Fellowship Programme - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I am really keen on applying for the Fellowship as I want to use the funds to support the software I am developing, would this be a valid use of the Fellowship funds?

No. The Fellowship is to support travel, workshops, policy and other things not related to paying for your time to do you work i.e. it cannot be used as salary.

However if you have software which could be aided by a free evaluation service to help your research software reach its potential and make it more sustainable then the Institute's Research Software Healthcheck may be for you.

Could you tell me a bit about what you are looking for in terms of the person? Also, on your website, is there somewhere with your mission statement or goals?

You would do well to read more about the Institute and read the existing Fellow Profiles to understand who we are and what type of people make Institute Fellows. It might also be worth reading the blog, news, and conference intelligence sections with a specific focus on looking at the events Fellows have attended and/or organised.

If you are interested you can view the recording of the webinar for the previous Fellows 2022 programme and read about what it's like being a Fellow from both a Scientist and a Humanities Scholar. These resources will also be useful to better appreciate what is involved and how you and the Institute can benefit from your Fellowship.

What we want from Fellows is based on their career stage:

E.g. for those who are mid-career (Lecturers, established RA’s or those with other Fellowships), as well as travel and reports we are looking for mid-career people to be champions of improved software practice in their communities/institutions (which ever is more relevant). They should be able to identify key software in their domain and perhaps help us determine whether we would help the software itself with a consultancy engagement (which may or may not involve a short burst of software engineering effort). Also to be involved in panels preparing policy (optionally). Ideally they will be an excellent science communicator and be passionate about their work and take an interest in the work of others and be able to talk about this. Any blogging/writing experience especially public engagement oriented will be viewed favourably. It goes without saying that they have a respectable research output (e.g. papers, workshops, software or other resources) or have made a difference with software they have developed or lead and are linked with at least one research network (e.g. of their own domain).

Would you consider someone recently retired who is much involved in on-going software development (is age, or retirement, a barrier to being considered for Fellowship)?

If you are still intending to keep up your visibility in your community (i.e. your intention is not to simply focus on development without any of the dissemination), and you continue to have a link with your previous institution (e.g. an Honorary or Visiting Fellowship), then age or retirement does not prevent you from applying, or becoming, an Institute Fellow.

I work at an organisation/institution outside of the UK, would I be eligible for this fellowship if I applied using my honorary staff position at a UK-based Research organisation?

You can apply. However you need to show clearly how you would bring benefit to the UK research community, and work towards the Institute's vision. Being based far away will make it harder to attend UK events.

I'm based outside of the UK and do not have an honorary position at a UK institution; am I eligible to apply? I believe that I can demonstrate how my work would benefit the UK research community and the Software Sustainability Institute. Attending UK events would not be a problem or significantly more costly than someone who was UK-based.​

The Fellowship Programme 2022 round will be a pilot for opening up the programme to international applicants (and will continue with the 2023 round). Because the Institute is UK-funded, applicants who are not based in the UK or who do not have a formal affiliation with a UK-based institution or office will need to demonstrate that their plans for the Fellowship cover points 1 and 2 below:

  1. Have a focus on improving UK capability, for example
    • Feeding in successful research software related initiatives/approaches from abroad into UK-based projects ("I plan to work with project A in the UK to help them incorporate approach B which my lab has been developing"), or ​​
    • Adding capacity to do particular tasks and to collaborate with UK-based teams (“I plan to collaborate with UK team Y to contribute Z”).


  1. Promote UK-based approaches abroad, for example 
    • Promoting UK-based initiatives, projects or ways of working abroad (such as promoting the Institute, RSE, credit for software, reproducibility, career paths, and skills).

We note that this is a pilot programme to help us identify and address challenges for opening and scaling up the Programme internationally in the future, particularly around finances and logistics. As such, there may be changes to eligibility subject to new information we learn along the way.

Financially, there may be exclusion of some countries/regions due to restrictions around the movement of funds. There will likely be some additional steps in the administration of funds and small discrepancies in the reimbursement of expenses due to differing currency exchange rates.

You should also demonstrate how your Fellowship can successfully deliver on its plans if there are potential challenges related to time zones, language barriers or the cost of having to travel large distances.

These are all areas that we are looking to explore and address through this pilot.

Is there anything I cannot use the Fellowship for?

Once Fellows are selected and have been allocated their funds we are normally very open to their requests for travel or other activities as long as they aid the Fellow and the goals of the Institute in some way. So we tend to deal with requests on a case by case basis. One of the things which is not a valid expense is computing equipment (e.g. laptops and desktops) and would only fund specialist software licenses if there was a robust case made as to how this would aid the work of the Fellow and further the goals of the Institute.

You can view the list of example eligible expenses for Fellowship funds here and view the Fellowship Programme 2022 Terms and Conditions here (note that each Fellowship cohort has its own terms and conditions document detailing the relationship between the SSI and Fellows).

My question was not addressed, what do I do?

Please email us at fellows-management@software.ac.uk and we will get back to you.

Back to the Fellowship Programme landing page

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