Memorandum submitted by the Economic and
Social Research Council (ESRC)
The following information was requested. "Please
provide an analysis of the cost efficiency of Postdoctoral Fellowships
programmes, indicating whether your accounts isolate administrative
costs associated with these schemes."
Average ESRC staff salaries 2001:
Using the time recording data we have established that the
approximate time spent administering the scheme in 2001 was as
|Time spent||% of salary
|Band 5||24% (12% x 2)
Using the average staff salaries for 2001 the total annual
staff costs to Postgraduate Training Division for administering
the scheme was £12,508. However, this was the first year
of the scheme and much of the band 3 time was spent in writing
the documentation and developing the scheme. We have also streamlined
the referee selection process this year so in practice these costs
should be lower this year and subsequently.
The amount of money paid out to a pool of referees during
the period 1 April 2002 is £9355.00 or approximately £252.00
An independent Panel was set up to make the final funding
decisions. The amount paid out to Panel members who attended the
meeting during April 2002 is £2755.56.
Total costs are therefore in the region of £25k. We
received 250 applications so could say that the average cost of
processing an application is about £100. This does not take
into account post-award admin costs in PTD which were not recorded
The figures quoted have been provided by our colleagues within
the ESRC finance division. The total cost of administering postdoctoral
fellowship awards during the full first year, including balancing
claims and final claims, is £1356.48
(b) The main features of the Postdoctoral Fellowship
each award is for one year only;
the scheme is restricted to those who have just
completed their doctorate, or expect to be awarded their doctorate
in the coming year;
applicants are expected to provide a mentor to
support the fellow but in addition the institution is required
to demonstrate its commitment to the long term support and promotion
of new researchers within its research strategy;
the mentor will be a senior colleague within the
institution and will provide guidance and support for the fellow
during their award.
(c) How does the scheme deal with applications for interdisciplinary
As long as the applications are within the social science
remit, we deal with them in the same way as other applications
to the scheme, ensuring appropriate academic review.
ESRC RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS:
In answer to your questions, the ESRC has a Fellowship Scheme,
which provides for full salary support for academic social science
researchers at two stages of their careersSenior Fellowships
for those with an outstanding track record and Junior Fellowships,
for post doctoral researchers who have already demonstrated exceptional
promise. The awards can be made for up to three years.
(a) We do not analyse costs of these schemes separately
from the costs of processing all our research awards
(b) This scheme gives both senior and less experienced
researchers the opportunity to undertake a period of concentrated
research activity. Fellowships provide a significant career development
opportunity for promising researchers, who benefit from a term
in concentrated research activity and development. For more senior
researchers, the Fellowships will contribute to the achievement
of sustained high quality research knowledge and expertise.
Fellowships fund a wide variety of academic activities ranging
from further training to the consolidation of previous research.
Fellowships offer a salaried period of two to three years (five
years in exceptional circumstances) to researchers working in
all areas of social and economic science.
Fellowships may be used to consolidate previous research,
to assist theoretical and methodological development through journal
articles and to provide time to write books. Some of the time
may be used to develop skills, such as undertaking training in
advanced research methods, research management and teaching.
A minimum of extra responsibilities will be expected of the
Fellow to contribute to the development of the research field
and appropriate dissemination to non-academic audiences, such
as teaching, supervision, dissemination or networking seminars.
Each award is made for a known person based on their research
potential or their track record of excellence in research.
A Fellow with less than 10 years' post-doctoral research experience
will have a mentor within the institution who will support and
appraise the Fellow's progress annually and submit a report to
(c) All our responsive Awards, including Fellowships,
are made by a single multidisciplinary Board, the Research Grants
Board, which covers the whole of the social sciences. Interdisciplinary
applications, and applications from one or more disciplines, are
peer reviewed and evaluated on their merits.