Ecology and Evolution

Fellowship development

Independent Fellows play a key role within the Institute of Evolutionary Biology. Many of our current research staff are on fellowships, and the record of our Fellows obtaining permanent positions is exceptional. As a 5 rated department (REF 2013), we provide an excellent intellectual environment, with "state of the art" facilities which is reflected by the success of our Fellows.

In view of the importance we place on independent Fellows, and to allow young researchers to maximise their potential we have adopted a 5 point fellowship development program.

Preparing applications

Preparing successful applications is a skill that can be learned. Current staff can offer expertise in this and help the development of your application. As with grants and papers, the chance of a fellowship application succeeding can be improved considerably through feedback.

Preparing for interview

For many fellowships, the interview is the critical stage which separates success from failure. A good way to prepare for this is through a mock interview. Staff with experience on fellowship panels can help with such an interview and provide feedback to help you hone your performance.


We assign all Fellows a mentor from among our senior staff. The mentor will provide support and advice to help you to develop as an independent researcher and group leader. Our career review system will help you to assess your progress, and to capitalize on your potential for further fellowships and promotions.

Career success

The expertise of numerous successful Fellows and academics in IEB is available to provide the support necessary to maximise your career success once you are here. The kinds of support offered range from mentoring to assistance with pilot projects, as detailed below: -

  • Advice and detailed comments are provided at all levels of grant application – often a Fellow will have an experienced senior member of staff as a PI on early grants to give detailed support.
  • Small grants are provided by the University to help develop pilot projects that can be turned into standard grant applications.
  • Fellows are encouraged to supervise PhD and Masters students immediately on joining the Institute.
  • PhD quota studentships are awarded on the basis of student quality and thus many are awarded to students coming to work with independent Fellows.
  • We ensure that Fellows realise their publication potential by providing experience on how to publish in the leading international journals.

The research funding agencies increasingly demand cross-disciplinary research proposals. The diversity within the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, and across the Edinburgh academic community as a whole, offers abundant opportunities for effective collaboration.

Career path

A clear career path is vital. In recognition of this a specific policy for the retention of independently-funded research Fellows was put in place in January 2005. This reflects the value we place on Fellows and a view that longterm positions should be more focused towards attracting and maintaining fellows, rather than to new lectureships. Opportunities to obtain teaching experience are available and Fellows are welcome to offer advanced seminars and courses in their fields of expertise. Our commitment to the development of Fellows is shown clearly by the fact that many of our recent appointments to lectureships, and the majority of our professorial appointments originally came here on independent fellowships (including Mark Blaxter, Deborah Charlesworth, Peter Keightley, Josephine Pemberton, Andrew Read, Stuart West).