Job: Postdoctoral Fellowship in History & Philosophy of Science

The Royal Institution in London invites applications for a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship position in the History & Philosophy of Science – to start between August and October 2024.

Location: 21 Albemarle Street, London with the opportunity for some remote working
Contract type: 2-year Fixed Term Contract, full-time, 35 hours per week
Salary: £39,000 - £40,500 per annum. Additional £1,000 annual discretionary stipend for conference and archival research fees

Application Deadline: 9.00am on Tuesday 14 May 2024

The Fellowship is funded by the Philip Freer Trust and is non-renewable.

This is an exciting new opportunity to complete publishable research, integrate into the history of science community and establish a programme of outreach activities. As successful applicant, you must be a researcher from the history of science community. You are eligible if you are a British citizen/national, regardless of where your doctorate was obtained. You may also apply if you have a doctorate from a UK university, but are not a British citizen, if you have the right to work in the UK.

You must be of ‘Early Career Status’ meaning that you must apply within 5 years of the date of your successful viva voce examination (between 1 April 2019 and 1 April 2024).

The Royal Institution (Ri) is an independent charity which has been connecting people with science for over 200 years. The Ri has inspired generations of scientists over the years whose discoveries have helped shape our modern world.

In 1825 two lecture programmes were created – CHRISTMAS LECTURES and Friday Evening Discourse, which continue to the present day.  Both these programmes are significant, not only for their longevity, but for the role they have played in science communication to audiences since 1825. The CHRISTMAS LECTURES were created specifically for a juvenile audience at a time when there was little scientific education for children. The Discourses were developed, before Peer Reviewing, as a way to highlight new and emerging scientific and cultural developments to the public, with many ‘firsts’ taking place in the Ri lecture as a result (e.g., display of photography, showing of moving images, recording and playback of sound, announcement of the discovery of the electron).

While these anniversaries are uniquely the Ri’s, they have also gone beyond our walls. Many of the lectures from both programmes were undertaken by external scientists and figures from UK culture, rather than Ri employees, though the contribution of Faraday was very substantial. The programmes themselves reveal the nature of collaborative science and the need to work across organisations to inform the public about scientific developments.  They vividly show the development of the Ri’s unparalleled expertise in public scientific demonstration.

The start of the programmes in 1825 is very much the beginning of the story. The scientific and cultural developments that were demonstrated over the subsequent 200 years provide a wealth of material to be investigated, researched, and celebrated.

You will:
•       lead research into the Royal Institution’s two prominent lecturing programmes first established in 1825, the Christmas Lecture and Discourse
•       communicate through academic networks and the production of papers/talks the history of science communication at the Royal Institution as
        part of our celebrations of the 200th anniversary of these lecture programmes.
•       work with colleagues and partners to assist with the development and implementation of outreach activities centred on these two anniversaries

Please download the job description and personal specification from the Ri website and email the following to

•       an up-to-date CV
•       Covering letter indicating how your previous experience relates to the role's person specification and the communication of science history.
•       A plan and proposal for an event/lecture organised to celebrate an aspect of the 200th anniversaries of the Christmas Lectures and Discourses or
        the history of science communication at the Ri. This plan can be accompanied by a video, not more than 2 minutes long.

All written application materials should be in PDF format and all files should be clearly labelled to include your name and title of the document.

Application Deadline: 9.00am on Tuesday 14 May 2024
Interviews are planned for: w/c 3 June 2024

If you have any questions you would like to ask before applying for this Fellowship, please contact Charlotte New (