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Early Career Schemes


Leadership Fellows Scheme (Early Career route)

This scheme is open to early career researchers. Full details can be found on the page titled 'Fellowships and Research Leave Schemes'.


New Investigator Scheme

The ESRC has announced the New Investigators scheme. New Investigator Grants will support new researchers and academics at the start of their careers to become independent researchers through gaining experience of managing and leading research projects and teams. In addition, they will provide applicants with an opportunity not only to support their own skill development but also the skill development of research staff employed on the grant.

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 expects the University to run an internal selection process to ensure that only bids from outstanding individuals with the potential to become the research leaders of the future are submitted. The University can submit only a limited number of applications. To meet these requirements, this call will be coordinated according to the University’s Restricted Calls Procedure. 

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 July Panel deadline, are required to submit to by Monday, 3 April 2017 (17:00):

  • The internal selection form
  • A letter of support from the Head of Department. This letter is very important to the success of the application as it is needed to confirm that the project is supported by the Department, the applicant’s eligibility and details of any proposed departmental support (for example the provision of a mentor and a programme of research skills training).

If you have any questions, then please write 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 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.

Timetable for 2016/2017 competition

Scheme of the 2016-2017 competition has been opened on 24 August 2016

Deadline for Applicants - 5 October 2016

Deadline for Institutional Approval - 6 October 2016

Deadline for Referees - 13 October 2016

Result of Outline Stage Announcement - January 2017


  • 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 2016-17 competition this means either already having been awarded a doctoral degree following a viva voce examination held on or after 1 April 2014; or having a reasonable expectation that they will have submitted and had their thesis examined by 1 April 2017);
  • Applicants in the 2016-17 competition awarded a PhD following a viva voce examination held prior to 1 April 2014 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 already having 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 are offered on a Full Economic Costing basis. There is no fixed amount awarded for the Fellowships and the value of award will vary depending on the host institution. Awards cover the salary of the Postdoctoral Fellow to work full-time on the Fellowship, small-scale research expenses (up to a maximum of £6,000), costs towards the time of a mentor (equivalent to one hour per month for the 36 months of the Fellowship) and the host institution's estates and indirect costs.  

Internal selection procedure at the University

Due to changes in the policy of submitting applications to the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships Scheme, the Research Strategy Office of the University of Cambridge has confirmed that the internal demand and selection will be managed according to the University's restricted calls policy for the coming 2016-2017 round.

The Faculty needs to invite, rank and submit applications to the Research Strategy Office by 9 September 2016.

The call for prospective applicants to submit Internal Expression of Interest Forms to the Faculty was closed on 22 of August 2016 (17:00). Only applicants selected by University’s Restricted Bids Committee will be invited to submit their applications to the British Academy.

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

Further information on the 2016-17 round is available on the British Academy website. The Guidelines can be found here. 



Early Career Fellowships 

Closing date: The competition for 2016-17 is now closed

The Early Career Fellowship scheme at CRASSH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities), jointly funded by the Isaac Newton Trust and the Schools of Arts & Humanities and Humanities & Social Sciences, allows Cambridge University Teaching Officers and College Teaching Officers to apply for an additional term of research leave in order to develop a new research project. Up to ten fellows  are appointed each year. 

All UTOs and CTOs who have been in post for less than five years at date of application are eligible, provided that they have obtained prior permission from their Faculty and/or College. UTOs must apply for leave under Statute D,II,6 (b) and the period of leave granted will not be reckonable for purposes of entitlement to sabbatical leave (granted under statute D,II,5).  This is a residential fellowship and successful applicants are expected to spend their period of research leave in Cambridge.

Applicants should obtain prior permission from their Faculty and/or College.

CRASSH  provides a forum for presenting work-in-progress and mentoring support through regular contact with its visiting fellows and interdisciplinary research community. The value of the award is set at a flat rate of £5000 per fellow per term (if Easter Term leave is requested, the sum is reduced to £3000). This amount will be transferred to the fellow’s Faculty or College to enable replacement teaching to be bought in. If the fellow’s teaching is split between a Faculty and a College, it will be the responsibility of the Faculty to negotiate the amount passed on to the college (up to a maximum of half the total).

For further information please see the CRASSH website.

EC Horizon 2020

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Investigator Grants

The 2016 call was opened on 26 July 2016 and closed on 18 October 2016. 


ERC Starting Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme. Applicant Principal Investigators must demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal. 


The Principal Investigator shall have been awarded their first PhD at least 2 and up to 7 years prior to 1 January 2017. 

A competitive Starting Grant candidate must have already shown the potential for research independence and evidence of maturity. For example, it is expected that applicants will have produced at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor. Principal Investigators should also be able to demonstrate a promising track record of early achievements appropriate to their research field and career stage, including significant publications (as main author) in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals, or in the leading international peer-reviewed journals of their respective field.

They may also demonstrate a record of invited presentations in well-established international conferences, granted patents, awards, prizes etc.

Principal Investigators funded through the ERC Starting Grants shall spend a minimum of 50% of their total working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country and a minimum of 50% of their total working time on the ERC project.


Starting Grants may be awarded up to a maximum of EUR 1 500 000 for a period of 5 years (the maximum award is reduced pro rata temporis for projects of a shorter duration). However, up to an additional EUR 500 000 can be requested in the proposal to cover (a) eligible "start-up" costs for Principal Investigators moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant and/or (b) the purchase of major equipment and/or (c) access to large facilities.

The Union financial contribution will take the form of the reimbursement of up to 100% of the total eligible and approved direct costs and of flat-rate financing of indirect costs on the basis of 25% of the total eligible direct costs (excluding the direct costs for subcontracting and the costs of resources made available by third parties which are not used on the premises of the host institution).

Further information

Applications must be submitted to the ERC via the EC Participant Portal, for which applicants must be registered before applying. Details of all required documents are available in the guide for applicants. Applications must include a letter of commitment from the host institution which will not be provided until all other parts of the application are finalised and submitted. Therefore applications should be finalised well in advance of the stated sponsor deadline.

Useful documents include: ERC Work Programme 2017; also an Information for Applicants to the Starting and Consolidator Grant 2017 Calls.

Potential applicants should contact  (School of HSS Research Facilitator) to discuss the academic content of a proposal.

The Faculty can assist with preparing a grant budget and in dealing with queries over the application form and procedure.

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.

Deadlines for Early Career Fellowship Scheme 2017

Deadline to submit Stage 1 applications to the Faculty of History for the Isaac Newton Trust matching funding: 06 January 2017.

Deadline to submit Stage 2 applications for the institutional (University) approval:  24 February 2017.

Deadline to submit Stage 2 applications to the Leverhulme Trust: 02 March 2017 4:00 pm.

The process of submitting Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications is explained below.


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 childcare commitments. Fellowships must commence between 1 September 2017 and 1 May 2018.


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. 
  • 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 2 March 2017. 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 2 March 2013 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.
  • 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 £24,000 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 History you should apply to the Faculty of History in order to take part in the competition for INT matching funding by the deadline of 06 of January 2017 (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;
  • 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 are informed by INT.

The deadline to send applications to the Faculty of History is 06 January 2017 but an earlier submission is welcomed.

An application consists of:

1. A brief CV (not exceeding 2 sides)

2. A draft of the three items required for the Leverhulme application:

      2.1. a list of your major publications (maximum one side);

      2.2. a statement of your current research (maximum 250 words);

      2.3. a detailed statement  of your proposed research (maximum two sides).

In line with the Leverhulme Trust's intention that these fellowships should encourage mobility between institutions, we welcome applicants from outwith Cambridge.  Since we need to demonstrate the relevance of research to the Faculty, applicants are encouraged to state briefly why it would be beneficial to them to work in Cambridge, and what they would hope to contribute to our research culture and (where appropriate) teaching.  For this purpose they should normally expect in advance of their application to contact a member of the Faculty with interests in their field; (that person, however, need not be a referee for the applicant).

Stage 1 applications must be sent as Word or PDF documents to the Faculty of History 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 History at by the deadline  of submission (06 January 2017). 

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 no later than two-three weeks before the national Leverhulme deadline.

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 (24 February 2017), as institutional (University) approval is needed in order for applications to be valid and submitted by the national deadline of 02 March 2017 (4:00pm);
  • the Leverhulme Trust’s academic panels select the best candidates submitted by all the Universities in the UK and award Fellowships (about 120 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's Research Grants Administrator Julija Varanaviciute at .

Newton International Fellowships

The Newton International Fellowships Scheme was established in 2008 to select the very best early career postdoctoral researchers from all over the world, and enable them to work at UK research institutions for two years. The scheme is offered by the Royal Society, British Academy and Academy of Medical Sciences.

Closing date: 22 March 2017


The aims for the Newton International Fellowships Scheme are to:

- support the development and training of postdoctoral researchers at an early stage of their career from any country outside the UK, by providing an opportunity to work at a UK research institution for two years;

- ensure the best postdoctoral researchers across all relevant disciplines from around the world are supported in the UK;

- foster long-term relations between Newton International Fellows and the UK research base through the establishment of an alumni programme for former Fellows of this Scheme. 


The applicant must:

 - have a PhD, or applicants in the final stages of their PhD will be accepted provided that the PhD will be completed (including viva) before the start date of the Fellowship. Confirmation of award of the PhD will be required before any Fellowship award is confirmed;

- applicants should have no more than 7 years of active full time postdoctoral experience at the time of application (discounting career breaks, but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry);

- be working outside the UK;

- not hold UK citizenship;

- be competent in oral and written English;

- have a clearly defined and mutually-beneficial research proposal agreed with a UK host researcher.

Applicants should ensure that they meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.


Newton International Fellowships last for two years. Funding consists of £24,000 per annum for subsistence costs, and up to £8,000 per annum research expenses, as well as a one-off payment of up to £2,000 for relocation expenses. Awards include a contribution to the overheads incurred, at a rate of 50% of the total award to the visiting researcher.

Applicants may also be eligible to receive follow on Alumni funding following the tenure of their Fellowship to support networking activities with UK-based researchers.

The applicant requires a sponsor/mentor based in the host institution.

Applications are online through the Royal Society’s eGAP system.

For further information please see the website.