeNSS has taken this position, which is endorsed by the ESRC, because we believe that having a second mentor from a different SeNSS university will strengthen the fellow’s research, expose the fellow to different institutional practices and increase the fellow’s access to professional academic and non-academic networks.

Whilst it is ideal for applicants to name two mentors in their applications, it is not essential in order to be considered for a fellowship. However, fellows are expected to have confirmed their second mentor by the time they take up their awards.

Can I claim costs for both my mentors?

Yes, you can. You would need to set out these costs under the "other costs" heading (in the justification of costs attachment), and the total funding sought under this heading must come within the £10,000 limit.


How do I create a FluidReview account?

  • Once you have been given the FluidReview website address, and the access code, you will need to create a FluidReview account. To do this, click on the “sign up” button on the bottom right of the webpage.
  • You will then be asked to complete a form to create your FluidReview account.
  • Once you have submitted this form, a link will be sent to the email address you have provided. Please click on this link to activate your account.

How do I create my FluidReview application form?

  • Once you've activated your account, and have signed in to your account, you will land on the "Your Tasks" page.
  • Plase complete the SeNSS personal information form at the top of this page.
  • Once you’ve completed and submitted this form, click on the green “View Awards” button, on the bottom left of the screen.
  • On the next screen, select the Post-Doctoral Fellowship award, by clicking on “Apply Now”.
  • On your “Post-Doctoral Fellowship” home page, you will see a list of tasks to be completed. Please complete the forms, upload the required documents, and provide the details of your proposed mentor, referee and Head of Department.
  • Please note that, once you have submitted your full application (by clicking on the green “submit your application” button at the end of the page), you will not be able to make any further changes to it.

A number of sections in the application form have character limits. Does this include or exclude spaces?

The character limits include spaces. The ESRC has set these limits as they matches the limits on the Je-S system (the ESRC's online grant management system) which successful applicants will need to use to complete their final grant application.

An easy way to work out how many characters, including spaces, you have used for various sections of your application, is to draft your text using Word. Under the "Review" tab, in the top left of the sreen, you will see a "word count" icon. If you click on that, it will tell you how many characters you have used, including with spaces.


What are current PDFs doing?

If you would like to know what our first cohort of six PDFs are researching, where, and with whom, please click here.


One of our current PDFs has kindly agreed to allow parts of her application to be shared as an example of excellence. To read it, please click here.