Having been approached for comments on the Independent Social Research Foundation’s latest early career fellowship competition, I was surprised to find that the resulting article, “Early career fellowship offered to ‘salaried’ academic” (News, 2 February), placed an unexpected emphasis on the fact that this particular competition is aimed primarily at academics in permanent posts working within academia. I would like to clarify some of the details of our scheme.
Our current early career fellowship competition, which closes on 3 March, is – contrary to the report – open to independent scholars, and applications will also be considered from those on part-time or temporary contracts.
The ISRF, although still a relative newcomer to the social science research funding scene, has already established itself as one of the few supporters of truly interdisciplinary social science research, and through a range of competitive funding mechanisms the foundation has been able to support early and mid-career researchers, as well as independent scholars working outside academia.
While recognising that a considerable proportion of applications for fellowship buyouts will likely come from those working within academia, the foundation has taken care not to exclude those who find themselves working part-time or on temporary/ fixed-term contracts, or indeed outside the academy altogether.
To date, the foundation has run three fellowship competitions aimed solely at independent scholars; furthermore, two independent scholars have successfully won awards competing against fields of, for the most part, “salaried” academics.
Independent Social Research Foundation, London