Mildred Blaxter postdoctoral fellowships

This award is named for Professor Mildred Blaxter, a previous editor of the journal Sociology of Health and Illness, in recognition of her contribution to the discipline.

The award provides support for individuals who have recently completed a PhD in the field of the sociology of health and illness, to enable them to disseminate findings of their thesis through publications and presentations, and/or to develop a new programme of work related to their thesis. Successful applicants are expected to produce substantive outputs in terms of high-quality publications and grant applications, to put themselves in a position to apply for ESRC New Investigator Grants, NIHR Postdoctoral Fellowships, or equivalent awards from the British Academy, Wellcome Trust and other funding bodies.

The award provides full salary costs for one year (including on-costs but not estate or indirect costs), usually at spine point 30 as appropriate, plus £2,500 for research and/or conference expenses. London weighting will be payable where appropriate.

The awards are tenable at any university in the United Kingdom that can provide appropriate support for a postdoctoral fellow working in the field of sociology of heath and illness. This may include social science, healthcare and medical departments.

Applicants are also asked to identify a mentor who will provide support throughout their fellowship in relation to both their research endeavours and overall career development. The mentor will normally be employed by the university at which the fellowship is held, but in exceptional circumstances may be based elsewhere.

Usually two fellowships are awarded each year, with deadlines in March and October; this is dependent on the Foundation’s income and is usually confirmed a minimum of three months before the deadline.

Deadlines for applications
31 October 2017 (for an early 2018 start)
31 March 2018 (for a mid-2018 start)

Applications will be considered from individuals who have been awarded a PhD in the field of sociology of health and illness by a UK university and who meet the following criteria:

  • The PhD must be awarded on the basis of a research thesis; those with a PhD by publication are not eligible to apply.
  • The applicant must have been awarded the degree at the point of application.
  • The fellowship is intended to support individuals in their first postdoctoral post but the applicant may normally have up to one year’s active experience from the date of award of their PhD (pro rata for part-time experience) at the time of application. In exceptional circumstances (e.g. maternity leave or prolonged absence due to illness), applicants may be allowed more than one year’s post-PhD experience. Applicants should provide details of this on the relevant part of the form, and are encouraged to discuss this with the Foundation in advance of their application.
  • Any new research proposed should be in the field of the sociology of health and illness.
  • The application must be supported by the head of a department that can provide an appropriate research environment for a postdoctoral fellow working in the field of the sociology of health and illness, and by a mentor who is able to provide appropriate support and encouragement for the fellow.
  • The applicant must not have made a previous application for this fellowship.

Mildred Blaxter Post-Doctoral Fellowships can only be held in a UK university but awards will not be restricted to UK or EU citizens. The fellowship need not be held in the university which awarded the PhD.

Trustees will not be eligible for awards, but other members of their departments will not be excluded from applying.

Application procedure and criteria for assessment
An application should be made by the recent PhD graduate, using the application form provided below, and signed off by the nominated mentor, the head of department (or equivalent), and an appropriate university finance officer or similar at the UK university where the Mildred Blaxter postdoctoral fellowship is to be held.

The application should outline the work to be undertaken and the expected outputs, in terms of specific publications and grant applications. If ethics approval is required for the planned programme of work, please indicate the ethics committee to which you intend to apply.

Please supply the names of two external referees. Since assessment of the application will be based in part on the quality of the PhD, at least one of these referees should be the external examiner of the thesis.

Where the applicant is also applying for other postdoctoral fellowships, this should be indicated on the application form, and the Trustees notified of the outcomes of other applications as soon as they are announced. If another application is successful, the applicant will be expected to withdraw from the Foundation awards.

Applications will be considered by a panel of three Trustees of the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, using the following criteria:

  • the quality of the applicant’s PhD;
  • the contribution to the sociology of health and illness likely to arise from the planned dissemination and/or the proposed new research; and
  • the feasibility of the activities proposed for the award period.

Decisions are normally made within eight weeks of the deadline for receipt of applications, and applicants will be informed as soon as possible after a decision has been made. The Trustees regret that they cannot give feedback on applications or the reasons for unsuccessful applications.

Application form
Download the application form below. Please send the completed form electronically to and send one signed hard copy to:

Professor Joan Busfield
Treasurer, Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness
Department of Sociology
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park


Post-award procedures
The institution at which the award is held should invoice the Foundation for salary costs and claim reimbursement for research expenses up to a maximum of £2,500 within three months of the end of the award. Invoices should be sent to Professor Joan Busfield, at the above address.

Postdoctoral fellows supported by a Mildred Blaxter postdoctoral fellowship should acknowledge this in any conference presentations or publications arising from it, using the following phrasing:

This work is/was supported by a Mildred Blaxter postdoctoral fellowship from the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness.

A logo will be provided for PowerPoint presentations and posters.

The award holder should provide a short (500-word) report, together with a list of publications, presentations and grant applications, at the end of the fellowship. This should be sent to Professor Joan Busfield, at the address above.

Terms and conditions
Full details of the terms and conditions of the award can be downloaded at the bottom of the page. Acceptance of the award will be deemed to constitute acceptance of these terms and conditions.

In the interests of transparency and to encourage further applications, successful applications will be listed on the Foundation website.

Previous Awards
Details on the work of previous award holders can be found in our past awards section.

Downloads and further information
Please address any questions to