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Early Career Schemes


Leadership Fellows Scheme (Early Career route)

Applications must be submitted through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

Deadline for submission: There are no fixed deadlines; applications may be made throughout the year. NB. The assessment process for applications takes approximately 30 weeks and the earliest start date for any proposal should be no earlier than nine months from the date of submission.


The aims of the leadership fellows scheme early career route are the same as those for the standard route (outlined above) in addition to two specific aims for the early career route:

To develop the leadership experience of early career researchers in a crucial phase as they establish themselves and move beyond doctoral and immediate post-doctoral work.

To enable the production of high-quality innovative research this is beyond the standard of doctoral work.


The level of funding provided is the same as for the standard route (detailed above). However, the duration of the fellowship under the early-career route may be up to twenty-four months for applicants on a full time contract. Applicants will require a mentor. The AHRC will provide for the cost of mentoring (one hour per month) and the cost of this should be built into the application budget.


Early-career researchers, as noted, require a mentor and thus applications will require a written Mentor Statement in addition to the eligibility requirements outlined above for the standard fellowship route.

Full details of the Leadership Fellows scheme are available here


Research Grants – Early Career Route

Open - No deadline

The aim of this route is the same as the standard; however, principal investigators must meet the additional eligibility criteria as outlined in the Funding Guide.

Please note that as a minimum, from 1 April 2012, all applications under the grants scheme will be required to include a principal investigator and at least one co-investigator jointly involved in the development of the research proposal, its leadership and management and leading to significant jointly authored research outputs.

The early career route provides grants for projects with a full economic cost (fEC) between £50,000 and £250,000 for a varying duration up to a limit of 60 months.

Further information can be found here.


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 *NOW Closed*

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 complete the internal Expression of Interest form (available here) and submit this to before the deadline of 17 August 2018.
  • Prospective candidates must include their CV (2 A4 sides maximum), a list of publications, and a writing sample (5,000 words, excluding footnotes).
  • 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 Research Director as to eligibility. 
  • The Faculty will then rank Expressions of Interest and submit a Faculty ranking to the RSO by their deadline of 06 September 2018.
  • Candidates who are successful in this internal competition will then be asked to prepare and submit their outline applications to the British Academy.

The British Academy will open the 2017/18 call on 23 August 2018

University internal ranking: 6 September 2018

ROO Deadline for full application, including references: 10 October 2018

BA scheme deadline: 17 October 2018.


Result of Outline Stage Announcement: mid-February 2019



  • 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 2018/19 competition this means either already having been awarded a doctoral degree following a viva voce examination held on or after 1 April 2016; or having a reasonable expectation that they will have submitted and had their thesis examined by 1 April 2019).
  • Applicants in the 2018/19 competition awarded a PhD following a viva voce examination held prior to 1 April 2016 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 2018/2019 call has now been published. This is available on the British Academy website.

The 2018/19 guide for applicants is also available here. The BA’s FAQ document for the 2018/19 outline stage is available here.



Early Career Fellowships 

Closing date: The competition for 2018-19 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 £2000 per fellow per term (if Easter Term leave is requested, the sum is reduced to £1000). 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

Calls Open: Summer 2019

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. 

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 €1.5 million 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 €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 Starting Grants Information Sheet 2019, and ERC Work Programme 2018 from last year's call. More information will be updated as it becomes available.

Potential applicants should contact , School Research Facilitator (EU and International), 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.




New Investigator Grants


Applications may be submitted to ESRC throughout the year and will be considered by ESRC three times a year, in March, July & November. Submissions are however subject to the University’s Restricted Call Policy. ESRC expects institutions to run an internal selection process to decide which applications to submit to ESRC (there shall be three of these per year).

Currently finished for the 2018-2019 year. 


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.

As with the Research Grants scheme, proposals could be for a range of activities such as standard research projects, surveys and other infrastructure projects and methodological developments. Proposals are welcomed across the full disciplinary range of the social sciences and at the interface with the wider sciences, however the social sciences must represent at least 50 per cent of the research focus and effort.

Proposals are welcome in any topic which falls within the ESRC’s remit and can be for basic, applied or strategic research. We welcome interdisciplinary proposals and recognise that many of the most pressing research challenges are interdisciplinary in nature, both within the social sciences and between the social sciences and other areas of research. However, we also remain committed to the support of excellent research within a single discipline.


The ‘new investigator’ must be the principal investigator who submits the proposal.

This call is open to high-quality candidates from anywhere in the world to enable them to further their research careers. However, all potential applicants must have the strong support of an eligible research organisation in the UK to host them if they are successful.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

• Applicants should have a maximum of four years’ academic research experience following the submission of their PhD, or be of equivalent professional standing. This period is measured between the initial submission date of the PhD thesis and the submission date of the New Investigator proposal. Career breaks will be excluded from the four-year period and periods of part-time academic employment can be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

• Applicants cannot be current or former principal investigators on ESRC or other Research Council grants, except ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships and Research Councils UK Fellows.

• The call is open to applicants with or without a permanent academic post, subject to the above restrictions.

All applicants are required to have a named mentor based at the research organisation where the grant is to be held. The proposed mentor should be of high academic standing and have a strong interest in the applicant’s field of research, but should not normally be the applicant’s former PhD supervisor. The mentor should also be able to offer the applicant advice and assistance in developing their proposal, building suitable links with leading researchers in their field, as well as with potential beneficiaries and users of the applicant’s research.


Grants can be for up to five years in duration (a five year grant would need a clear justification of the timeframe), and within an overall limit of £300,000 at 100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC); ESRC’s contribution for UK applicants is 80 per cent of fEC. We anticipate being able to fund up to around 30 to 35 grants a year subject to quality and available funds.

Costs for mentoring time cannot be claimed as part of these grants; they must be met as part of the host institution’s contribution to the award.

Submission process and further information

For the internal selection procedure, applicants must complete this INTERNAL SELECTION FORM and obtain a letter of support from their Head of Department. These documents should be submitted to by the June deadline.

Queries about the internal selection procedure should be sent to Please also be in touch with the Faculty’s and Research Director () if you wish to apply.

The call specification is available HERE.

The ESRC Research Funding guide is available HERE.

The information on the ESRC website may be found HERE.



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. Leverhulme specify that you must have submitted your PhD thesis no later than 4pm on 28 February 2019 and no earlier than 28 February 2015, unless you have had a career break.

Early Career Fellowship Scheme currently closed.

Deadline to submit Stage 1 applications to the Faculty of History 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 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 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 History 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 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 (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's Research Grants Administrator Allison Ksiazkiewicz at .



Royal Society/BA

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.

Scheme Opens: 23 January 2019

ROO 7-day Deadline: 3pm, 18 March 2019

ROO 5-day Deadline: 3pm, 20 March 2019

National Competition Deadline: 3pm, 27 March 2019

Please note that full applications must be approved by the Faculty and Research Operation Office prior to submission. Applications therefore must be completed and submitted for internal checks/approvals 7 to 5 days before the official deadline. 


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 British Academy's Flexi-Grant system.

For further information please see the website.


Wellcome Trust

Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science

Seed Awards help researchers develop compelling and innovative ideas that will go on to form part of larger grant applications to Wellcome or elsewhere. The Seed Award fund between £25,000 and £100,000 for projects lasting 12 to 18 months.

The next theme will be announced Spring 2019.


You must: 

The award is open to applicants with or without established academic posts.

We particularly encourage researchers who are at the start of their independent careers to apply.

You can have collaborators, but you can't submit a joint application with another person.

The Seed Awards do not fund:

  • individuals currently undertaking a Master's or a PhD
  • an existing, rather than a new, research project
  • a standalone project, with no follow-on plans.

Applications are made online through the Wellcome's Grant Tracker.

Further information on the scheme can be found on the Wellcome Trust website.

Please contact the Research Grant Administrator at to register your interest with the Faculty.