Rutherford International Fellowship Program

The Rutherford International Fellowship is a post-doctoral fellowship program that brings together top-tier researchers to avail of its facilities. It is part-funded by the European Commission, through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND scheme. It was established in 2015 and has assisted and encouraged researchers to build their careers. Along with providing a high-class research environment, The program also offers researchers training opportunities via workshops, conferences, and learning activities. Let’s check out the details and highlights of this program to avail of its benefits.

Type Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Offered By European Commission 
No. of Fellowships Awarded 36
Eligibility PhD or 4 years equivalent Research Experience
Purpose Work at the various departments in the Science and Technology Faculties Council 
Selection Academic Merit, Proposed Research and Interview
Scholarships in Europe

Rutherford International Fellowship Program Quick Figures

  • There have been 35+ people employed through the RIFP.
  • People from over 17 countries globally have benefitted from this program.
  • 60+ talks given by RIFP researchers in seminars and conferences since 2015.
  • There have been 61 journal articles published by RIFP researchers till now.
  • 150+ training programs have been conducted. 
  • Over 70 articles are under preparation by RIFP researchers.

Also Read: ISA Youth Scholarship Program

Research Areas

The RIFP covers research programs in diverse areas and attracts global talents from all fields. Researchers are allowed to enroll in their desired projects by consulting the host department. The following are the departments that are covered by RIFP:

  • Agricultural sciences
  • Astronomy
  • Biological sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Engineering
  • Environmental science
  • Geosciences
  • Information science
  • Mathematics
  • Medical sciences
  • Physics

Eligibility Criteria for Rutherford International Fellowship Program

Applicants must make sure that they meet the eligibility guidelines before applying for the Rutherford International Fellowship Program. These criteria are set out within the COFUND scheme by the European Commission designed to encourage participation from all countries. 

  • The applicant must have a doctoral degree or at least 4 years of full-time research experience.
  • The applicant must not have stayed, worked, or studied in the UK for more than 12 months in the past 3 years.
  • For researchers returning from a career break, they must not have resided, worked, or studied in the UK for more than 36 months in the 5 years. The applicant must also not have been immediately active in research for at least 12 months to qualify as returning from a career break.  
  • The applicants must not be permanent employees of STFC or Diamond.

Related Read: Naropa Fellowship 2021

How to Apply for the Rutherford International Fellowship Program

Applications for RIFP take place via email. The following is a step-wise guide to apply for the RIFP Fellowship Program:

  • Step:1 Creating a Project – All applicants are required to create a 3-page Project describing the proposed research that can be carried out in the research facilities at the STFC departments or Diamond. Applicants are also required to discuss their project idea with a faculty member at the aforementioned departments beforehand. The applicants must present a signed statement stating that the faculty member is willing to supervise the research project. It is also important for the candidate to contact the appropriate department and check the research areas and the location available under the program. 
  • Step:2 CV and Publications – The next step in the application process is the submission of the applicant’s CV and list of Publications. Applicants must curate a CV detailing their education, previous employment and other relevant experience. This should be no more than two sides in length. Also, it must contain the names and affiliations of two referees. In addition, applicants should submit a list of academic publications (most recent first).
  • Step:3 Compiling the Documents Required – Once you have the Project Summary ready and acknowledgement from the supervisor, it’s time to put together all the documents required and complete the online application via email. Please note that each document must be sent in a prescribed template and with a particular file name, failing which, the applications will be rejected. 

Points to Remember

  • The project should be scientifically novel and excellent. It must create an impact within its field.
  • It should be relevant to the department where you wish to carry out the work.
  • You must mention any industrial or commercial collaboration involved.
  • You should also mention any use of STFC or Diamond facilities or work outside the host department. 
  • You should convey ways in which your current experience will enable and help you to perform the proposed project.
  • You should include statements on how you plan to propose and transfer your project ideas to non-technical audiences.

Documents Required for Rutherford International Fellowship Program

All applicants must submit the following documents as part of their application to be considered eligible for the Fellowship program:

  • Research Project Summary: A complete description of your proposed project and should not exceed three sides in length. It should also include a list of expected milestones or key events within your project and a short project plan.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV): Your CV should contain your education, previous work experience, and relevant experience which should be less than two sides in length. Along with that, you should provide the names and affiliations of two referees within your CV.
  • Publication List:  You should also submit a list of your most recent academic publications.
  • Supervisor Statement: The applicant must also submit the supervisor statement form stating their willingness for the proposed research.
  • Ethical Issues Form: This is an essential addition to the application. RIFP requires applicants to focus on ethical scrutiny while conducting their projects. This includes an exclusive focus on civil applications. The projects that aim at human cloning for reproductive purposes, modification of the genetic heritage of human beings which makes such changes heritable, or those intended to create human embryos solely for the purpose of research, will not be supported. Applicants must identify these ethical issues and state them in the form available on the website.

Note – The application will be acknowledged within 3 working days and the selected candidates will be contacted for the further interview round and final selection. 

Selection Process

RIFP applications are evaluated through a rigorous four-stage process, which is as follows:

  • Stage-1 Eligibility Check

Applications are first assessed to check whether the applicant meets the required eligibility criteria set by the European Commission. At this stage, the applications will also be cross-checked for ethical discrepancies. 

  • Stage-2 Referee Review

The applications which meet the eligibility criteria will then be sent to two external independent referees for review. At least one of these reviewers will be from outside the UK. Both the referees will analyze the potential of the research project and submit a report for the same. 

  • Stage-3 Interview

Applicants whose projects qualify the Referee Review stage will be invited for an Interview with a panel of academics and researchers. The interview will consist of a brief presentation by the applicant, followed by a Q/A session. 

  • Stage-4 Final Selection

The final selection of the RIFP fellows will be made after the interview of all applicants by the management committee. This selection will be based on the evaluation results of the external reviewers and the interview panel.

Other Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programs

Governments and private organizations around the world encourage meritorious researchers to undertake advanced research in the fields of science, technology, business and more by offering fellowships and grants. These fellowships are aimed to offer financial assistance to researchers and cover costs such as travel to conferences and seminars, research costs, publications and a personal stipend. The following are some Postdoctoral Fellowships available across the world: 

  1. SERB-NPDF: National Post Doctoral Fellowship
  2. SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship
  3. Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  4. Max Weber Programme for Postdoctoral Studies
  5. Human Frontier Science Program 
  6. Newton International Fellowship
  7. Sofja Kovalevskaja Award
  8. University of Edinburgh IASH Postdoctoral Fellowships
  9. Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships to Study in Canada
  10. Shastri Indo-Canadian Fellowships
  11. Humboldt Fellowship
  12. Kothari Fellowship

Know more about these Post-Doctoral Fellowships here

Hope this blog helped you understand the details of the excellent Rutherford International Fellowship Program. If you have a zeal for research and innovation, RIFP is a much-advised scheme that will benefit you. If you are looking to apply for any such program and don’t know how to go about it, consult the experts at Leverage Edu, and get assistance throughout the application process.