Some information about Junior Research Fellowships (at Oxford
and presumably Cambridge)
Last revised: October 27th 2007. Judging from the hits this page
is getting, this is obviously helpful to people.
Junior Research Fellowships (JRFs) are usually 3-year research positions.
Each is affiliated with a specific college, and you have no direct
tie with your department. This means that your colleagues will be
coming from "all walks of academia" rather than just your scientific
discipline. It is usually well-paid and can include benefits such as
in-College housing and dining (sometimes, the JRF might only
be those benefits, given that the Fellow gets a stipend from another
source. It is then meant to "provide a College experience" to a Fellow
that wouldn't experience it otherwise). As far as I can tell, there is no
The process to apply for a JRF is markedly different from post-docs in
the US. For instance, when applying for a post-doc in math at an American
university, you will send in a Research Statement that is (hopefully)
readable by any mathematician (at least the first page/chapter). For a
JRF, your hiring committee (and competitors!) will consist mostly of
non-scientists, a few mathematicians and maybe one person from your
discipline. While you should still include some "real math" and describe
your theorems in detail, you should thus also include a substantial
for scholars from other disciplines (English, Law, etc), however hard and
awkward this can feel. Remember that you will almost certainly be
compared to someone whose field of research is "more easily described
in plain English", so make some effort!
A second important aspect is that the College (at least some of them) is
quite social, and it wouldn't hurt if you are able to share your passion
with other Fellows or guests, again not necessarily experts in even
This is certainly rarely
looked at in the mathematical academic world.
Oxford University tries to maintain a list
(link dead as of May '07, replaced by
this?) of JRFs that are available. So
Maths Institute. Unfortunately, those are not always up-to-date,
so I also advise you to consult the
Oxford University Gazette
(look for Vacancies in every single weekly issue) as well. For
look at the
You can (and should) also go through each College's website just to make
didn't miss an ad. For this, tabbed browsing combined with lists
available at Wikipedia
the Other Place)
are quite useful. The only foolproof way to do things for Oxford is to
use both the Gazette and the College websites.
The announcement dates, the deadlines, and times needed for the
application process vary a lot from College to College, so be careful...
Finally, the most definite source for all information is Tim
guide "Applying for Cambridge Research Fellowships" available on
webpage. It is equally
relevant to Oxford. I wish it to be as helpful to you as it was to me!
I would be happy to answer any questions, assuming you can figure out
how to find my email address (not listed here as spam protection).