Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: National Fellowships in Fluid Dynamics (NFFDy)

Apply for a postdoctoral fellowship of up to three years in any science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) area related to fluid dynamics.

You must:

  • have completed, or be close to completing, a PhD in a related field
  • be able to undertake the fellowship at an eligible research organisation.

You will also need to:

  • have an idea for a programme of work that will deliver research with a focus on fluid dynamics
  • collaborate with the existing UK fluids community as part of your work.

Funding will be at 80% of the full economic cost, which may cover the fellowship salary, research consumables and travel costs.

Who can apply

Standard EPSRC eligibility rules apply. Research grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-approved independent research organisations
  • public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity.

Check if your institution is eligible to apply for funding.

Individual eligibility

You can apply if you either:

  • have a PhD
  • expect to have submitted your thesis by December 2022.

We encourage applicants who have taken a non-standard career path after their first degree. We also welcome applications from candidates who want to move back into research after a career break, or any other type of break from active research. There are no restrictions on nationality.

You will need to be hosted by an eligible UK research organisation during your fellowship. A host organisation statement will be required for the ‘full proposal’ stage.

This funding is intended for postdoctoral-stage researchers.

You are not eligible to apply if you:

  • already hold a permanent full time academic position
  • have previously held a significant grant, usually defined as those which included postdoctoral research award time, capital equipment or were in excess of £100,000 full economic costs.

If you have already been in receipt of significant funding as defined above, or have been leading in an area of technical development, you may wish to apply for an EPSRC open fellowship.

We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI or any other funder.

Submissions to this funding opportunity will not count towards the EPSRC repeatedly unsuccessful applicants policy.

For more information about postdoctoral fellowships, read our postdoctoral and open fellowships guide.

Host organisation support

Research organisations may wish to show their commitment to applicants by providing additional support and resources. Read the host organisation statement for more details.

What we're looking for

NFFDy aim to support a cohort of postdoctoral fellows for up to three years.

A key objective of this scheme is to connect the NFFDy fellows with the UK fluids community as they write their proposals so that the fellows will be supported by the community and will align their research to areas of significant long term interest to the UK. The NFFDy Hub has been funded by EPSRC and set up for this.

Visit the NFFDy Hub.

Other objectives are to provide fellows with resources, mentoring and training to help them pursue their research vision: to encourage the fellows to advocate more broadly for fluid dynamics, and to horizon scan for new research ideas.

This fellowship is a personal award for future leaders with current expertise in engineering, physical, environmental or biological sciences, with an emphasis on fluid dynamics or data science.

It’s designed to provide you with the necessary support to gain skills and expertise to propagate and apply techniques from data-driven fluids to myriad applications globally.

As a fellow, you would be provided with a salary and significant resources to pursue your career and make the leap from postdoctoral to principal investigator level.

About you

You could consider applying for a postdoctoral fellowship if you:

  • have recently started formulating your own research ideas for programmes of work up to three years in duration that will deliver high quality research with a focus on fluid dynamics
  • can demonstrate that you have acquired the skills and expertise to deliver your research proposal successfully
  • have identified training and development needs to enable you to prepare for an enhanced career in research and innovation.

Requirements

Your research can be curiosity-driven or industrially-motivated, or a combination of both.

In your proposal you will need to:

  • demonstrate that you have a research idea related to fluid dynamics
  • show how you will collaborate with the existing UK fluids community, whether academic or industrial (for example, through the existing special interest groups of the UK Fluids Network or the creation of a new special interest group)
  • identify which research communities would benefit from the outcomes.
  • show an interest in problems outside of your own area of expertise
  • demonstrate that you will be capable of communicating your research to the community outside of your immediate discipline.

You will also be expected to attend the two summer programmes organised by the NFFDy Hub or, if unable to attend, you advise us on other ways you could engage with the cohort of NFFDy fellows.

Your proposed area of research must predominantly fit into EPSRC’s current remit (at least 50%).

Read the full list of EPSRC research areas.

If you are successful in your application, you will be expected to start your fellowship between January and June 2023.

What we will expect of you

As a NFFDy fellow, you will be expected to:

  • have an international outlook
  • be open-minded about new problems and take an interest in problems outside your own area of expertise
  • seek to make the most of being based in the UK, for example by leveraging the UK Fluids Network
  • be enthusiastic about taking on a position of technical leadership within an existing or new special interest group within the UK Fluids Network and communicating your research to people outside your immediate discipline
  • aim to have a positive impact on UK fluid dynamics and the UK more broadly, for example, by addressing the UK’s societal or industrial challenges.

For project ideas to address UK challenges, you may want to read our fluid nation: the impact of fluid dynamics in the UK.

By the end of your fellowship, you should be an agile, multidisciplinary, independent research leader who has developed deep, broad and flexible expertise in fluid dynamics.

Successful fellows will be expected to use their awards to contribute to:

  • promote the development, sharing and exploitation of high-quality, sustainable research in fluid dynamics
  • demonstrate leadership in the fluid dynamics research communities and acting as ambassadors and advocates for UK fluid dynamics research
  • facilitating knowledge transfer by fostering collaborative relationships with academic and industrial partners both in the UK and internationally.

Connecting with the community

We recommend that you discuss your ideas with others in the fluids community to develop your proposal.

The NFFDy Hub has been funded by EPSRC and set up to facilitate the exchange of ideas between applicants and the UK fluids community. Connect with the NFFDy Hub.

Visit the UK Fluids Network for access to a directory of UK fluid dynamics researchers listed by subject and institution.

Summer programmes

As an NFFDy fellow, you will be part of a cohort and will be encouraged to attend two summer programmes, the first of which will be on ‘data in fluids’ with two weeks of lectures and tutorials followed by four weeks of projects. At these programmes, you will participate in training and work on projects at the intersection of data-driven and physics-based modelling, either with experimental or numerical data or both.

The facilitator of the UK Fluids Network is available to discuss mechanisms to enable attendance by fellows with, for example, caring responsibilities.

Contact the UK Fluids Network facilitator.

Fellowship benefits

Benefits for fellows include:

  • support and advice from the UK fluids community as you are writing your proposal
  • cohort activities during the fellowship, such as fortnightly informal coffee mornings online, a monthly internal seminar series online, and a mentorship scheme
  • a guaranteed place at the UK fluids summer programmes in Cambridge (2023) and Leeds (2024).

What we will fund

You can apply for up to a maximum of three years of funding for a postdoctoral stage award. We will also allow fellowships over shorter periods. You can spend between 50% and 100% of your time on a fellowship.

If you want to work part-time, you can hold your EPSRC fellowship part-time as well, at a minimal level of 50%. In these circumstances, the duration of your fellowship can be extended pro rata.

We will fund 80% of the full economic costs of your project. You may request funding for:

  • equipment and other items needed to carry out the project
  • costs related to impact
  • travel and subsistence.

We will not fund costs for additional researchers on postdoctoral fellowships or individual items of equipment over £10,000 (including VAT).

Read the full equipment guidelines.

Responsible innovation

EPSRC is fully committed to developing and promoting responsible innovation. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended consequences, questions, ethical dilemmas and, at times, unexpected social transformations.

We recognise that we have a duty of care to promote approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research that we sponsor and to encourage our research community to do likewise. Therefore, you are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.

If you plan to include international collaborators in your proposal, you should work to get the most out of international collaboration whilst protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.

Visit Trusted Research for information and advice about secure international collaboration.

How to apply

You should contact your research office to ensure you are aware of, and comply with, any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place for each stage of your application.

If you are not currently part of a research organisation, you will need to get in contact with your intended organisation well in advance of applying to ensure you will be able to meet any internal institutional deadlines and requirements.

Expression of interest stage

You should prepare and submit your expression of interest using the research councils’ smart survey system.

In the expression of interest smart survey, you will need to tell us:

  • your research idea (up to 250 words)
  • the activities you propose (up to 250 words)
  • who else in the UK would be involved in these activities (up to 150 words)
  • how this fellowship will benefit the UK Fluid Dynamics community (up to 150 words)
  • how your research could benefit the UK more broadly (up to 150 words)
  • how this cohort-based fellowship will benefit you (up to 150 words)
  • whether you agree to take part in cohort activities
  • whether you plan to attend the summer programmes:
    • full time and in person
    • remotely or part time, giving details.

You can contact the facilitator of the UK Fluids Network to discuss mechanisms to enable attendance by fellows with, for example, caring responsibilities.

In addition to the information above, you can attach:

  • up to three, single page letters of support from members of the UK fluid dynamics community
  • a figure and a caption containing up to 50 words.

Full proposal stage

You should not submit a full proposal unless you have been invited to do so after successfully passing the ‘expression of interest’ stage.

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

We recommend you start your application early. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

Please ensure sufficient time to create an account if you do not currently have one.

When applying, select ‘new document’, then:

  • council: EPSRC
  • document type: fellowship proposal
  • scheme: EPSRC fellowship
  • call/type/mode: National Fellowships in Fluid Dynamics (NFFDy).

After completing the application, you must ‘submit document’, which will send your application to your host organisation’s administration.

Your host organisation’s administration is required to complete the submission process. You should allow sufficient time for this between submitting your proposal and the closing date.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

Your host organisation will be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.

EPSRC must receive your application by 16:00 on 28 July 2022.

As well as the Je-S application form, the documents outlined below also need to be submitted as part of your full proposal.

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Case for support

This is a nine page document. Seven pages should be used to explain the scientific case. The remaining two pages should be used to cover the non-technical aspects of your application. For help writing your case for support, see our case for support guidance.

Workplan

Your workplan should be a single page document.

Justification of resources

This should be no more than two pages. It should explain why the resources you have listed in the Je-S form are appropriate and what they will be used for within the research project.

Narrative CV and track record

As the fellowship candidate, you only need to supply your CV and track record. These should add up to around four pages in total. Read the narrative CV and track record template (PDF, 49KB).

Letters of support

This only applies if you have included project partners in your proposal. Letters of support are needed from all project partners included in the Je-S form. There is no page limit.

Additional letters of support are not permitted for this application. If you will be collaborating with other departments at the host organisation, this should be included in the host organisation statement.

Technical assessments for facilities

There is no page limit. Technical assessments for facilities are only needed for those listed as requiring one in the Je-S guidance.

Host organisation statement

This should be no more than two pages.

Cover letter

This is an optional attachment. There is no page limit and it is not seen by anyone in the peer review process.

Advice about proposals and applications

Read more about what to include in your proposal.

For general help, see our guidance on completing your application.

You can find specific details about the postdoctoral fellowship application process in our fellowship application guide.

Ethical information

EPSRC will not fund a project if it believes that there are ethical concerns that have been overlooked or not appropriately accounted for. All relevant parts of the ethical information section must be completed.

Read the Je-S ethical information guidance.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

There will be a multiple stage submission process, with expressions of interest considered by an expert sift panel, after which invited full proposals will undergo postal peer review.

The proposal, the peer reviewers’ comments and your response will then go to a panel that will score it against our assessment criteria and rank it with other proposals. The top selected candidates will be invited to interview. Interviewed candidates will be informed of the decision by December 2022, and if your application was successful you will be expected to start between January and June 2023.

In the event of this funding opportunity being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, EPSRC reserves the right to modify the assessment process.

Assessment criteria for the expression of interest

Vision of the research idea

We will assess:

  • how exciting the research idea is and how suitable it is for a three year fellowship
  • the idea’s potential to grow into a research activity that can be sustained in the UK over a 10 to 15 year timescale

Relevance to the UK fluids research community

We will consider:

  • how your proposal has been developed with members of the UK fluids research community
  • how you will make best use of the community and take leadership within the community
  • how awarding you this fellowship could benefit the UK more broadly, for example by contributing to strategically important policy objectives.

Suitability for a cohort-based fellowship scheme

We will consider:

  • how you will benefit from being part of a cohort of NFFDy fellows
  • how your research might lead to research activity between fellows
  • how you would benefit from the summer programmes.

Assessment criteria for full proposal

At the postal peer review stage we will assess the:

  • research quality (primary criterion)
  • applicant and partnerships (secondary major criterion)
  • national importance (secondary criterion)
  • resources and management (secondary criterion)
  • fellowship vision
  • continued professional development
  • project delivery.

Find out more about how reviewers assess postdoctoral fellowship applications.

The prioritisation panel will then assess the application against the following criteria:

  • research quality (primary criterion)
  • applicant and partnerships (secondary major criterion)
  • national importance (secondary criterion)
  • resources and management (secondary criterion).

Following the prioritisation panel, we will invite successful candidates to interview.

Interviews will take place around six weeks after the prioritisation panel meeting. An interview panel will assess your application against the criteria below:

  • fellowship vision
  • continued professional development
  • project delivery.

Feedback

No feedback will be given on the expressions of interest.

Feedback from the full proposal stage will consist of the reviewer comments and prioritisation panel ranking.

The prioritisation panel ranking is available on Grants on the Web.

Nominating reviewers

As part of the application process, you will be invited to nominate up to three potential reviewers who you feel have the expertise to assess your proposal. Please ensure that any nominations meet the EPSRC policy on conflicts of interest.

For more information about the reviewer selection process and reviewers’ guidance, please see the ‘related content’ links.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Grace Belshaw, Portfolio Manager

Email: grace.belshaw@epsrc.ukri.org

Include ‘fluid dynamics fellowship’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within six working days.

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Ask about the NFFDy scheme

NFFDy coordinator, UK Fluids Network

Email: info@fluids.ac.uk

Additional info

About the NFFDy fellowship scheme

The NFFDy fellowship scheme aims to address the emerging need for advanced training in fluid dynamics to manage and interpret the data generated by:

  • computational fluid dynamics
  • laboratory experiments
  • real-world observational measurements.

The NFFDy fellowships provide a route for the most talented PhD graduates in fluid dynamics to stay in this research area and to contribute to the advancement of the field in the UK.

The NFFDy scheme recognises that fluid dynamics is a key contributor to the UK’s strategically important policy objectives of:

  • route to net zero
  • productivity and resilience
  • levelling up
  • sovereign capability.

Background

The UK has a traditional and ongoing strength in fluid dynamics, as well as a wealth of industries that benefit from the UK’s strength in this underpinning discipline. Fluid dynamics research, in addition to being vital for the UK economy, is providing essential fundamental knowledge required to solve some of the grand challenges facing today’s society. These include:

  • clean energy
  • climate change
  • extreme weather
  • virus control
  • pandemic response
  • biofluids and health
  • air quality
  • space weather.

For more information on fluid dynamics-related challenges to society, read our fluid nation: the impact of fluid dynamics in the UK.

EPSRC has provided significant doctoral training via the Centres for Doctoral Training in fluid dynamics at different institutes across the UK. Other UKRI councils have also significantly invested in training for research students in fluid dynamics.

Several hundred students graduate with fluid dynamics PhDs each year, but there are currently many fewer postdoctoral positions or fellowships available in the UK. There is a pressing need for broadening of training at the postdoctoral level, particularly at the intersection of data-driven and physics-based modelling and exposure to experiments and numerics.

To address this issue, the engineering theme at EPSRC has launched the national fellowships in fluid dynamics scheme. It’s been designed to maintain and enhance the world-leading position that the UK has established in fluid dynamics over decades. It encourages a cohesive cohort of elite researchers to advance exciting and creative approaches in fluid dynamics.

The UK Fluids Network has brought together industrial and academic researchers across UK institutions to focus on several dozen applications and methods through the special interest groups. The network has coordinated bottom-up research ideas and strategic vision across the field.

The highly successful UK Fluids Network will provide:

  • centralised coordination activity to support alignment to national challenges
  • the administration of the scheme during the lifetime of the fellowships
  • cohort training based at selected institutions.

Fellows funded through the current NFFDy scheme would flourish within this research environment. They would be inspired by the problems identified by the existing special interest groups and create their own research directions within existing or new groups.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 193KB)

Narrative CV and track record template (PDF, 49KB)

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