Fellowship opportunities

There are a number of research fellowships that allow scientists to develop their careers.  The following examples and testimonials give a flavour:

Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions – Individual Fellowships (IF)

The goal of Individual Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility. Further details http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/about/individual-fellowships_en

NERC’s Independent Research Fellowships (IRF)

The NERC Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) Scheme is designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists, by giving all fellows five years’ support, which will allow them sufficient time to develop their research programmes and to gain international recognition. See further details http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/available/fellowships/irf/

European Research Council’s Starting Grants (ERC-StG)

The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. Further details https://erc.europa.eu/funding-and-grants/funding-schemes/starting-grants

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM. NSF especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors to apply. Further details https://www.nsfgrfp.org/applicants

AXA Post-Doctoral Fellowships

AXA Research Fund is to fund academic research dedicated to bettering our understanding of important hazards, risks and threats and our current global societal challenges within four clusters: Life & Health risks, Data & Technological risks, Climate & Environment risks and Finance, Insurance and Regulation Risks.  Further details https://www.axa-research.org/en/page/post-doctoral-fellowships

Testimonials

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions – Individual Fellowship – Fellows

Dr Louis-Alexandre Couston – Marie Curie European Fellow

I work on the “Modelling Ice-shelf Melting and ice-Ocean Processes” project (MIMOP). MIMOP’s main goal is to provide accurate ice-shelf melt rates for various background ocean conditions (e.g. stratification). What’s new is that my simulations will include both the turbulent ocean dynamics and the slow evolution of the rough ice-ocean interface, without any parameterizations. I will use the state-of-the-art direct numerical simulation code Dedalus. Dedalus is an open-source user-friendly fully-spectral code, which can solve almost arbitrary systems of partial differential equations. Stay tuned if you’re interested in a spectral code as I will soon give a presentation about Dedalus and how to use it on scihub. Keep up with news about MIMOP here: https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/mimop/

Dr Lara Perez – Marie Curie Global Fellow

I am a marine geophysicist focusing on the seismic stratigraphic analysis of oceanic basins and continental margins of the Polar Regions. I will be working on the MSCA Global Fellowship called WAMSISE – West Antarctic Margin Signatures of Ice Sheet Evolution. WAMSISE is a three-year project which aims to analyse the stratigraphic architecture of the sedimentary record along the West Antarctic Margin from the Ross Sea to the Antarctic Peninsula, with a particular focus on the post-early Miocene evolution, in order to decipher the history of interactions between tectonic, climatic, oceanographic and cryospheric processes. WAMSISE starts with a six month secondment at Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS, Italy), followed by eighteen months outgoing phase at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW, New Zealand), to finish with twelve months return phase at the host institution British Antarctic Survey (BAS, UK). Follow updates of WAMSISE on the BAS website here https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/wamsise/

Dr Irena Vankova – Marie Curie Global Fellow

My Individual Fellowship project at BAS aims to detect and investigate oceanic variability in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf cavity (Detecting Ocean Variability under Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf — DOVuFRIS). In particular, I am analysing measurements collected with a high-accuracy phase-sensitive radar (ApRES, developed at BAS) to understand the character of basal melt-rate temporal variability and its changes from site to site across the ice shelf. In the next phase of the project, I will use a high-resolution ocean model to investigate physical processes governing these observations. This work will be in collaboration with colleagues at the Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany), the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (Norway), and the Australian Antarctic Division (Australia).

Dr Yasmina Martos – Marie Curie European Fellow

I applied for the Marie Curie Fellowship because it represents a unique and prestigious opportunity which gave me the possibility to gain knowledge and new skills. Additionally, it offered the opportunity to learn how to lead and manage my own international research and collaborate with high profile scientists. As a young Antarctic scientist I chose the British Antarctic Survey because it is one of the leading scientific and logistic institutions in the world on this topic. Then the combination of carrying out the Marie Curie fellowship at the British Antarctic Survey was simply great for the project and my future. During my fellowship I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with scientists from many different disciplines and international institutions working mainly on relationships between the bedrock and the ice base in Antarctica. The fellowship helped me to establish new collaborations and promote my work, not only during the fellowship but also to support future international projects.

There were things during my time at the British Antarctic Survey that were not always straightforward.  I had to alter my project from my initial proposal, and with that I needed a different supervisor, but this was sorted out with the help of the British Antarctic Survey administration team and I got my project back on track.   Obtaining my EU salary through the UK funding system proved complicated, but I was paid!   My fellowship is now ended, and the professional and personal experience gained through the time of the project has been key for getting great job offers from several countries.

I am working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center within the Juno Mission in Maryland, USA. I am part of the Planetary Magnetospheres Laboratory of NASA working in the Magnetic team. Further information can be found on my webpage here: https://science.gsfc.nasa.gov/sed/bio/yasmina.martos

NERC Independent Research Fellowship – Fellows

Dr Ingrid Cnossen – NERC IRF

I was awarded a NERC Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) in May 2018. I previously held a NERC Postdoctoral Fellowship at BAS (2012-2015), so this is my second fellowship here. Competition for IRF funding is strong, and it took me three attempts to be successful, but in the end my persistence paid off. The funding is now enabling me to return to BAS and restart my scientific career, after an absence of several years, during which I had a baby.

During my IRF project I will work on better projections of future climate change at altitudes up to 500 km, which is important to manage the growing problem of space debris. I will study specifically the impacts of climate change in the lower and middle atmosphere (troposphere, stratosphere and mesosphere; about 0-90 km altitude) on the upper atmosphere (thermosphere and ionosphere; about 90-500 km altitude). Climate change in the lower and middle atmosphere affects the generation and propagation of upwardly travelling atmospheric waves which drive large-scale circulations at higher altitudes, coupling remote parts of the atmosphere. I will run global, whole-atmosphere (0-500 km altitude) model simulations to quantify how this influences the climate of the upper atmosphere. I will work with the University of Southampton to determine how expected climatic changes in thermosphere density will affect the future evolution of the space debris population to inform decision-making on mitigation strategies. I am looking forward to starting this exciting project, and building new links and collaborations, both within BAS and beyond.

Dr J. Alexander Brearley – NERC IRF

What causes the influx and mixing of warm waters on polar ocean shelves?

I am a NERC Independent Research Fellowship (IRF) at BAS since 2014. The fellowship came about as a result of a chance meeting with Mike Meredith several years earlier. I had previously been working at Southampton on turbulent mixing processes in the deep Southern Ocean, but after meeting Mike it became clear that I could use many of the same techniques on the Antarctic Peninsula shelf to ask a different set of research questions. There was also a new instrument that BAS had recently purchased which would be an excellent developmental platform to test these new research ideas.

Being a highly fieldwork-rich project, the IRF scheme was the natural choice for this project, as ambitious field experiments can be included (and costed) within the scope of the scheme. It was also an attractive programme from the perspective that it provided 5 years of independent funding, without the pressure to undertake other activities that would distract me from my research focus.

BAS was the natural choice for me to carry out my research, having a wealth of experience in physical oceanography around the West Antarctic, as well as a nascent underwater glider programme being developed by the group of which I am now a part. I was particularly attracted by the variety of research that takes place at BAS and the possibility for making collaborations with researchers in other groups, especially those working on cryospheric changes in the ice shelves and sea ice. The access to polar infrastructure is also unrivalled in the UKI have found the Fellowship experience to be a strongly positive one, and would encourage others with a strong original research idea to pursue this opportunity. NERC provide a Fellow’s event each year, which has allowed me to make contact with, and gain support from, other Fellows within the same scheme. On a more serious note, holding the Fellowship has uncovered a number of other opportunities, including membership of a community working group on under-ice ocean observations and being an invited speaker at several West Antarctic meetings.

Since obtaining the Fellowship, I have expanded the scope of my work back into the open Southern Ocean through becoming part of the ORCHESTRA programme, and I have also continued to develop my interests in Greenland oceanography through developing a new research proposal and through taking on a new PhD student (in conjunction with UEA and CEFAS). I now have two students working within my group, each of whom are pursuing exciting research ideas pertaining to turbulence and entrainment processes within the high latitude ocean

NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships – Fellow

Dr Brent Minchew – NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a (U.S.) National Science Foundation Earth Sciences postdoctoral fellow studying glacier dynamics at the British Antarctic Survey. Working at BAS is a great opportunity made possible by the flexibility of the NSF fellowship. This fellowship allows me to conduct independent research for two years at virtually any institution. I chose BAS largely because of the multidisciplinary nature of the organization and the large number of scientists operating at the forefront of numerous fields, all with a focus on the polar regions. My primary goal for my postdoctoral research was to build skill sets that were complementary to those that I developed during my PhD work, and the expertise and collegial environment of BAS have helped make that possible. I will complete my fellowship on the last day of 2017, and I will start 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.