The BP-ICAM Kathleen Lonsdale Research Fellowship

United Kingdom or United States of America
Up to £40,000, depending on experience
08 Feb 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

The BP-ICAM Kathleen Lonsdale Research Fellowship will offer a first step to build an independent research career for exceptional scientists and engineers who have a current need for flexible or special support.

The BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) was set up by BP in autumn 2012 with a $100 million investment and brings together the strengths of four world-leading universities and BP’s expertise in oil and gas to create an international centre of excellence in advanced materials research.

The academic partnership between The University of Manchester, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign combines game-changing capabilities in structural materials, corrosion, separations, surfaces, deposits, imaging, modelling and self-healing materials.

The primary criteria for assessing the BP-ICAM Kathleen Lonsdale Research Fellowship proposals will be scientific merit and fit to BP-ICAM’s remit, with research in one of the subjects mentioned below.

The BP-ICAM Kathleen Lonsdale Research Fellowship offers:

  • The possibility of a highly flexible working pattern, including part-time working, converting from full-time to part-time and back, sabbaticals and secondments;
  • The possibility of claiming limited funds to enable the applicant to take on family responsibilities, where these can be justified on scientific grounds, e.g. childcare or other caregiving costs during collaborative visits or when speaking at a conference; and
  • The possibility of claiming limited funds for special support to take care of impairment, disability or health issues.

Subjects Covered

These are related to the BP-ICAM Enduring Themes of corrosion and degradation, fouling and deposition, separations, wear and lubrication and materials systems. They also include the underpinning themes of modelling and imaging & characterisation, as well as new themes or research areas that may in future come under the BP-ICAM remit.

Eligibility Requirements

Candidates can apply to this scheme if they:

  • Have a PhD in a relevant subject, including Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Materials Science or related disciplines;
  • Are of any nationality and will be conducting their research in one of the BP-ICAM universities: The University of Manchester, Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge in the UK or the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US;
  • Can demonstrate excellence in science and in particular in one of the subjects covered above;
  • Are at an early stage of their research career (have completed their PhD but have no more than 8 years of research experience post PhD by the application deadline). Career breaks (eg. maternity/paternity/adoption leave or extended sick leave) and time spent outside the research environment will be taken into consideration; and
  • Are in current need for flexible support due to personal circumstances at the time of application and for the duration of the fellowship (eg. parenting or caring responsibilities, clinically diagnosed health issues or disabilities).


The scheme provides funding for up to 5 years for:

  • The applicant’s salary costs up to a maximum of ca. £40,000 pa depending on experience, plus estate costs and indirect costs under full economic costing;
  • Research expenses up to £15k in the first year and up to £10k annually thereafter. These research expenses can be used flexibly to support the research proposal, eg. for purchasing small equipment and consumables, use of research facilities and travel to conferences;
  • The possibility of requesting funds to broadly support career development including, but not limited to, special support for applicants with disabilities or health issues, childcare or other caregiving expenses to attend conferences, specialised training and assistance for research (up to £10k a year). These requests will be considered individually when reviewing the applications and awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Successful BP-ICAM Kathleen Lonsdale Research Fellows who are about to start their first year will be eligible to apply for a BP-ICAM Research Grant of ca. £100k. Fellows will also be encouraged and supported to apply for external research funding.

Application and Review Process

Applicants will have to submit:

  • cover letter which explains their need for flexibility and/or special support
  • CV
  • letter of support from the host institution
  • contact details for three personal referees
  • three-page research proposal, including a budget and a section demonstrating how their research will benefit BP

This should be submitted to the BP-ICAM Materials Scientist, by the 26th February 2018

Applications will initially be assessed internally and then shortlisted by members of the BP-ICAM Project Management Board (PMB). Applicants will be notified if they have reached the first shortlisting stage by the end of March 2018. 

The shortlisted proposals will be externally reviewed by three independent experts and successful applicants of this independent peer-review will be invited to an interview. Applicants will be informed of the result of this second review stage in May 2018 and interviews will take place in June 2018 at the BP-ICAM offices at The University of Manchester. 

The final decision will be made by the PMB and applicants will be notified of the result by the end of July 2018. The aim would be for the successful Kathleen Lonsdale Research Fellow to start their fellowship in October 2018.


Enquiries about the fellowship and the application process can be made to the BP-ICAM Materials Scientist John Baker at

About the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials

For more information, please visit: