RAS Research and Norman Lockyer Fellowships

The RAS funds several schemes for promising young scientists to be employed as Research Fellows at UK universities. This page holds details for the RAS Research Fellowships and Norman Lockyer Fellowship, which are similar in many respects. 

The purpose of the RAS Research Fellowships is to enable outstanding candidates to pursue research in the UK in the disciplines advanced by the RAS i.e. astronomy, solar system science, geophysics and closely related branches of these sciences.  

The Norman Lockyer Fellowship is awarded to enable an outstanding researcher to devote the majority of their time to research on an astronomical topic, including solar system and planetary science. They are named after Sir Norman Lockyer (1836-1920), pioneering solar astronomer and discoverer of helium.

Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowships and the Norman Lockyer Fellowship will each be available every three years. Applications for RAS Fellowships will be sought in the years 2021, 2024 and 2027 and for the Norman Lockyer Fellowship in 2022, 2025 and 2028 (for fellowships starting in the following year). 


The application form can be accessed here, and should include a CV, list of publications, research proposal, and a signature from the host institution - details are given on the form. You will also be asked for the contact details of two referees, who will receive an email from us once you've submitted the application form. The deadline for 2024 applications TBC.

Conditions for both Fellowships

Applicants may be of any nationality, however, employment will be through the host institution. The applicant is therefore asked to indicate their UK residency status so it can be confirmed that they will be able to work at the institution concerned. 

The fellowships are awarded for a period of up to three years beginning on 1 October in the year of the award (or within 6 months thereafter).

The award is in the form of a grant to the institution at which the fellow is based. The RAS will fund only directly incurred costs, and not overheads (including bench fees or 'full economic costs'). Applications must be certified by an authorised person at the host institution, confirming acceptance of this condition.

An additional £2,000 per annum may be claimed for costs incurred in attending meetings and conferences or for other items related to the research. The RAS will also meet the cost of Employers National Insurance contributions and make an additional payment, where appropriate, to a Fellow's personal pension plan.

Applicants must either:
  • Hold a recognized PhD degree or equivalent obtained after 1 October five years before the start of the fellowship (e.g. 1 October 2018 if applying in 2022 for a fellowship beginning in 2023), or
  • have taken the PhD viva voce examination by the application deadline and expect to be awarded the PhD degree before the Fellowship start date.

Exceptions to these limits may be made only in cases of e.g. maternity leave, career breaks, serious illness etc. 

Only one RAS Research Fellowship may be held in the same Institution (host insitutions can include universities as listed by UCAS and other not for profit research active institutions) at any one time. See below for details of current RAS Research Fellows. 

The RAS pays fellowship salaries on the UCU single pay spine from points 30 to 36 inclusive. In addition to the salary we will accept claims for National Insurance at normal rates and the employer pension contribution at the USS rate. If the host university, as employer, wishes to pay at spine points above 36, that extra expenditure must be found from their own funds. 

Rules for the format of the application:

  • 3 page A4, 11pt font & 2cm margin format (any font is fine as long as it is readable). It is the candidates’ responsibility to ensure that the format of the document reflects well on them.
  • The 3 page A4 word limit should ideally include references and figure captions, but this will not be strictly enforced.