Janet Thornton Postdoctoral Fellowship

At the Wellcome Sanger Institute, we are committed to enabling and opening routes back into science for those who have had a break from scientific research - for any reason.

We understand that even a short time out of research can have an impact on your career, which is why we have created a postdoctoral fellowship providing an additional opportunity specifically for those who have been out of scientific research for 12 months or more to return to high-quality postdoctoral training. One Fellowship will be awarded each year. Each Fellowship will last for three years and can be worked full time, part-time or flexibly.

While the Sanger Institute provides the opportunity in its recruitment processes for job applicants to declare career breaks (taken for any reason) so that they can be taken into account when assessing applications for all roles, particularly in relation to the potential impact of time out on individuals' scientific and career outputs, this fellowship will be open exclusively to those who have taken a career break of 12 months or more. 

One Janet Thornton Fellowship is awarded each year following a competitive selection process.

What's included?

This postdoctoral Fellowship is for a duration of three years, can be worked full time, part time or flexibly at the Sanger Institute on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton near Cambridge and includes:

  • Salary currently  - £32,375 – £40,586
  • Research expenses, including generous consumables and travel costs for conferences and training courses
  • Access to training and support resources from across the organisation
  • Access to the University of Cambridge Careers Service
  • Generous and flexible benefits


The Janet Thornton Fellowship is open to scientists who: 

  • have had a break from scientific research, of 12 continuous months or more, for any reason
  • are not currently working in scientific research
  • have at least one years' postdoctoral experience
  • will be able to start within 6 months of being offered the role

Application Process

Fellowships will be awarded after a competitive selection process, with applicants applying to one of these broad projects. Applicants are encouraged to make contact with the named supervisor.

Please provide: 

  • a covering letter
  • a current CV
  • the names of two referees
  • the project you are applying for
  • the reason(s) for your break from scientific research.
  • A career development plan

Essential Skills

  • PhD in a relevant subject area 
  • Knowledge of a range of research techniques and methodologies in experimental/computational areas 
  • Research expertise in an area that will complement and enhance the Institute’s research strategy and goals 
  • Ability to develop research objectives, projects and proposals for own and joint research, with the assistance of a mentor if required 
  • Experience of carrying out both independent and collaborative research 
  • Ability to plan and prioritise own work in order to meet deadlines, including using initiative to plan research programmes 
  • Highly developed communication skills to engage effectively with a wide-ranging audience, both orally and in writing, using a range of media 
  • Interest in and enthusiasm for the subject matter of the project 
  • Commitment to personal development and updating of knowledge and skills 
  • Working collaboratively with others and building working relationships with stakeholders at all levels 
  • Demonstrates inclusivity and respect for all

Other information

The deadline for initial applications to the project outline is Friday 10 July 2020. The project Faculty lead will then work with one selected candidate to further develop the proposal, with a deadline of Friday 18 September 2020 for final submission. The final stage shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview in November 2020 to discuss their application in more detail.

If you have questions about what is included in the Fellowship or about your eligibility please email Dr Saher Ahmed.

We are committed to creating an environment where everyone can fulfil their potential and thrive. We welcome and encourage applications from all parts of the community. If you require reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process, please contact the recruitment team.

About Wellcome Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world-leading genomics research centre. We undertake large-scale research that forms the foundations of knowledge in biology and medicine. Our findings are used to improve health and to understand life on Earth. Find out more at www.sanger.ac.uk or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInYoutube and on our Blog

The benefits

There’s an attractive benefits package on offer at the Wellcome Genome Campus. We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.
As well as the usual benefits you would expect, we go much further:

  • 25 days annual leave (extra 1 day to a maximum of 30 days for every year you work)
  • Auto-enrolment into a generous Group Defined Contribution Pension Scheme, with enhanced company contribution (for more information, see our Pensions page)
  • Up to 2 days annual paid volunteering leave
  • Up to 10 days paid Emergency Carers Leave per year
  • Family-friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, an on-site Workplace Nursery Salary Sacrifice Schemes for pre-school children and Summer holiday club
  • Life Assurance Cover and a Group Income Protection Scheme (if on a contract of 12 months or more)
  • Enhanced maternity leave and parental leave
  • Access to a substantial number of courses and training events onsite
  • Private Healthcare Scheme (after 6 months service)
  • Eyecare and Dental payment plans
  • Concessions and discounts from our corporate perks site

Being part of the Wellcome Genome Campus you will be part of the beautiful working environment with an impressive range of benefits, services and facilities also including:

  • Free bus service to and from Campus, covering various routes around Cambridge, Saffron Walden and surrounding villages
  • A car-share initiative
  • Free parking
  • A number of on-site venues where you can meet, eat and socialise with colleagues
  • A thriving Sports and Social Club which provides members with subsidised access to a gym, tennis courts, sports hall, fitness classes and a vibrant social calendar of events

Find out more about our Wellcome Genome Campus.

We have recently been awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award. We will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.

Closing date: 

Fri 10 July 2020


Cambridge, UK

Organisation name: 

Wellcome Sanger Institute