Newcastle University Academic Track Fellowships NUAcT

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Open Call 2021

Due to the delay in the 2020 Open Call process due to Covid-19, we do not intend to announce a 2021 Open Call at this time, but will be making a decision regarding this once the 2020 process is concluded.

Who is eligible to apply for NUAcT? 

The NUAcT Fellowship scheme is looking for researchers who have a PhD (or equivalent experience) and who have already started to generate a strong track record of research outputs or activity. Applicants will have their own original and ambitious research proposal along with plans of how to sustain their research in the longer term. This round we are also welcoming applications from clinicians - click here for further details.

We are particularly keen to find people who are motivated to work across disciplinary boundaries, who enjoy collaborating with and developing others, and who are interested in helping us to grow an inclusive and diverse research culture.

There is no restriction on discipline, although you will be asked to demonstrate how your research fits with Newcastle University’s broad portfolio of research and how you will contribute to your host unit. There is no preference for internal or external candidates. Candidates who hold open-ended contracts, eg Lectureships, and are still at the early career stage, can apply. This scheme is not for ‘established’ academic staff.

Can international researchers apply?

Yes, we welcome applications from international candidates. The University will support international new starters with visa applications and we can help with relocation costs. All shortlisted candidates are invited to attend interview in person (with all expenses covered), or we can arrange a remote (e.g. Skype) interview.

Do NUAcT posts guarantee a permanent academic position?

NUAcT Fellowships are five year fixed term positions that will offer an open-ended contract at the end subject to a formal review. Fellows will be reviewed formally at around 3 years into their contract against progression criteria relating to research excellence and progress towards establishing their academic careers, and contributions towards research led teaching and academic citizenship (see Candidate Briefing Packs). 

How/when can I apply for a NUAcT post?

The second open recruitment call opens on 13th January 2020 and closes on 6th March 2020. There will be further annual recruitment calls between now and 2024, and we also sometimes offer targeted NUAcTs in specific areas. The NUAcT webpages will be kept up to date with details.

To apply for a NUAcT Fellowship, decide which disciplinary panel you are applying to and then download the relevant Candidate Briefing Pack  which contains details on what you need to include in your application. Carefully follow the guidelines in the Candidate Briefing Pack when preparing your application – only applications that include ALL of the requested documents will be assessed. Once you have all parts of your application ready you should apply via Newcastle University’s online recruitment portal – search for NUAcT and remember to choose the appropriate selection panel. All selection panels will follow the same process and use the same evaluation criteria.

Do I need a sponsor to apply for a NUAcT post?

No, there is no requirement for applicants to have a sponsor. However, you are welcome to make contact with relevant academic staff in your research area if you would like to discuss your application and how it might best fit to ongoing research at Newcastle University.

Do I need a PhD?

Applicants are expected to have completed and hold a relevant PhD, although we recognise that equivalent experience may suffice in some disciplines.

Is there a maximum or minimum amount of post-doctoral experience expected?

There is no maximum or minimum amount, but we would expect to see some post-doctoral research experience, whether in academia or in another sector, that enables you to demonstrate your ability to develop and lead your own research programme, and show a compelling track record of research achievements for your career stage. If you have a significant amount of post-doctoral experience, you will need to make clear to the selection panel why now is the right time for you to take this step in your research career.

I already have an external Fellowship. Am I eligible to apply and could I transfer my Fellowship to Newcastle?

If you hold a junior early career research fellowship (typically 1-3 years in length) where you perhaps maintain a significant degree of supervision and/or sponsorship from another academic, and where transition into a permanent academic position would not be expected, then you would be eligible to apply. Fellows who already hold an equivalent fellowship, where the transition to an academic position at the end of the would be expected (typically 5+ years in length) will not be considered for the NUAcT scheme. Transferring your Fellowship to Newcastle is possible, but you would need to first check with your funder.

Will Fellows be expected to teach?

The focus of a NUAcT fellowship is on research, however you will be expected to undertake some research-led teaching (at undergraduate and/or postgraduate levels) as part of your career development. We are looking for fellows who are keen to take-up teaching opportunities and develop their teaching skills as they work towards becoming full academic members of staff (formal training leading to HEA qualification is available). You will discuss how you would like to balance your research and other academic activities across your fellowship in the first few months.

Could NUAcT Fellows work part-time?

Yes, fellowships are flexible and we can accommodate part time working. Fellowships will automatically be extended following periods of parental or extended leave and to accommodate part time working.  Additional support is available to those returning to their fellowships from periods of extended leave. We offer additional mentoring and a Returners’ Support Programme offering up to £10K research expenses to accelerate you back into your career.

What level will NUAcT Fellows be appointed at if they are successful in gaining an open-ended contract at the end of their five year Fellowship?

Subject to a successful review, Fellows will be offered open-ended contracts at either Lecturer or Senior Lecturer level. Any progression to Senior Lecturer level will need to be reviewed through the standard Newcastle University promotions process.

Is a NUAcT Fellowship or a Lectureship the right choice for me?

Different people will choose different routes to develop their academic career and all routes are equally valued at Newcastle. NUAcT will suit those who want to benefit from a period of protected time to focus on a research programme, but this is not for everyone. NUAcT is an additional investment by the University to create extra posts and grow our total number of researchers, so NUAcT Fellowships do not replace Lectureships.

Can I apply for a NUAcT Fellowship if I applied in the previous open call or to a previous targeted call?

Yes, previous applicants can apply but the panels would expect to see meaningful changes to previous applications.

Are there plans for Partnership Fellowships?

There are no immediate plans to advertise partnership fellowships but we hope that there will be opportunities later in the year or in 2021.

If I was offered a NUAcT fellowship, when would I be expected to start?

Often new fellows start their contract within a few weeks or months of receiving an offer. However, start dates can be flexible to take into account existing commitments.

In what circumstance should I request that my application is reviewed by an additional panel?

We would expect the majority of applicants to select one panel only – we encourage you to nominate a single panel which best fits your research proposal. An additional panel should only be selected if your programme of research cannot be identified with a single panel.

Please note that throughout the selection process panels will seek additional expertise to ensure that all applications are reviewed as appropriate regardless of which panel is selected.

What is meant by ‘host unit’?

Newcastle University delivers research and teaching through three academic faculties (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences and Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering) which are split into Schools and Research institutes – these are the ‘host units’ where NUAcT Fellows will be based. The host units are the units are listed on page 12 of the candidate briefing packs. You can find out more about the host units here .

In the selection process how is success relative to opportunity measured?

Panels take into account the number of years FTE that applicants have spent in research, taking into consideration things like part time working, career breaks or time spent working outside of research. Other factors such as disability, illness or other factors (e.g. the type of research environment that the applicant has been immersed in) can also considered. At every stage of the selection process panels are supported by EDI specialists whose role it is to highlight such considerations.

Must an applicant have a PhD at the time of application?

We expect that candidates will hold a PhD at the time of their application. There may be some exceptions to this, for example if applicants have an outstanding track record of research outputs relevant to their discipline and/or relevant industry (or similar) experience.

Are references included within the research proposal 3 page limit?

Yes, any references will need to be included within the limit, but you only need to include literature that you have actually cited rather than a full bibliography.

Is the ‘career break’ section on the summary cover sheet mandatory?

You only need to complete this section if it is relevant to you – this section is not mandatory.

Is there a need to include a separate ‘workplace culture statement’ in addition to the summary cover sheet?

No, the only four documents that you need to upload for your application are the cover letter, CV, research proposal and summary cover sheet. The summary cover sheet includes a section for the workplace culture statement which is mandatory and will be assessed.

What is meant by ‘contributing to EDI activities’? Is this the same as outreach and engagement?

EDI (an abbreviation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) means ensuring that everyone, regardless of their race, colour, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, age, physical or medical condition, marital and familial status, and sexual orientation is treated fairly, is valued and has the same opportunity. At Newcastle University we aim to create a positive, supportive culture for everyone to reach their potential. EDI activities will directly address this aim through e.g. proactively supporting under-represented groups, discovering and addressing barriers that under-represented groups face, challenging and tackling inappropriate behaviour, systems or processes or researching underlying factors that underpin inequality (these are examples only – EDI activity can come in all shapes and forms!).
EDI is different from outreach and engagement, although in some cases can be embedded in outreach or engagement activity. Find out more about Newcastle University's EDI activity here .

Are referees required, and if so when will they be contacted?

Applicants are required to submit the details of two referees via the online e-recruitment system. Referees are only contacted if an offer of a Fellowship is made and will not be contacted at any other point in the process.

Can you give more information about what ‘early career’ means?

It’s difficult to be too specific – we have deliberately not included hard criteria such as minimum no. of years post PhD because peoples’ career trajectories vary for all sorts of reasons. However, broadly speaking applicants who have held open-ended Faculty positions for a significant period or who have been a PI on a number of grants would no longer be considered ‘early career’ stage. Applicants who have held postdoctoral positions for a relatively high number of years (>7) need to demonstrate why this is the right time for them to transition to independence.

When exactly is the deadline on 6th March?

The deadline for the NUAcT open call is 23:55 UK time on 6th March – but we would always encourage applicants to submit well ahead of this time and be aware that there will be no technical support after 17:00 in case of issues with the online e-recruitment system.

Are candidates allowed to submit a supplementary information document as part of their application?

No, supplementary documents, appendices or any additional documentation will not be forwarded to selection panels for review. For information on what documents to include in your application please refer to the ‘how to apply’ section of the Candidate Briefing Pack. Applications must include all documents listed, and all documents must adhere to page limits, word limits and format requirements.

Should I identify a potential mentor?

There is no need for applicants to identify a potential mentor, however it is recommended that you get in touch with relevant researchers in your preferred host unit to discuss your research proposal and fit with Newcastle University.

Should I include a letter of recommendation?

There is no need for applicants to include a letter of recommendation however you will be asked on the online recruitment system to provide details of two referees who can be contacted.