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Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellows - Geophysics and Biophysics

The Managers of the Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellowships Fund invite applications for up to two Fellowships which would be held in Departments in the School of the Physical Sciences (SPS) at the University of Cambridge from 1 October 2021 (or otherwise by negotiation). Fellows are required to pursue their research on a full-time basis in Cambridge. Fellowships are available for up to three years and provide an opportunity for independent research, although the holders will usually work in close collaboration with established research groups in one of the Departments in the School.

The Fellows will be able to undertake their research in the following departments: Earth Sciences, Physics and Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP).

The Fellowship includes an annual research allowance of up to 15,000.

In accordance with Dr Smith's will, candidature is limited to candidates who have obtained their PhD degree, or equivalent, within the last three years at any university but excluding Cambridge and Harvard. Fellowships can only be offered to those with less than three years of postdoctoral experience by the time the award is taken up.

All applications, including required documents and references will need to be submitted online through the University's recruitment system. Any submitted application that does not include ALL of the following content required below will not be considered for the Fellowship:

  • Department support letter: Each candidate is required to submit a letter from a SPS Department in Cambridge that outlines their willingness to host and support the candidate's research during the Fellowship.
  • Candidates are advised to contact the relevant Department and / or principal investigator(s) directly prior to submission.
  • The letter should be signed either by a potential collaborator (PI) or Head of Department.
  • Research project summary: One page summary of your proposed project, including the name of the SPS Department which you hope to join.
  • Research project description: A detailed description (maximum of 4 pages) of the proposed project.
  • You are advised to consult the relevant Department or other resources to ensure that your proposal is appropriately related to the group which you hope to join.
  • Curriculum vitae: Maximum of 3 pages outlining academic career, qualifications and full list of publications to date; please include hyperlinks of 3 best publications (not full copies).
  • References: Contact details of 3 referees.
The completed references will be required by 31 January 2021. Please ensure that selected referees are fully contactable throughout the process.

Upon submission of your application, referees will be directly contacted to request that they upload a reference for you on the University's online recruitment system.

More information about the School of Physical Sciences and its Departments can be found on the School's website:

Information about the Department of Earth Sciences can be found on our website

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance. Successful candidates will be contacted by 20 March 2021.

Please quote reference LB24334 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy. The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

The University and the Department actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. The University holds an institutional Athena-SWAN silver award and the Department is a bronze award holder. Details of some of the family-friendly policies operated by the University are at:

For discipline-related queries, please contact the relevant Head of Department or PI directly.

Other enquiries can be directed to Andy Buckley (

Applications must be submitted from the web-portal at:

See also our website Department of Earth Sciences, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, UK.

The University holds an institutional Athena-SWAN silver award and the department is a bronze award holder.


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