Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - DIFERENS2 (Durham International Fellowships for Research and Enterprise)

The Durham International Fellowships for Research and Enterprise 2 (DIFeREns2) provide fellowships across all areas of the natural sciences, social sciences and the arts and humanities for both early-career and established researchers seeking to address challenging problems. They allow academics to access the unique specialist research facilities that Durham University has to offer including specialist collections, supercomputers and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron microscopy facilities, wind tunnels, the Boulby mine, sleep lab, visualisation suite and Palace Green Library.

There are five main objectives of the DIFeREns2 programme. These are to

• Develop the careers of both emerging and established leading academics
• Strengthen Durham University’s research base
• Increase opportunities for academics worldwide to access Durham University’s research resources
• Establish collaborative transnational links and build international networks of scholars
• Deliver world class research

The DIFeREns2 scheme is composed of a Junior Research Fellowship, aimed at emerging talent and three Senior Fellowship schemes for established researchers: a Senior Research Fellowship, Policy & Enterprise Fellowship and the IAS Fellowship. Collectively these Fellowships provide the opportunity for academics from across the world to undertake research projects of their own design at Durham University and thereby meet the programme objectives.

A dedicated DIFeREns2 webpage has been created: and two calls for Fellowships have been publicized on: the EURAXESS jobs portal;; the DIFeREns2 and main University websites; by advertisements in relevant media with inter-disciplinary and global reach; through the Matariki Network of leading research universities (based in seven countries); on online message boards; by a personal letter from the Vice-Chancellor to his counterparts at the top 200 universities in the world; via professional societies in European countries; through personal contacts of all academic staff in the University; and using the main University social media accounts such as Twitter. As with reported in the DIFeREns programme (2010-2014) traditional print media and EURAXESS have been ineffective as recruitment tools, eliciting single figure application numbers, compared with online media such as, ResearchGate etc.

Over the two rigorous recruitment cycles of the programme applications have been received from across the world. Application numbers for the Junior Research Fellowship have been around 275 in the two rounds. Similarly the Senior Research Fellowships have received between 35 – 40 applications in the two rounds. By targeting a global audience awards have been made to applicants from: Asia, Australasia, Europe, Middle East, North America, South America and Durham University has awarded: 39 Junior Research Fellowships, 47 Senior Fellowships and 25 IAS Fellowships.

JRFs: Round 1 (2015-17)
- 18 Fellows accepted and took up the position in reporting period
- 1 Fellow declined
JRFs: Round 2 (2016-18)
- 18 Fellows accepted the Fellowship
- Of which 6 took up the Fellowship in reporting period
- 1 deferred to start at a later date
- 1 declined the Fellowship

SFs: Round 1 (2015-16)
- 24 took up the position in reporting period
- 1 deferred to start at a later date
SFs: Round 2 (2016-17)
- 22 accepted the Fellowship of which
- 7 have taken up the position in the reporting period
- 15 commence in the following reporting period

IAS: Round 1 (2015-16)
- 12 accepted and took up the Fellowship in the reporting period
- 1 Fellowship declined
IAS: Round 2 (2016-17)
- 12 accepted the Fellowship in next reporting period

Appointments to the scheme have been made on merit. The gender split of successful applicants has been proportional to the number of applications received

JRF Applicants: 62% male 38% female
JRF Appointments: 72% male 18% female

SRF Applicants: 67% male 33% female
SRF Appointments: 68% male 32% female

As an equal opportunities employer Durham University seeks to embrace diversity by promoting and maintaining an inclusive and supportive work and study environment that enables all members of our University community to achieve their full potential. To promote this a scheme specific Equality and Diversity page has been created: which is augmented by a Frequently Asked Questions Page: . Furthermore, to ensure a fair selection process, selection and interview panels have a mix of genders represented.

In measuring the success of the scheme Fellows have reported participating in over a large number (50+) noteworthy academic activities (such as symposia, lectures, seminars). At this stage publications are limited owing to submission times. Fellows are asked to acknowledge the COFUNDing of the scheme by the EU and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Furthermore, the scheme is contributing to the development of international networks of scholars, which working with the International Office the University is seeking to embed.

A dedicated DIFeREns team, housed within the University’s Institute of Advanced Study administers the day-to-day running of the scheme. This team handles the full process from the advertisement of calls to the embedding of links post-Fellowship and acts as the first point of call for all Fellows. This team can be contacted at:

• COFUND Team, Durham University, Institute of Advanced Study, Cosin’s Hall, Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RL
• Tel: +44 (0) 191 3344685
• Fax: +44 (0) 191 3344699
• E-mail:
• Website:

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United Kingdom


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