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 RAS has funded at least one RAS Research Fellowship each year since 2010. 

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.

The RAS Research Fellowships are offered every year funding is available, and the Norman Lockyer Fellowship is available every three years, with applications sought in the years 2019, 2022, 2025 etc. for fellowships starting in the following year. A call for applications is issued each time a vacancy arises, including the deadline for receipt of online applications.

Applications for both Fellowships

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 independent referees, who will receive an email from us once you've submitted the application form. The application deadline is (23:59 (BST), 18 October 2019. Referees are asked to submit their references by 26 October 2019. 

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 2015 if applying in 2019 for a fellowship beginning in 2020), 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. Please enquire before applying.

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 18% of the salary. 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.
Current and Past RAS Research Fellows:


Name Institution Research Dates
Dr Thomas Collett University of Portsmouth Fundamental Physics with gravitational lensing March 2020 - Feb 2023
Dr Amy Gilligan University of Aberdeen When subduction stops: understanding tectonic process in post-subduction settings October 2018 - September 2021
Dr Matt Nicholl University of Edinburgh Superluminous supernovae: a comprehensive observational & theoretical study of nature's brightest fireworks October 2018 - September 2021
Dr Elisa Chisari University of Oxford Accurate Astrophysics for the Next Era of Cosmology October 2017 - September 2020
Dr Joanna Eberhardt (nee Barstow) UCL Nature vs Nurture: the effect of stellar irradiation on atmospheric evolution October 2016 - September 2019
Dr Peter Wyper Durham University Explaining the Onset of Explosive Magnetic Reconnection in the in the Solar Corona & its Links to the Generation of Solar Energetic Particles October 2016 - September 2019
Dr Emma Chapman Imperial College London Detecting and constraining the Epoch of Reionisation using foreground removal and state-of-the-art simulations October 2015 - December 2018
Dr Ben Rozitis Open University Probing solar system processes using extreme asteroids March 2016 - February 2019
Dr David J E Marsh Kings College London Precision cosmology of axions and moduli October 2015 - December 2017
Dr Richard Parker Liverpool John Moores University The Origin of the Galactic Field March 2014 - March 2017
Dr John Armitage Royal Holloway, University of London Deciphering the sedimentary record: tectonic vs climate change September 2013 - August 2016
Dr Sarah Badman University of Leicester / Lancaster University The Goldilocks hypothesis of planetary magnetospheres: discovering a balance between internally- and externally-driven dynamics at Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn March 2013 - February 2016
Dr Nick Wright University of Hertfordshire The Dynamics of Young Star Clusters October 2012 - September 2015
Dr Baojiu Li University of Durham Cosmology, Dark Energy Theories (Theoretical, Phenomenolgical, Numerical & Statistical Studies) February 2012 - January 2015
Dr Aline de Almeida Vidotto University of St Andrews Interaction between Exoplanets and the Winds of their Host Stars (Numerical Modelling & Magnetic Shield) October 2011 - September 2014
Dr Caitriona Jackman University College London / University of Southampton Energy Release from Magnetospheres January 2013 - December 2013
Dr Benjamin Davies University of Cambridge / Liverpool John Moores Mapping the Star-Forming History of Galaxies November 2010 - October 2013
Dr Thomas Kitching University of Edinburgh High Precision Dark Universe Cosmology with 3D Gravitational Lensing


January 2011 -September 2011


Current and Past Norman Lockyer Fellows


Name Institution Research Dates
Dr Vinesh Maguire Rajpaul University of Cambridge Transforming the search for Earth-like planets with advanced modelling tools October 2017 - September 2020
Dr Rowan Smith University of Manchester Uniting theory and observations of star-formation September 2014 - September 2017
Dr Adam Christopherson University of Nottingham Constraining the Universe using Non-Linear Cosmological Perturbation Theory October 2011 - September 2014
Dr Mark Swinbank Durham University Spatially Resolved Studies of Young Galaxies October 2008 – September 2011
Dr Roberto Trotta University of Oxford Precision cosmology and astrophysics with CMB and other data sets April 2005 – March 2008
Dr Jane Greaves Royal Observatory Edinburgh Searching for the signatures of extrasolar planets October 2001 – September 2004
Dr Clare Parnell University of St Andrews How does the Solar Magnetic Carpet Heat the Corona? October 1998 – September 2001
Dr Alastair Rucklidge DAMTP, University of Cambridge Convection in Sunspots October 1995 – September 1998
Dr Iossif Lapidus (deceased) IoA, University of Cambridge n/a December 1992 - December 1995