Postdoctoral recruitment and employment

Postdoctoral Fellows

EMBL-EBI-Sanger postdoctoral fellowships

The EBI–Sanger Postdoctoral (ESPOD) Programme builds on the collaborative relationship between EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, offering projects that combine experimental (wet-lab) and computational (dry-lab) approaches.

Located on the Wellcome Genome Campus: their proximity fosters great opportunities for close collaborations. Our researchers have easy access to scientific expertise, well-equipped facilities and an active seminar programme.

Predefined projects

Applicants may select their project from the predefined areas listed on the link below. Fellowships are be awarded after a competitive selection process, with applications being linked to specific projects defined in advance of the application deadline.

To apply visit:

Application process 

The call for ESPOD applications opened on 2 August 2021.

Applications should include:

A cover letter specifying the project you are applying for (pre-defined or proposed by the applicant)

  • Your Curriculum Vitae
  • Two recent letters of reference

Key dates:

  • 12 September 2021: Call for candidates closed
  • November 2021: Candidate interviews (held virtually)

Postdoctoral Fellows at the Sanger Institute

We welcome applications and approaches from committed and talented individuals who would like to spend time at the Sanger Institute as part of their postdoctoral training. There are a number of routes in:

  1. Applying for advertised positions on our website and in the scientific press. Current opportunities can be found on the Sanger Jobsite where you can also register your interest in future opportunities by setting up a profile.
  2. Approaching Faculty members directly, particularly where you already have well-developed ideas on a research direction.
  3. Obtaining your own fellowship with the sponsorship of a Sanger Institute Faculty member. All Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs) are encouraged to seek their own independent funding either prior to their arrival or once at the Institute.
  4. Applying for the Janet Thornton Fellowship, if you have had a break from scientific research for one year or more.


Generally Postdoctoral Fellow (PDF) applicants will have recently completed their PhD or first postdoc and be seeking a period of early career research training. This distinguishes them from PhD qualified individuals following other career pathways. They may also be medically qualified individuals wishing to spend more time in research as part of their broader scientific training, after completing their PhD or an equivalent qualification. PDF positions are not intended for more experienced or established scientists.

PDFs may be in their first or second post doctoral position or other variation but must satisfy the training criteria. Some will have recently completed their PhD; others will already have held a postdoctoral position elsewhere. No PDF is likely therefore to be more than 6 – 7 years post-PhD by the end of their appointment. PDF positions are not intended for more experienced or established scientists.

Being employed by the Institute

The Sanger Institute has developed a career model for its PDFs.The model is underpinned by a workforce agreement which covers all PDF fixed-term contracts and will be provided to each PDF upon appointment. PDFs hold time-limited positions typically of up to 3 years duration and with a maximum length set at five years. Periods on third party funding will count towards these limits and should normally be contained within PDF tenure.

Typically, PDFs will be carrying out original research within a defined scientific area in a Faculty team. They may also be contributing on a broader level to large-scale and flagship projects. This distinguishes them from roles with more defined parameters which fulfill a longer-term requirement for a certain type and level of input, for example running significant elements of a team’s activities, performing a recognised specialist and enduring role within a team or working as part of a research facility to meet the needs of other programmes.

In order to facilitate the transfer of postdocs between employers in the academic sector, the Sanger Institute operates a dedicated PDF incremental pay scale. Pay on appointment will take into account a range of factors including nature and extent of postdoctoral experience, academic and research record, publications and other scientific achievements. PDFs will receive incremental increases with the rate of progression, determined by an individual’s level of contribution. In common with other staff, this will be assessed as part of the salary review each year with revised rates of pay taking effect on 1 January each year. Individuals who have submitted their thesis, but who have not yet had their PhD awarded, will be placed on a transitional pay point pending confirmation of their degree.

PDFs on a contract of employment will be entitled to the full range of benefits. PDFs on third party fellowships may receive a differing level of benefits due to a number of factors – taxation laws, terms of the fellowship etc – and individuals opting for this route are advised to contact the Human Resources team to discuss further.