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Leverhulme Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowships

Leverhulme Early Career  Postdoctoral Fellowships

If you would like to apply through the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, you must first discuss your proposal with your prospective mentor in the Faculty and secure their support, as well as that of the relevant Head of Department. Your application will not be considered without this support.

Applications are made over two stages. As the Leverhulme Trust provides only 50% of the salary cost for these fellowships, application must be made initially to the Isaac Newton Trust for 50% match-funding:

Stage 1 department deadline (for the Isaac Newton Trust): Friday 5 January 2018 (in advance of the INT deadline to allow for Faculty ranking).

Stage 2 sponsor deadline (Leverhulme Trust): 4pm on Thursday 1 March 2018.

Stage 1 applications must be sent as Word or PDF documents to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Deputy Administrator (Susie Nightingale, ). Applications received are ranked and then submitted to the Isaac Newton Trust. Results of stage one applications will be made known in early February 2017. You are strongly urged to contact an appropriate colleague/mentor within the Faculty to discuss the suitability of your project for application via this Faculty.

Stage 2 applications should be submitted to the Leverhulme Trust no later than 22nd February 2018, as institutional (University) approval is required in order for applications to be valid and this must be completed by the 1 March deadline.


Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research. The expectation is that Fellows should undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure, and that the Fellowships should lead to a more permanent academic position.


Early Career Fellowships are tenable for three years (full time basis). Fellowships must commence no earlier than 1st September 2018 and no later than 1st May 2019.


The following criteria apply:

  • Applicants must not yet have held a full-time permanent academic post in a UK university or comparable UK institution, nor may Fellows hold such a post concurrently with the Early Career Fellowship. Those in receipt of a stipendiary Fellowship may not hold this at the same time as an Early Career Fellowship. Applicants who have existing funding in place for a duration equivalent to or greater than the duration of the Early Career Fellowship should not apply.
  • All candidates must hold a doctorate or have equivalent research experience by the time they take up the Fellowship. Those who are or have been registered for a doctorate at any time may apply only if they have submitted their doctoral thesis by the closing date of 4pm on 1 March 2018. Those who at the time of commencing the Fellowship are registered for or are intending to register for degrees, professional or vocational qualifications are not eligible.
  • Applications are invited from those with a doctorate who submitted their doctoral thesis for viva voce examination not more than four years prior to the application closing date. Hence those who formally submitted their doctoral thesis before 1 March 2014 are not eligible unless they have since had a career break. Those wishing to make a case for a career break should present the case for interruption by a period of maternity leave, family commitments, illness, or other exceptional circumstances.
  • Applicants must either hold a degree from a UK higher education institution at the time of taking up the Fellowship or at the time of the application deadline must hold an academic position in the UK (e.g. fixed-term lectureship, fellowship). The intention is to support the career development of those building an academic career within the UK.
  • Candidates who have been, or are currently a Principal Investigator on a 3-year post-doctoral research project, or have held or currently hold a comparable 3-year post-doctoral position to pursue their own research are not eligible to apply.
  • The Research Awards Advisory Committee believes that the development of an academic career is best served by gaining experience at different institutions. Applicants who have not already moved institutions in the course of their academic career (i.e. between their undergraduate degree and current position) should nominate a new host institution, or otherwise demonstrate clear evidence of the academic and/or personal reasons for remaining at the same institution, such as access to highly specialist equipment or a highly specialised research team.

Only one application may be submitted each year. Applicants from previous years may reapply.


The Leverhulme Trust will contribute 50% of the total salary costs for three years up to a maximum of £25,000 per year. The Isaac Newton Trust will provide the remaining 50%. The Leverhulme Trust may also provide additional research expenses up to £6,000 per year.

Application Procedure

In addition to the sponsor deadline dates already mentioned, the following points should be noted:

Stage 1 applications do not require details of costs. They do however require the following: a brief CV (2 A4 sides max.), a list of major publications (1 A4 side max.), a statement of current research (250 words max.) and a detailed statement of proposed research (2 A4 sides max.). Applications must also include two references. One referee must be external to Cambridge.

Stage 2 applications must be completed using the Leverhulme Trust online application system. Much of the non-financial information prepared for stage 1 may be used in stage 2 in addition to detailed costings.

Useful links and further information

Full details of the Leverhulme ECF scheme are available on the Leverhulme Trust website.

The Leverhulme Trust also provides a ‘guide for applicants’ and online application help notes.

Information regarding the stage 1 application process and rationale is available from the Isaac Newton Trust here.