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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



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  


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 2019 is now open.

Deadline to submit Stage 1 applications to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies for the Isaac Newton Trust matching funding: 12pm (noon) on Thursday 03 January 2019.

Deadline to submit Stage 2 applications to the Leverhulme Trust: 28 February 2019 by 4:00 pm. Research Operations Office internal deadline is 20 February 2019 by 4:00pm.


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. Fellowships must commence between 1 September 2019 and 1 May 2020.


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 28 February 2019. 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 28 February 2015 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) for which the contract duration at the time of appointment was not less than 9 months. 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.
  • The matching funding contributed by the host institution must be drawn from generally available funds and must not be associated with any other grants received by the institution. The host department must secure the matching funding for the applicant before the closing date. Applications that do not meet these conditions are ineligible and will be rejected.
  • A candidate may submit only one application per year. Previously unsuccessful applicants may reapply. Candidates may not apply for both an Early Career Fellowship and a Study Abroad Studentship in the same year.

Matching funding required

The Leverhulme Trust will contribute 50% of the total salary costs for three years up to a maximum of £25,000 per year. The other half must be provided by the institution at which the grant will be held.  

Each University may submit a limited number of selected applications to the national Leverhulme competition and each candidate put forward for the national round must supply a letter specifying where the institutional matching funding will come from.

The Isaac Newton Trust (INT) will provide the remaining 50% (the matching funding) for those successful applicants who will hold their fellowship award at the University of Cambridge (the internal competition for the INT match funding is explained below).

The Leverhulme Trust may also provide additional research expenses up to £6,000 per year.

2 stages of competition

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: Internal competition for Isaac Newton Trust (INT) matching funding

The INT runs an internal competition to identify which candidates for Leverhulme awards to be held at Cambridge can be offered matching funding:

  • If you hope to hold the award in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies you should apply to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in order to take part in the competition for INT matching funding by the deadline of 12pm (noon), 03 of January 2019 (application process is explained below);
  • the Chair of the Faculty arranges a preliminary competition to select a small number (1-3 per department) applicants to put forward for INT funding by 14 January 2019;
  • from these ranked lists, about 50 (across all subjects in the University) are selected for INT support by internal subject-based panels;
  • if selected for INT support in principle (if successful nationally) you shall be informed by INT within four weeks, so that the result will be known in good time for the national application deadline for the Leverhulme Trust (28 February 2019).

The deadline to send applications to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is 12pm (noon) 03 January 2019 but an earlier submission is welcomed.

An application consists of:

1. A cover sheet (details could be found here)

2. A brief CV (not exceeding 2 sides)

3. A list of your major publications (maximum one side)

4. A statement of your current research (maximum 250 words)

5. A detailed statement of your proposed research (maximum two sides)

Stage 1 applications must be sent as Word or PDF documents to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at

Please note that two letters of reference are also needed, of which one should come from outside Cambridge (note also that the national stage of the Leverhulme competition requires a third reference as well, but this is not necessary for the internal INT competition). 

Please ask your referees to send their letters directly to the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at by the deadline of submission (noon on Thursday 3 January 2019). 

Applications received are ranked in the Faculty and then submitted by the Faculty to the Isaac Newton Trust. If selected for INT support the applicant is informed by INT. 

Stage 2: National competition by the Leverhulme Trust 

Candidates selected in the internal competition for INT matching funding will be informed by the INT within four weeks from 14January 2019, so that the result will be known in good time for the national application deadline for the Leverhulme Trust (28 February 2019).

Selected candidates apply to the national competition run by the Leverhulme Trust, including evidence of the INT’s promise to match the Leverhulme’s award:

  • Please note that there is an internal deadline to submit applications (20 February 2019, 4pm), as institutional (University) approval is needed in order for applications to be valid and submitted by the national deadline of 28 February 2019 (4:00pm);
  • the Leverhulme Trust’s academic panels select the best candidates submitted by all the Universities in the UK and award Fellowships (about 100 nationwide, of which 10-16 may be for research in 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 Guidance for applicants and online application help notes.

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

If you have any queries regarding this scheme please contact Faculty Administrator at

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.