An early career fellowship has been aimed primarily at researchers who already hold a salaried position at a university or research institute.
The funding, provided by the Independent Social Research Foundation, is to support interdisciplinary work that is unlikely to be funded from other sources.
A senior academic said that it was “not unusual” for a fellowship to be funded in this way, but added that there could be some “worthy candidates” without jobs who may not apply.
The ISRF-funded role offers up to £50,000 for a scholar at an early career stage to pursue their research full time for up to 12 months.
“The amount will be offered to buy out the costs of replacing all teaching and associated administration in the applicant’s home institution,” says the job advert.
“The applicant should normally hold a salaried position at an institution of higher education and research, and be within 10 years of PhD award,” it adds.
Stuart Wilson, administrator at the ISRF, said: “The ISRF considers that the institutional environment provides the best setting and support network for interdisciplinary research across the social sciences.”
“Separately to our early and mid-career fellowship competitions, we have also run independent scholar fellowship competitions, aimed at those doing academic research but not working within academia,” he added.
David Voas, head of the department of social science at the UCL Institute of Education, said: “A couple of different funders have fellowships like this. It is not unusual for some to be framed in such a way that they support some of the costs but not all.”
He added that “there could be some worthy candidates who do not have jobs that would be interested. But it is a matter of the funder making a decision on the best use of their funds,” adding that it would cost more to create a whole new fixed-term position.
Professor Voas also said that the fellowship was “very appealing” as it was open-ended and allowed junior academics to pursue their own ideas, which is relatively rare. The vast majority of contract research positions involve work on projects that have already been defined, he added.
Recent research has highlighted that scholars at the start of their careers face “severe extra costs and fewer rewards” if they pursue interdisciplinary research.
Mr Wilson said that the ISRF hoped that by awarding buy-out funding it could encourage the view that interdisciplinary research is valued and valuable. “There should be little risk attached to submitting interdisciplinary proposals to a funding body which is not only receptive to them but actively encourages them,” he added.