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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


The Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships

The Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship is a highly prestigious, fiercely competitive, post-doctoral award for researchers who are near the start of their career. 

Early Career Fellowship Scheme 2020 is now open (as of 11/11/2019).

Deadline to submit Stage 1 applications to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies for the Isaac Newton Trust matching funding is 4:00pm on Sunday 22 December 2019. After internal review, up to two candidates will be forwarded by the Faculty to the Isaac Newton Trust on the 13th of January.

Deadline to submit Stage 2 applications to the Leverhulme Trust: 27 February 2020 by 4:00 pm. 


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.


Fellowships are tenable for three years on a full-time basis. The Trust will support requests to hold the award part-time over a proportionately longer period for health related reasons, disability or childcare commitments. 


Full details on the LECF scheme can be found at with specific application guidance at


Applications to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies should be sent to

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships are three-year Fellowship awards made to an annual cohort of outstanding Early Career Scholars.

The aim of the British Academy (BA) in making these awards is to offer opportunities for outstanding early career researchers to strengthen their experience of research and teaching in a university environment, which will develop their curriculum vitae and improve their prospects of obtaining permanent lecturing posts by the end of the Fellowship. The primary emphasis is on completion of a significant piece of publishable research, which will be assisted by full membership of an academic community of established scholars working in similar fields.

Internal selection procedure at the University 

The British Academy stipulates that institutions must operate internal competitions in advance of the BA deadlines to ensure only the most appropriate applications are submitted to the BA. The Research Strategy Office (RSO) of the University manages the internal competition. The RSO requires all departments to solicit and rank Expressions of Interest from candidates according to the following procedure:

  • Prospective candidates must submit their intial expression of interest to the 23rd of August 2019 deadline.
  • Prospective candidates must include their CV (2 A4 sides maximum), a list of publications, and a 750 word (excluding footnotes) preliminary project proposal.
  • The pleminary project proposal should outline:
    • the research problem(s) you are seeking to address and say why it is distinctive;
    • how your proposed research will tackle this research problem(s) – its design and methodology;
    • how your proposed research will significantly change the established landscape;
    • how your project fits with the timeframe of the award (its feasibility);
    • why Cambridge is the “best-fit” environment for this project;
    • the appropriateness and demonstration of commitment of the proposed mentor(s).
  • Prospective candidates must stipulate an academic mentor. This person MUST be an employee of the University during the period of mentorship, so if a potential mentor currently has a different status they should enquire with the Faculty as to eligibility. 
  • The Faculty will then rank expressions of interest, providing internal letters of support, and submit a Faculty ranking to the RSO by their deadline of the 6th of September 2019 .
  • Candidates who are successful in this internal competition will then be asked to prepare and submit their outline applications to the British Academy in early 2020.

Indicative deadlines from the British Academy's 2019/20 are:

  • Deadline for submission to faculty: 23 August 2019
  • RSO ranking and submission period: 6 September 2019 - 16 October 2019
  • Result of Outline Stage Announcement: early-January 2020
  • Second stage submission process: mid-January 2020 - late February 2020
  • Results published: June 2020 


  • Applicants must be supported by the UK host institution in which they wish to hold the Fellowship.
  • Applicants must be within three years of the award of a doctorate (for the 2019/20 competition this means either already having been awarded a doctoral degree following a viva voce examination held on or after 1 April 2017; or having a reasonable expectation that they will have submitted and had their thesis examined by 1 April 2020).
  • Applicants in the 2019/20 competition awarded a PhD following a viva voce examination held prior to 1 April 2017 who are unable to offer extenuating circumstances, such as interruption to their academic career for maternity leave or illness, will not be considered.
  • Applicants must be a UK or EEA national, or have completed a doctorate at a UK university. Any applicant who does not fall into one of these categories must demonstrate a strong prior association with the UK academic community, for example through having already been employed in a temporary capacity (longer than twelve months) at a UK university.


Awards are for 3 years. Up to 45 awards are expected to be offered. 

Awards will include the salary of the Fellow and research expenses of up to £6,000 (£2,000 for each year of the fellowship). Salary must be commensurate with the early career stage of the applicant and will be equivalent to posts in the Faculty that incorporate similar duties and levels of responsibility.

All queries regarding submitted applications and internal selection procedure should be sent to

Specific guidance for the 2019/2020 call will be available from mid-August on the British Academy website.

The BA’s FAQ document for the 2019/20 outline stage is available here.

ESRC New Investigator Grants

The ESRC have announced their New Investigators scheme. The call is open to high-quality candidates who have a maximum of four years’ postdoctoral experience. Proposals are welcome in any topic which falls within ESRC’s remit, including projects at the “interface with the wider sciences”, provided that social sciences accounts for at least 50% of the proposed research. The ESRC will award grants of between £100-300K at fEC, though as with other Research Council grants they will cover 80% of this cost. Awards will be for up to five years, though they will be typically three years in duration, with a special case being made for the need for five years’ worth of funding. For full details please see the call specification.

This call has a rolling deadline, and applications will be reviewed 3 times / year: in ESRC Panel meetings in March, July and November each year. Roughly 35 awards will be made per year.

Internal Selection process:

The ESRC expect the University to run an internal selection process to ensure that we submit only bids from outstanding individuals with the potential to become the research leaders of the future. The University can submit only a limited number of applications. To meet these requirements, this call will be overseen by a cross-school Committee, as decided by University’s Research Policy Committee:

There will be 3 internal calls every year, ahead of the panel meetings in November, March and July. Only applicants whose proposals have been approved and selected through the internal selection process will be allowed to proceed with submission of their applications to ESRC.

The applicants who wish to submit an application ahead of the ESRC November 2019 Panel deadline, are required to submit to by Monday, 11thMarch 2019 (17:00): 

If you have any questions, then please write to