JRF: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Queries Concerning Eligibility

Q1. I am in the ninth year of a PhD. I previously took 2 MA-level degrees and spent three years in a job related to my research. I want to apply for a Trinity fellowship this year, although I do not plan to submit my PhD until early in 2021. Am I eligible and are there any restrictions about what I can submit as a fellowship dissertation?

You are eligible (you would be even if it were the ninetieth year of your PhD!), and you may submit whatever you wish as your dissertation. You should bear in mind, however, that, in making our selection, we take into account the length of time a candidate has had to prepare for and work at his or her subject.

Q2. I submitted my PhD on October 28, 2019, but I did not have my viva until March 2020. Am I eligible to compete?

No, you miss being eligible by 3 days. We consider only the time of submission, not when the viva took place.

Q3. I became a PhD student on 1 October 2015. I submitted my PhD in July this year (2020). Am I eligible to compete and are there any restrictions on what I can submit as a dissertation?

You are eligible to compete but your dissertation must be your PhD thesis.

Q4. (following on from previous question) My viva is scheduled for early October, but after it I may have a number of corrections to make to my thesis. Should I submit the original or the corrected version?

If, before you submit your dissertation to us, you have submitted the final, corrected version of your thesis to your university, you may submit it as your dissertation. Otherwise, you must submit the version you submitted for the PhD examination. You should NOT submit any additional material unless it forms part of the PhD dissertation as submitted to the university for examination or as a final version after correction.

Q6. After my first degree, in September 2015, I took up a job outside higher education in a company for which I undertook an engineering research project. I should like to compete for a fellowship and I am able, if asked, to submit a dissertation about my research. Am I eligible?

You need to ask the Secretary to the Electors if you are eligible before or when you apply. Since you have had only about four years from your first degree, there is a chance that you will be allowed to compete.

Q7. I submitted my dissertation in April and am expecting to have my viva during the summer. But I am due to give birth in October and plan to take a break from research for the academic year 2020-21. I should therefore like to apply for the Trinity research fellowship in 2021: is it possible to extend my eligibility in view of my maternity leave?

No, your eligibility cannot be extended. But if you compete in 2020, you need not take up the fellowship until October 2021 or, in effect, later, if you wish.

Q8. Can I submit my sample of work, and if successful, my dissertation in a foreign language?

Your sample of work must be submitted in English. However, you must seek approval from the Secretary to the Electors to submit your dissertation in a foreign language before submitting your application.

Q9. Can JRF applicants, if eligible yet unsuccessful, apply again next year?

Yes, as long as your meet the eligibility requirements.

Q10. I am not a UK national and so have no automatic right to work in the UK. Am I eligible to compete?

Yes, you are eligible. We do not take nationality and questions about right to work into account in awarding the fellowships. If you win a fellowship, we shall advise you about the procedure for obtaining permission to work. So far, no one elected to a Junior Research Fellowship has been refused permission to work in the UK. We can, however, give no guarantee that a work permit will be given in any particular case, and we shall not be able to give you the stipend and rights of a Research Fellow if you do not have one.

Q11. I shall be submitting my thesis, in German, on the early history of analytic philosophy to the Humboldt University, Berlin in December this year (2020). Am I eligible to compete in the Trinity JRF competition, and can I send in a chapter of my thesis for shortlisting and, if I am successful, the whole draft thesis (which will be about 180,000 words) as my dissertation?

You are indeed eligible. For shortlisting, you must submit a piece in English. Although we have no formal word limit for the dissertation, you may find your dissertation is more competitive if you trim it to 100,000 words or fewer. If none the less you choose to submit the whole draft, you will need to indicate the 100,000 word section(s) you regard as most important, and your referees may look at only this part of your work. You must ask for special permission from the Secretary to the Electors if you want to submit the dissertation in German. Since anyone working on the early history of analytic philosophy needs to know German, it is likely that you will be given permission, although the Secretary must also be sure that it will be practicably possible for your work to compete fairly.

Q12. (following on from the previous question) Actually, at the same time as writing my thesis in German, I am writing a book on the same subject, but taking a rather different approach, in English. I would prefer to submit this if it’s ready in time. Is it all right, then, for me to leave things until I know whether or not I am shortlisted, and, if I am, and the English draft book is not ready, I shall then ask for permission to submit in German?

No, you must ask now, before or when you apply, for special permission to submit in a language other than English. If you are given permission, you are still free to submit something in English, of course.

Queries Concerning the Application Form

Q1. What should I include on my CV?

You will be asked to upload the following documents in pdf format:

  1. A curriculum vitae, including a list of publications (if any) and a full account of post-school education (with results e.g. class of degree) and employment (excluding vacation jobs). The last part of the curriculum vitae must include a statement (in about 1000 words) of your current research and the scope of the dissertation that you intend to submit should you be short-listed.
  2. A sample of your work, with an explanation of its place in your current and projected research work. A sample of work could be a chapter from your dissertation, or published article or articles, up to about 10,000 words. If you wish to submit more than one article, they should be merged into one file. This sample is supposed to show the intellectual qualities of your work. You should avoid submitting, for instance, an introductory chapter of a dissertation which is mainly a survey of previous work or an announcement of your ideas in general terms. You are welcome to add a short explanation of how the piece or pieces you are submitting fit into the plan of your dissertation as a whole. Please note that your application and the work submitted for shortlisting must be in English

Q2. I have two research supervisors for my PhD. Would it be possible for one to act as my Research Supervisor and the other as a Testimonial Referee for my JRF application?

No. The testimony from your research supervisor can come from one or the other of them, or be a joint document from two of them, but your testimonial referees must be different from any of your supervisors.

Q2b. Can a member of my supervisory/advisory committee, or an external PhD examiner, act as a Testimonial Referee?

Such people, knowing your work well, would be suitable, so long as they have not actively directed/designed your research: it would be inappropriate to ask them to comment on their own work.

Q3. My PhD supervisor has died. Can you tell me what steps I should take as far as the form concerning the supervisor?

We recommend that you nominate someone who is suitably familiar with your PhD research to complete the supervisor reference. You should ask this person to explain the circumstances and to offer an assessment of you as a candidate in line with the supervisor’s views.

Q4. Do the two testimonial references have to be personally acquainted with me, or are their testimonials solely concerned with giving testimony to the nature of my work?

Testimonial Referees should be those who know your academic work well. The Committee would like to receive information regarding your research work; in particular, they are looking for an assessment of its quality, to assist them in deciding whether you should be invited to submit a dissertation.

Q5. My referee(s) will be out of the country with limited connection until the end of August. Will a late reference letter be acceptable?

We recommend that you contact the Secretary to the Electors with details about your referee’s situation for approval.

Q6. What exactly do you mean by the submission date for the PhD? Is it the initial submission before the viva, or is it the final submission after the viva and corrections?

The exact submission date is the moment when the thesis is officially submitted for examination.

Q7. I worked a few of temporary jobs before completing my degree programs. None of these jobs had any relevance to my academic pursuits. Does the college still want me to list them on my CV?

Your CV should exclude any summer jobs as the assessors are mostly interested in your academic qualifications and research. A Junior Research Fellowship should be your first substantial, paid academic teaching or research post.

Queries Concerning the Submission of Work

Q1. As well as a short dissertation, which I shall submit if short-listed, I have 5 articles published in prestigious journals. Will they be taken into account in the competition?

The Electors do try to take into account the extent of publications. But it is only the material that is formally submitted which goes to expert referees, and it is their assessments which are the most important factor in our decisions.

Q2. We are told to submit a piece of about 10,000 words for shortlisting. Do I need to count footnotes and bibliography?

The 10,000 words is just an approximate guideline, if an article has an extra 1000 or 2000 words of references (or even if it happens to be 11,000 or 12,000 words of text), that’s not a problem.

Q3. I’m unsure why a statement of proposed research isn’t mentioned (it would seem even more relevant than the doctoral work I’m about to finish). I’d be grateful if you could clarify for me the requirements re statements of research.

We do in fact ask for plans about proposed research from those short-listed, although the selection rarely takes much account of it. Historically, our JRFs derive from ‘prize’ fellowships, which were given purely as a reward for academic achievement, without obligations or expectations about further research. Although we do now certainly require that JRFs engage in research, we still take the view that the best research follows its own course, which is hard to determine in advance. A JRF is not like a research grant, where you are being paid to carry out a particular project. It is a personal award, to someone whose past performance has given reason to be thought outstanding.

Q4. If one were to be shortlisted in the competition, would there be any problem with submitting a fellowship dissertation that contained the ~10,000 word sample work submitted in the first stage of the competition?

This is fine; you can submit an appropriate chapter of a doctoral thesis provided it is not the introductory chapter and then submit the same thesis in the second stage.

Q5. Can the sample of my work be about a similar topic (or even the same topic to that of my dissertation?

Yes.

Other Queries

Q1. I understand that according to the terms of the JRF, fellows under Title A receive a stipend from the College less any emolument received from a source outside College. However, what happens in the event that a successful applicant has an emolument from external sources that is greater than the JRF stipend?

If a Junior Research Fellow receives an emolument from external sources that is greater than the JRF stipend, the person would not receive a stipend from Trinity College but the various other privileges may continue (subject to residence, Council approval etc).

Q2. I read that in case I was elected for the fellowship, I could take advantage of a preliminary benefit period to start working at the University before 1 October 2021. Can this period be of 6 months?

This period can be 6 months.

Queries Concerning Eligibility

You are eligible (you would be even if it were the ninetieth year of your PhD!), and you may submit whatever you wish as your dissertation. You should bear in mind, however, that, in making our selection, we take into account the length of time a candidate has had to prepare for and work at his or her subject.

No, you miss being eligible by 3 days. We consider only the time of submission, not when the viva took place.

If, before you submit your dissertation to us, you have submitted the final, corrected version of your thesis to your university, you may submit it as your dissertation. Otherwise, you must submit the version you submitted for the PhD examination. You should NOT submit any additional material unless it forms part of the PhD dissertation as submitted to the university for examination or as a final version after correction.

You need to ask the Secretary to the Electors if you are eligible before or when you apply. Since you have had only about four years from your first degree, there is a chance that you will be allowed to compete.

Your sample of work must be submitted in English. However, you must seek approval from the Secretary to the Electors to submit your dissertation in a foreign language before submitting your application.

Yes, as long as your meet the eligibility requirements.

Yes, you are eligible. We do not take nationality and questions about right to work into account in awarding the fellowships. If you win a fellowship, we shall advise you about the procedure for obtaining permission to work. So far, no one elected to a Junior Research Fellowship has been refused permission to work in the UK. We can, however, give no guarantee that a work permit will be given in any particular case, and we shall not be able to give you the stipend and rights of a Research Fellow if you do not have one.

You are indeed eligible. For shortlisting, you must submit a piece in English. Although we have no formal word limit for the dissertation, you may find your dissertation is more competitive if you trim it to 100,000 words or fewer. If none the less you choose to submit the whole draft, you will need to indicate the 100,000 word section(s) you regard as most important, and your referees may look at only this part of your work. You must ask for special permission from the Secretary to the Electors if you want to submit the dissertation in German. Since anyone working on the early history of analytic philosophy needs to know German, it is likely that you will be given permission, although the Secretary must also be sure that it will be practicably possible for your work to compete fairly.

Queries Concerning the Application Form

You will be asked to upload the following documents in pdf format:

  1. A curriculum vitae, including a list of publications (if any) and a full account of post-school education (with results e.g. class of degree) and employment (excluding vacation jobs). The last part of the curriculum vitae must include a statement (in about 1000 words) of your current research and the scope of the dissertation that you intend to submit should you be short-listed.
  2. A sample of your work, with an explanation of its place in your current and projected research work. A sample of work could be a chapter from your dissertation, or published article or articles, up to about 10,000 words. If you wish to submit more than one article, they should be merged into one file. This sample is supposed to show the intellectual qualities of your work. You should avoid submitting, for instance, an introductory chapter of a dissertation which is mainly a survey of previous work or an announcement of your ideas in general terms. You are welcome to add a short explanation of how the piece or pieces you are submitting fit into the plan of your dissertation as a whole. Please note that your application and the work submitted for shortlisting must be in English

No. The testimony from your research supervisor can come from one or the other of them, or be a joint document from two of them, but your testimonial referees must be different from any of your supervisors.

We recommend that you nominate someone who is suitably familiar with your PhD research to complete the supervisor reference. You should ask this person to explain the circumstances and to offer an assessment of you as a candidate in line with the supervisor’s views.

Testimonial Referees should be those who know your academic work well. The Committee would like to receive information regarding your research work; in particular, they are looking for an assessment of its quality, to assist them in deciding whether you should be invited to submit a dissertation.

We recommend that you contact the Secretary to the Electors with details about your referee’s situation for approval.

Your CV should exclude any summer jobs as the assessors are mostly interested in your academic qualifications and research. A Junior Research Fellowship should be your first substantial, paid academic teaching or research post.

Queries Concerning the Submission of Work

The Electors do try to take into account the extent of publications. But it is only the material that is formally submitted which goes to expert referees, and it is their assessments which are the most important factor in our decisions.

The 10,000 words is just an approximate guideline, if an article has an extra 1000 or 2000 words of references (or even if it happens to be 11,000 or 12,000 words of text), that’s not a problem.

We do in fact ask for plans about proposed research from those short-listed, although the selection rarely takes much account of it. Historically, our JRFs derive from ‘prize’ fellowships, which were given purely as a reward for academic achievement, without obligations or expectations about further research. Although we do now certainly require that JRFs engage in research, we still take the view that the best research follows its own course, which is hard to determine in advance. A JRF is not like a research grant, where you are being paid to carry out a particular project. It is a personal award, to someone whose past performance has given reason to be thought outstanding.

This is fine; you can submit an appropriate chapter of a doctoral thesis provided it is not the introductory chapter and then submit the same thesis in the second stage.