The Fellowship Scheme

About the Fellowship

Since 1999, our Fellowship scheme for writers in Higher Education has created earning opportunities for over 750 professional writers at over 100 universities and institutions. Writers work in many subject areas and with students at all levels of study, from first-year undergraduates to post-doctoral researchers.

We recruit posts for universities across various fields of study, including the Arts, Sciences, Law, or within Student Services. Many RLF Fellows continue their work in our Bridge and Writing for Life programmes, which include local reading round groups, expressive writing sessions, and helping develop writing skills in the workplace.

Learn more about the Fellowship scheme and request an application pack.

Find out more

Working with Education partners

We are proud to work with Higher Education partners all over the UK. We pay particular attention to the regional needs of both writers and institutions to break down divisions and improve the language and communication of students where our writers' skills are needed most.

Students can discuss all aspects of their writing, such as structuring an argument, making the essay clearer and improving style. The sessions are free, confidential, and independent of the institution.

If you represent an institution that might be interested in hosting an RLF Fellow, please get in touch with us.

Contact us

Students who draw on the advice and insight of the RLF Fellow often tell me how it has helped them to build confidence and reflect on both their academic and journalistic writing.

Matthew Swaine(Course Director, MA in Journalism),
Cardiff University

The RLF Fellows support our students through their transitions at every stage of their university careers and that developmental opportunity is essential to the success of their studies. It's been an absolute pleasure working with them.

Simon Gamble(Head of Academic Study Skills),
Bristol University

Having an RLF Fellow – both an independent voice and a professional writer – is a considerable bonus for our students and something we showcase during open days and induction.

James Jordan(Head of English),
Southampton University

This service changes people’s lives in a most positive and immeasurable way.

Jean Webb(School of Humanities),
University of Worcester

Our Guiding Principles

The aim of the Fellowship programme is to foster good writing practice among students through one-to-one coaching sessions lasting up to fifty minutes. Prospective partners should read our guiding principles below.

Download Fellowship Guiding Principles

Our Fellows

RLF Fellows at over 100 institutions across the UK, from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth, Belfast to Brighton. To find out where we operate and have RLF Fellows, visit our directory.

Find an RLF Fellow

What we ask from our Fellows

RLF Fellows work two days a week during thirty weeks of the academic year, from around mid-September to mid-May, depending on the institution's calendar.

An RLF Fellow will need to be available to students for two regular days each week, offering six student sessions per day, lasting fifty minutes each.

An additional half-day each week is spent off-site dealing with admin and reading examples of student work before their appointments.

Interview Process

Interviews for posts are conducted during the summer following the spring application deadline. Fellows offered a place in the scheme will start work at a partner institution in the autumn of the following year.

Each summer we hold an induction event in London for our new RLF Fellows, where you will get to meet each other and learn more about the scheme.


The fee for the Fellowship year is currently £16,000 - working two days a week over thirty weeks of the academic year. Fellows are appointed as freelance contractors and are responsible for their own Income Tax and National Insurance.

A proportion of travel costs are reimbursable and allowances are available for childcare and for overnight accommodation if the post is far from home.


The RLF runs the scheme in partnership with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) throughout the UK. Visit our Directory for our list of current partners.

View Directory

Who is eligible to apply?

Applications for the Fellowship scheme are open to any professional writer with an aptitude for working with students:

  • You should have at least two (sole-authored) books published, or professionally produced theatre/film/radio/TV scripts broadcast or staged, prior to application.
  • Books stemming from a parallel career as an academic or practitioner are not eligible, nor are self-published/vanity-published titles.
  • Candidates must be resident in the UK or Ireland at the time of application and have the unconditional right to work in the UK.

The selection process is highly competitive and your literary merit and suitability for the Fellowship will be measured against those of other candidates.

As a charity who supports writers in financial difficulty, we welcome and encourage applications from those facing financial challenges. 

Start an Enquiry

Recruitment for posts are now closed until November 2024.

If you interested in applying for the next round, please fill out the form below. Please note, application packs will not be sent out until recruitment begins.

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If you are a professional, published author who meets the eligibility criteria, you can apply to become an RLF Fellow. Recruitment takes place each year and application packs are available on request between late November and early March. Around forty new RLF Fellows are appointed annually.

In addition to the payment, RLF offers comprehensive support through mentoring, training, gatherings, and online resources. Previous RLF Fellows have told us that the experience boosts their confidence as language and communications experts, enriches their teaching skills, and fosters a sense of community – a welcome contrast to the solitary nature of writing.

The role requires you are a professional writer with a reasonable level of IT competence (Word, Excel and Email) but most of all a genuine interest in education and teaching. The RLF has historically supported writers in financial difficulty, so we particularly welcome and encourage applications from those facing financial challenges.

As a Fellow you will invoice us in three instalments over the academic year. Allowances are also paid for travel, accommodation and childcare (over a set daily threshold).

Contracts are for one academic year at a time. If all goes well, we generally offer RLF Fellows a second year’s appointment. Most Fellows step down after two years to make way for new recruits.

It is not essential for an applicant to have any teaching experience or qualifications.

The principal aim of an RLF Fellow’s work is to foster good writing practice; they do not teach creative writing. Their focus is on developing students’ ability to produce more readable academic work – whether essays, dissertations, learning journals or lab reports. Fellows do not need to be experts in any academic field: they bring their own expertise as published authors to share with students – be they undergraduates, post-graduates or researchers.

That depends where you live and whether we have an arrangement with a nearby university. We generally try to line a writer up with the nearest available post but sometimes that requires a long commute or an overnight stay.

Host universities nominate a member of staff to act as ‘coordinator’ for the Fellowship. That person will be the Fellow’s principal point of contact and will be responsible for all practical matters, including arranging a private office to use during their set two days on site.

It is the university’s job to promote the Fellowship to its students in order to generate a sufficient and sustained uptake. The RLF has some promotional merchandise available to those interested in promoting themselves during the start of term which you can request by contacting our Marketing department.