I'm nearing the end of my graduate studies (1-1.5yrs remain) and have been looking out for post-doc opportunities. I came across the Newton Fellowships, which provide funding for up to 2 years of research work at any participating university in the UK.

The fellowship requirements seem very competitive — a full fledged project proposal and multiple independent evaluations of the said proposal, in addition to the usual requirements. However, in the end, the pay is about 24k £. They do have an 8k £ allowance for research related expenses, but that probably is reserved for publication costs, travel, computer equipment and not a personal allowance.

From my research into pay scales in the UK, the lower end of the post-doc pay scale begins at about 28-29k £. More over, there is no cost of living adjustments, so if you're in an expensive place like Oxford or London, it's definitely not sufficient.

This brings me to the question — is the fellowship prestigious enough to warrant the low pay? Does anyone have experience with this fellowship (past fellows)? Are there opportunities to supplement the income? Don't get me wrong here... I'm not in it just for the money. Like every academic, the research topic is more important for me. But at the same time, I do not want to be working for well below what's normal and have to severely pinch pockets to support a family.

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    Is it pay, or is it a stipend? If the latter, then it's tax-free, so worth a significantly higher amount as salary (this will vary, depending on your other tax arrangements). And if future Newton Fellowships still come with the £6k/yr for 10 years after, that's worth a lot too.
    – 410 gone
    Dec 9, 2012 at 19:15
  • @gerrit At this point (Dec 2012), it's reasonable to assume that I'm gunning for the 2013 deadline ;) It's an annual fellowship and they still have the old page up since the next one opens in Jan 2013
    – user4417
    Dec 9, 2012 at 20:40
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    @EnergyNumbers Oh, that's interesting! I never thought about that. In the US, stipends and salary are taxed the same (unless if non-citizens have different tax agreements). The website (and the pdf notes) don't say much more than: "They provide grants of £24,000 per annum to cover subsistence". Don't know if that counts as salary or stipend. I agree that the £6k/year for 10 years is very attractive too (although, it doesn't help support a family in the immediate future).
    – user4417
    Dec 9, 2012 at 20:43

1 Answer 1

  1. Where did you get your idea that the lower end of the post-doc pay scale starts at 28 - 29k? Most sources I've seen gives 28-29 the average pay in 2010 and 2011, and the low end near 23 - 24. (High end 35). The numbers are a bit field specific (biology tend to be around 25 - 29 for first postdocs) so I don't know whether the national average applies.

  2. According to the UCL webpage the Newton is tax free. Your stipend would fall into the 20% band were it taxable, so you should compare it to a roughly 30K starting salary for normal PostDocs.

  3. At effectively 30K, the pay is extremely competitive for early career (read first time postdoctoral position) holders, provided you don't live in London. (Oxford is not that bad.) London allowance is usually worth around 3 - 4k, so if you live in London your pay would be comparable to the lower-end of a reasonable post-doc salary (with London allowance included).

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    "Oxford is not that bad": update, Oxford is still not expensive as London, but apparently is now the least affordable place in the country, defined as the ratio of average housing/living costs (I'm not sure exactly which) to average income. Go us! Aug 9, 2016 at 8:49

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