Early Researcher Award Scheme (ERAS) and Lord Paul Early Careers Research Fund; Fellowships (LPF)

As part of their Human Resources Strategy, universities have been tasked by the Funding Councils with devising and implementing a mechanism for identifying and supporting members of staff who are at the start of their research career.

A cohort of ERAS Fellows are selected each year. The 2020-21 scheme runs for 12 months from 1st August 2020 - 31st July, 2021.

There are two elements to the scheme:

  • An individual research project that will yield outputs in terms of publications, further research and/or development of funding opportunities.
  • A support programme to develop and enhance wider research-related skills through workshops, action learning, mentoring and progress reports.

If you're eligible and after reading the terms and conditions below you still wish to apply please visit the ERAS applications page.

1) Any member of staff who can demonstrate that they are at postdoctoral level now or have attained this level within the last 5 years.  Normally such evidence would include:

  • A PhD (or equivalent doctoral qualification) awarded since January 2015
  • A doctoral thesis that has been submitted for examination but has not yet been examined. A confirmation letter from the Director of Studies will be required.

2) An exemption to point 1 (above) will be given consideration by the selection panel in cases of, but not limited to: career breaks, career changes, parental leave, periods of extended ill health, caring responsibilities, first academic position. A request for exemption should be attached to the application form.

3) Applicants must be members of staff of the University of Wolverhampton that have a current payroll number and whose contract exceeds the duration of the scheme.

4) There is no age limit. ‘Early researcher’ is interpreted here as ‘at the beginning of a postdoctoral career’, and does not correlate to chronological age of the applicant.

5) Staff who have received the ERAS award before are not eligible to apply a second time.

6) Staff at Reader level or above are not eligible to apply.

7) Staff who have taken part in the ‘NU2EU’ programme or the Grants Academy are not eligible to apply.

8) Staff who are part-time (FTE 0.5 and below) are eligible to apply to deliver ERAS over 24 month. Evidence that you are a part-time member of staff will be required.

Please note: ERAS aims to support the development of early career researchers. The activities involved in the programme provide many opportunities to develop research related skills, as well as offering the chance to learn from research leaders at the University.  If you feel that you fit the criteria above but would not describe yourself as an early career researcher, this opportunity may not be right for you. 

You can apply for a budget of up to £5000 to support the completion of your project. You will be asked to provide a detailed indicative breakdown of how you would intend to spend the money as part of your application.

Normally, you may use your budget to cover research costs such as field work, research/library visits, consumables, research assistant time and specialist conference attendance (beyond that which would be supported through normal Faculty procedures). You may also use your budget to provide teaching support through VL cover, in which case you should use the rate (UW9 point 32) per teaching hour. Remember to factor in overheads, on-costs and any holiday entitlement. You must have your line-manager’s express approval for any proposed VL cover.

Please note that the selection panel will not normally approve proposals to attend more than one conference unless a robust justification is made.

Because of the need to plan for maintenance and replacement costs, your budget cannot normally be used to purchase equipment.

As part of your application we ask that you 'please provide the name of an individual who has agreed to act as your ERAS mentor'. Ideally you should approach someone who is an experienced or active researcher within a discipline that doesn't have to be the same but at least compliments your own. Your mentor needs to be someone who can give you constructive feedback on your research.

They should also be willing to and have time to meet or correspond with you but how often and to what extent will need to be agreed between yourselves. You must share your application with your intended mentor for comment/feedback prior to submission.

If you have any questions regarding ERAS mentoring please contact Dr Debra Cureton (D.Cureton@wlv.ac.uk) or Doctoral College (DoctoralCollege@wlv.ac.uk) who will advise you further.

On your part:

1)      You undertake to participate fully in the support programme, deliver the project outcomes within budget and on time.

2)      You should be aware that it will not be possible to defer either the uptake of the award or completion of it (apart from reasons of parental leave or extended sick leave), and that the ERAS fellowship therefore represents a firm commitment.

3)      If you leave the University voluntarily (i.e. resignation) during or up to 12 months after completion of the programme, the University reserves the right to reclaim all or part of its investment (in accordance with standard University practice).

4)      You will be assigned to an action learning set which we expect will meet at least 4 times during the duration of the scheme; short written updates will be required.

5)      In addition to the action learning sets you must be available to attend the mandatory ERAS workshops and events:

  • Induction - Tuesday 21st July 2020 (MD165), 10:00 -12:00
  • Workshop 1 - Tuesday 13th October 2020 (MD165), 10:00 -12:00
  • Workshop 2 - Tuesday 12th January 2021 (MD165), 10:00- 12:00
  • Workshop 3 - Tuesday 16th March 2021 (MD165), 10:00- 12:00
  • ERAS Writing Retreat - Monday 10th May 2021 (MD165), All day event
  • Annual Research Conference - June 2021 (dates TBC), All day event (ERAS Fellows will be presenting on one of the two dates depending on Conference Programme)

On your Department/School/Institute’s part

1)      They will recognise your fellowship as part of your workload allocation

2)      They will provide 300 hours on your workload for you to complete your research and attend ERAS related events or activities.  This may include the research hours that you are allocated and some of your SMRSA hours. If you are a part time member of staff (FTE 0.5 or less) and have opted to deliver ERAS over two years, it is expected that your workload allocation for ERAS will be 150 hour for each year of the project

NB: The 300 hours include: 150 hours to complete the research programme; 50 hours to attend ERAS events or activities; 100 hours for dissemination activities (conference attendance and travel, peer reviewed publications, social media activities etc)

On our part

1)      We undertake to honour your commitment to the programme so that you are fully able to complete it satisfactorily.

2)      We will endeavour to provide a genuinely valuable support programme that is tailored to meet the needs of the group as far as possible.

As noted above you will be required to disseminate your work to the wider research community via a presentation at the University's Annual Research Conference.

At the end of the project you will be required to submit an Executive summary of your project and an evaluation form. The Executive summary will be available to the research community on the ERAS webpages.

Lord Paul Early Careers Research Fund Fellowships (LPF)


Lord Paul has been the Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton (UoW) since 1998. He is one of the longest appointed Chancellors at a UK University. His continued contribution to the University and the wider Higher Education agenda has been instrumental in raising the profile of the University. He has strengthened our international presence, particularly in India and he has hosted a number of high profile events.

Angad Paul was the youngest son of Lord Paul who tragically died in November 2015. He was a businessman, entrepreneur, and the former CEO of Caparo Plc. It was Angad who successfully developed Caparo India, which currently has over 30 plants and subsidiaries in India. Caparo is also growing in the USA where it trades under Bull Moose Tubes, being the leading tubular producer and manufacturer. It also produces large specialised trailers under the name Excel Specialised Trailers. The University of Wolverhampton has received a legacy gift, made through Lord Paul's Ambika Paul Foundation, in memory of his son. In recognition of the generous gift of £500,000 and to preserve Angad's memory, we named the SA building at Telford as the Angad Paul Building in February 2019.  

2/5 of the gift have been directed to the Lord Swraj Paul Early Careers Research Fund, in order to support early career researchers in their submissions to the Research Excellence Framework(s).

Applicants must electronically compete the LPF Application Form Dec 2020 (Word doc 816k), attach a pdf copy of their CV, and return it to doctoralcollege@wlv.ac.uk by the deadline (see process and timeline for respective deadlines for each call).

All applications will be reviewed and scored by a panel of senior researchers from all faculties and research institutes.

Eligibility and selection criteria

In order to be eligible for a LPF you must be an early career researcher. In recognition of the different career paths that our staff have, we define early career researchers as those who are within 5 years of finishing their doctorate and wish to pursue a research career pathway OR who first met the REF definition of an independent researcher on or after 1 August 2016 (see REF 2021 Guidance on Submission, paras 117 and 128-134).

Each applicant must make a commitment to actively participate in all three aspects of the fellowship, and to prioritise these over other commitments. Note that you cannot hold an ERAS and a LPF fellowship simultaneously.

Applications will be selected on the basis of the following criteria (maximum score possible = 120):

CriteriaExplanationMaximum points
Societal challenges The applicant must demonstrate how the fellowship is aligned with either the UK's Industrial Strategy or the UN SDGs. 20
Interdisciplinarity The applicant must demonstrate how the project will achieve outcomes that could not be achieved within the framework of a single discipline. Applicants are strongly encourahed to involve at least one researcher from another discipline in the project. 20
Career development and contribution to REF The applicant must demonstrate how the fellowship will support their career development and enhance the contribution they make to future research assessment exercises. 20
Impact The applicant must identify the impacts sought from the projects, and articulate the pathways to achieving impact.  20
Responsible Research All applications are assessed on the basis of rigour of the proposed project. In addition, applicants need to highlight how they will deal with research ethics and contribute to the University's Open Research agenda. 20
Equality and Diversity All applications must show how they contribute to the faculty or research institute's Gender Equality Action Plan. 20

We have created 17-18 Lord Paul Fellowships (LPFs) with a grant of up to £10,000 to be competitively awarded from academic year 2019-20 to 2022-23.

There will be 4 rounds of calls for the LPFs as follows: 

2019-20 Fellowships: March 2020 - February 2021 (Cohort 1)
December 2019 Call for Applications 
3 February 2020 Deadline for Submission of Applications
End of February 2020 Announcement of successful 2019-20 Fellowships
2020-21 Fellowships: August 2020 - July 2021 (Cohort 2) 

December 2019 Call for Applications
13 March 2020 Deadline for Submission of Applications
May 2020 Announcement of successful 2020-21 Fellowships
2021-22 Fellowships: August 2021 - July 2022 (Cohort 3)

December 2020 Call for Applications
8 March 2021 Deadline for Submission of Applications
May 2021 Announcement of successful 2021-22 Fellowships

2022-23 Fellowships: August 2022 - July 2023 (Cohort 4)

December 2021 Call for Applications
March 2022 Deadline for Submission of Applications (date TBC)
May 2022 Announcement of successful 2022-23 Fellowships