Managing your fellowship

Introduction

This section contains information on making changes to your Fellowship while it is running, such as pausing, moving or extending your Fellowship. It also lays out the expected role of the host research organisation and outlines some flexible features of EPSRC fellowships.

Role of the Research Organisation

The fellow must be employed by the research organisation for the full announced period of the fellowship. The organisation must accept all the normal responsibilities of an employer, and ensure that adequate facilities are made available for the research proposed.

Moving Research Organisations

As a fellow you may wish to move to a different Eligible Host Organisation in the UK during your fellowship. Any proposal to transfer the fellowship to a different organisation should be discussed with the existing and proposed UK Host Organisation and EPSRC; please talk to your theme contact.

EPSRC will need written agreement from both organisations before agreeing to the transfer. Transfer requests should be raised through Je-S using the Grant Maintenance option. Please contact EPSRC for further details.

For a transfer, EPSRC’s expectation is that:

  • More than six months are left on the fellowship and;
  • The new host institution agrees to all of the original conditions of the fellowship, including support originally offered to the fellow.

The new host institution must submit a statement from the head of department confirming they are happy with the transfer and will support the fellow as mentioned above (via Je-S).

The fellowship will be transferred at the original value; re-costing will not be allowed.

Interrupting your Fellowship

  • Postdoctoral Fellows: you may be allowed to interrupt their award not more than once during the period of the fellowship to spend more time on activities unsupported by EPSRC, but directly related to your fellowship (for example, working overseas at another research organisation). Such periods of abeyance must not exceed one year in total. The agreement of EPSRC must be sought in advance. Agreement will not be given for a break during the first or final year of the award. Where periods of abeyance are agreed the award will be extended by a period of time equal to the length of the break.
  • Early and Established career (not including Senior Research Fellowships): You may interrupt your award no more than twice during the period of your fellowship to spend more time on activities unsupported by EPSRC, but directly related to your fellowship (for example working overseas at another research organisation). Such periods of abeyance must not exceed two years in total. The agreement of EPSRC must be sought in advance. Agreement will not be given for a break during the first or final year of the award. Where periods of abeyance are agreed the award will be extended by a period of time equal to the length of the break.

Process to apply for a period of abeyance

Please note that the approval of an abeyance request results in the fellowship grant being suspended and payments will not be made during the period of abeyance. Please consider the impact of the requested abeyance on any staff that may be employed as part of the fellowship.

Applications for a Break in Service must be made through the Grant Maintenance facility in the Joint electronic Submission system (Je-S). The application must be accompanied by a two page Case for Support, a letter from your current Head of Department and a letter from the organisation(s) hosting you during your abeyance. We must receive applications at least three months before the proposed break is due to start. We will send all applications to two of the reviewers used in the original assessment of the fellowship for comment.

At the end of the period of abeyance, the home research organisation must advise the EPSRC that the Fellow has returned to work via the Grant Maintenance facility in Je-S so that the fellowship can be re-activated and the necessary extension to the duration of the fellowship will be given.

Extensions

After a grant has started, the duration may be extended at no additional cost by an overall total of up to 12 months, subject to prior written approval. Extensions will be allowed where they are necessary to enable work to be completed following delays due to:

  • breaks or delays in the appointment of staff;
  • maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental (see section below) or paid sick leave;
  • extended jury service; or
  • changes from full-time to part-time working.

In the case of other, exceptional, circumstances, the duration may be extended, at the discretion of the Research Council.

Extensions will be limited to the additional time needed to complete the research. Any request for an extension should therefore state the reasons for the delay and explain how the extra time requested will enable the remaining work to be completed.

Requests for extensions should be made via the Grant Maintenance facility in Je-S once the required duration is known and before the grant ends.  In cases where working patterns have changed i.e. from full-time to part-time the fellowship may be extended at no extra cost and pro rata, in some cases this may mean extending the fellowship by more than 12 months.  This option can be used whenever working patterns change and it is expected that EPSRC is contacted about this before requests are submitted via Je-S, especially if the extension is for longer than 12 months.

To amend the duration of your fellowship due to a change in working hours it is recommended that you first contact either the Portfolio Manager (PM) who processed your grant or to email researchcareers@epsrc.ukri.org to discuss this.  Either you or your research office should submit the request for extension in Je-S via Grant Maintenance (keeping in mind that the maximum duration of a fellowship is 10 years and should be held at a minimum of 50% FTE, any less will be considered on a case-by-case basis).  It is helpful to provide confirmation from your host organisation of your change in work hours. EPSRC can then approve the change in duration of the fellowship and the grant will be extended by the relevant bodies (at no additional cost) and the payments will be re-profiled according to the change in duration.

Applying for other EPSRC funding

While holding a fellowship, you may apply for standard research grants and computing time, providing you meet any other eligibility requirements for those schemes. You must ensure that your fellowship continues beyond the end date of any subsequent grants applied for, unless you are employed in a permanent academic post during your fellowship.

For the impact of applying for fellows on New Investigator Award eligibility please see the New Investigator Award eligibility guidance.

Family-friendly features

Fellowships can be held part time if required, at a minimum level of 50% full time equivalent (FTE). If you are employed part-time you can ask to hold your Fellowship part-time when applying. Alternatively, you can convert to a part-time award during the course of the Fellowship, pro-rata.

You are entitled to take maternity, paternity or adoptive leave in accordance with your host organisation's terms and conditions and we will extend the duration of your fellowship to take account of the leave taken. Your additional salary costs (pro-rata to the % FTE on the fellowship) will be reimbursed by EPSRC.

The research organisation will be compensated at the end of the grant to cover any additional net costs that cannot be met within the cash limit. This includes paid maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave for staff within the Directly Incurred and Exceptions fund headings (excluding the principal or co-investigators, unless they are also research fellows or research assistants funded by the grant) if they fulfil the relevant qualifying conditions of the employing Research Organisation. The net cost is the amount paid to the individual less the amount the Research Organisation can recover for Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay from HMRC.

Maternity, paternity, adoption and parental pay is payable by the Research Council only for directly incurred staff that are funded for 100% of their contracted time on the grant (apart from staff acting as principal or co-investigators unless they are also research fellows or research assistants funded by the grant).

The total duration of the fellowship, including any periods of part-time working, maternity, paternity or adoptive leave or periods of ill health will not be allowed to exceed 10 years from the date advised by the Research Organisation as the first day of the fellowship.

For more information on maternity, paternity or adoptive leave please see the UK Research and Innovation maternity briefing (PDF).