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. There is also a separate RAS-Daphne Jackson Fellowship scheme.

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. Applications are due each autumn for positions starting in the following year.

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), 19 October 2018. Referees are asked to submit their references by 26 October 2018. 

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:
Dr Amy GilliganUniversity of AberdeenWhen subduction stops: understanding tectonic process in post-subduction settingsOctober 2018 - September 2021
Dr Matt NichollUniversity of EdinburghSuperluminous supernovae: a comprehensive observational & theoretical study of nature's brightest fireworksOctober 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)


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 moduliOctober 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

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


December 1992 - December 1995