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Prospective Fellows

Postdoctoral researchers and independent research fellows play a central role in the life of the Department.  They bring diverse skills and exciting new perspectives. We currently host 62 such researchers (27 female) from 14 nations.  We are always keen to discuss with potential researchers whether their work might fit in the Department, and how they might pursue their career here.

There is no set format for the recruitment of researchers.  Typically researchers who have just obtained a Ph. D. will work within one of our existing research groups, either funded by a personal postdoctoral fellowship, or as a contract researcher on one of the Principal Investigator’s (i.e. group leader’s) research grants.

More senior researchers, who have already completed several years of postdoctoral work, often establish their own research groups within the Department, funded by an independent senior fellowship. 


Joining us as an Independent Senior fellow

Prospective Fellows wishing to set up their own research group, and planning to apply for independent funding (for example, Royal Society University Research Fellowships, European Research Council Starting Grants, Research Council Senior Fellowships, Wellcome Trust Career Development or Senior Fellowships), should discuss their application with the Head of Department, Prof. Michael Akam.  They may first want to discuss their application with group leaders in the relevant research theme.

We currently host seven such independent senior fellows in the Department (four female). Independent Research Fellows have the opportunity to supervise graduate students, to host postdoctoral fellows, to gain experience in teaching, and to involve themselves fully in the life of the Department (for example, by taking part in committees and recruitments). 


Externally funded postdoctoral fellows and College Junior Research Fellows

Prospective Fellows who wish to work in particular labs (for example applicants for Marie Curie and EMBO Fellowships) should in the first place contact the relevant Principal Investigator, to discuss their project and to ensure that we have the right facilities. Principal Investigators are listed under each research theme, and a full list of Principal Investigators in the Department is also available.  Please also get in touch with the Departmental Administrator, to discuss costing the grant application correctly. 

Many of the Cambridge Colleges offer Junior Research Fellowships (JRFs). These are college funded positions.  JRFs undertake independent research programmes agreed with the colleges, but frequently work mainly or wholly within a Department.  Existing research groups often provide the necessary experimental facilities and research space, and departmental PIs act as informal mentors.  We currently host six such JRFs within the Department (three female). 

Applicants for college fellowships who may need research facilities within Zoology should discuss their requirements with either the Head of Department, or the independent PI with whom they plan to work. This should be done no later than the short listing stage.

Colleges at Cambridge advertise their vacancies here.


Joining us as a contract researcher

About one-third of the Department’s staff are contract researchers, working for Principal Investigators in labs and groups across the Department.  We recruit graduate scientists as research assistants (usually post-graduate level) and research associates (usually post-doctorate). Of 47 post-doc contract research staff, 40 per cent are women. The Department follows the University’s career management scheme for researchers and there is a growing range of support services available, including the Post-Doc Society.

Current job vacancies in the Department can be seen on the right-hand side of this page.