Postdoctoral prize fellowship

The Society for French Studies is pleased to announce a new scheme directed at postdoctoral researchers in recognition of the very difficult employment situation for those who have completed a PhD in French. In the first instance this is intended to run every two years, alternately with the existing Prize research fellowship scheme aimed at researchers in permanent posts. The scheme will be reviewed in about 12 months.

The award offers the fellow an opportunity to develop their research profile over a period of six months (during which the fellow will be paid at a rate equivalent to a lectureship at the lowest point of the Junior Lecturer scale, to include gross salary, National Insurance, superannuation and a London allowance where applicable). The fellow may also choose to spread the award over 12 months (at 0.5 FTE).

The scheme was last open for applications in 2020. Further rounds will be announced on this page in due course.

2020 awards

We are pleased to announce that two early career researchers have received awards in the 2020 round of the scheme. Polly Galis will take up her fellowship at the University of Bristol, where she will develop a project on sex workers' narratives; Giulia Boitani will be based at the University of Cambridge where she will turn her thesis into a book (Family Matters: Founding Women in Medieval French Prose Romances).

Congratulations, Polly and Giulia!


Applications will only be accepted from those who are not full-time permanent employees of a Higher Education Institute, and who have not already received a fully-funded early career fellowship (e.g. British Academy, Leverhulme or Institutional JRF) of a period exceeding one year.

Applicants must be within five years of the award of a doctorate in the field of French studies (for this year's scheme, this means being awarded via a viva voce examination between 30 December 2014 and 30 December 2019). The Society will make allowances for special circumstances, e.g. documented periods of maternity or sickness leave.

Applicants must be supported by the UK host institution in which they wish to hold the Fellowship.

Applicants must be a member of the Society.

Applicants must be either a UK/EEA national, or have completed a doctorate at a UK university.


The overriding criteria for selection are (i) the potential of the proposed research to result in a major contribution that will enhance the standing of French Studies; (ii) the academic standing and achievements of the applicant, taking into account their current career stage, supported by reference and examiners’ report; (iii) institutional support.

The research may involve bringing to publication all or parts of the doctoral thesis and/or post-doctoral work.

How to apply

Applicants are invited to send a research proposal with a maximum length of 1,500 words, together with a CV, letter of support, reference and reports to the President of the Society, Judith Still, by 30 December 2019. This should specify the timetable for production of outputs, and the choice to take one semester fully-funded (equivalent to a lectureship at the lowest point of the Junior Lecturer scale, to include gross salary, National Insurance, superannuation and a London allowance where applicable) or to spread the award (funded at 0.5 FTE) over 12 months.

All applications must be accompanied by:

- one reference plus the full PhD examiners’ report (pre- and post-viva);

- a letter of support from the Head of Department, Dean or other managerial post-holder to specify that the Fellowship can be taken up in their department of Modern Languages and that they will provide appropriate support including mentoring, access to training courses, office accommodation and facilities. It is assumed that candidates who choose to take one semester fully-funded will not do more than 2-3 hours teaching per week; while those who are choosing to take the award over 12 months may be invited to do more as long as this is compatible with the demands of the research and writing specified in the application. All teaching should be paid separately by the institution at the appropriate hourly rate.

Those seeking exemption from the 'within 5 years of PhD' eligibility criterion should also supply a covering letter explaining the relevant circumstances.

The support of the Society for French Studies should be acknowledged in the publication(s) produced on the basis of the work carried out during the period of the award.

The decision will be made by April for a grant which will begin on 1 September 2020.

Feedback is not a feature of Society for French Studies schemes, and the Society is, regretfully, unable to enter into correspondence regarding the decisions of the awarding committee. Please note that by applying to this scheme, applicants undertake to accept the terms under which applications are assessed.