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Department of Social Anthropology


Research funding and guidance for early career postdocs

Upcoming research funding deadlines

The Department of Social Anthropology welcomes applications from early career researchers for a range of post-doctoral programmes from sponsors including:

We are keen to support high-quality applications in research areas that fit with our strategic research themes and with the interests of individual University Teaching Officers. Prospective applicants are advisor to contact a prospective mentor/sponsor at an early stage, to discuss how their proposed research might fit within the Department.

The basic process to be followed is similar in all cases, though details and deadlines vary.

1. Interested applicants should refer to the funder's most recent scheme notes to check and confirm their eligibility. Commonly, funder eligibility criteria refer to

  • time since PhD (please note that some funders make allowances for career breaks or parental leave);
  • whether or not you presently have a University affiliation;
  • whether you have a permanent or temporary contract.

If you're a College employee, please check the specific guidance provided.

2. Applicants should be in touch with an academic in the Department who works in their area of research to discuss their application as soon as possible (ideally two months before the funder deadline).

3. With the support of their mentor, a preliminary application form along with a CV and a brief research proposal should then be submitted to the Research Grants Administrator () by a minimum of eight weeks before the relevant deadline. As deadlines vary, it is best to confirm the internal (departmental and university) and external deadlines with the RGA.

 Applications over £250k fEC that are received less than five working days before the funder deadline will not be submitted by the University, irrespective of support from the mentor or the Department.

4. The Department will assess all the proposals thus submitted. There is an internal selection process in place for the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships, ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Leverhulme ECFs , and we can only support very few applications; otherwise we hope to support all quality applications which intersect with research already being undertaken or developed in the Department.

5. We will then let you know whether we are able to support your application in good time for the final submission deadline. We will provide feedback on both those applications we are, and are not, able to support, working with you to make applications as strong as possible before final submission.

Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Research lists the details for the fellowships available from above funders (for ESRC and Leverhulme Trust, please use the link at the top of the page). Past deadlines show roughly when the next deadline for the programme is likely to be, but do check the website for details.

Upcoming research funding deadlines

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship / Isaac Newton Trust: Deadline end Nov

Please send the RGA the name of your proposed mentor as soon as you know.

The INT acts as the University's selector.  The INT requirements are listed here, and should be sent to the RGA as PDFs by the Departmental Deadline.  See under: “Applications for the internal competition”:

Please title PDFs as: <surname> Leverhulme INT <document name>.

Also please send through a completed Departmental Preliminary Application form.

  • Two letters of reference are needed, of which one should come from outside Cambridge (note 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 RGA by the Departmental deadlinenot to the Isaac Newton Trust.
  • If possible, please get your referees to title the email and reference documents as: <your surname> Leverhulme INT reference.

Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship - Departmental deadline mid October.

Value: up to £60k, between 3 and 24 months. Research Fellowships are open to experienced researchers, particularly those who are or have been prevented by routine duties from completing a programme of original research.

British Academy PDF - Late August Departmental deadline, inform RGA of intention to apply and mentor name in July

Annual application round.

ESRC PDF - Deadlines are to be confirmed, expected internal Feb/March, expected ESRC April/May

Annual application round. Deadlines will be communicated by email.

I will need an indication of your intention to apply and your mentor name in early Jan but earlier is appreciated.

I will approach your mentor for a statement in support of your application.

ESRC New Investigator Grant

Restricted call 3 times per year. Deadlines will be communicated by email. 

You should send to the RGA: your intention to apply and names of your Reviewer and Mentor 4 weeks prior to the Internal (Cambridge) Deadline, along with an outline budget.

There will be a Departmental Deadline some weeks prior to the Internal deadline, you will need to send:

a completed Departmental Preliminary form (downloadable );

your CV;

an Internal Selection form (template sent by email with notification mail) which includes research proposal (c. 500 words), skills development support (c.250 words), knowledge exchange and Impact realisation activities (c.250 words), total not to exceed 1000 words;

a budget (contact the RGA for a template), this will be entered into the X5 system prior to the Internal deadline.

Further guidance:

covering the aims of the scheme is very important to the eventual success in being awarded this grant: development of skills such as team management, (e.g. by employing a Research Assistant) and impact (benefits beyond academia).

However, employing a RA can eat into the limited funds available, and can lead to considering your own time commitment (e.g. 50%) or duration to fit into the available budget.

Having a Co-I is possible, and shows collaboration and interdisciplinary skills, but would also be a cost to the grant

Applicants will be notified about the outcome of the internal (Cambridge ) selection within a month of the Internal deadline.

Second Round. Applicants who have been selected by the Internal stage will need to send the following documents (no deadline):

Case for Support, Justification of Resources (needs X5 and RGA assistance), Statement of eligibility.

Once these are received the Research Facilitator will ask your mentor and reviewer for comments.  Once received the applicant is then free to submit via the Je-S portal.

Note, There is a minimum time of 8 months from Je-S submission date to grant start date.

BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships - October Departmental deadline

The aim of the scheme is to allow successful applicants to obtain time freed from normal teaching and administrative commitments. The time bought by the scheme should be devoted to the completion of a major piece of research. The Fellowships are tenable for one year and must be taken up in the autumn of the next year. These awards are not covered under the Full Economic Costing (FEC) regime and no research expenses are available. The only cost payable will be the salary of a replacement lecturer.  Applicants who have already applied to the Academy’s 2020-21 round of the Mid-Career Fellowship scheme are not permitted to apply to this scheme. The funder’s deadline for applications is generally in November. For more information see the call website. For support with your application contact Dr Anna Cieslik (

The BA/ Newton International Fellowships - mid February Departmental deadline

The Newton International Fellowships scheme is administered through both the Royal Society and the British Academy, split by discipline. Most applications for the Humanities and Social Sciences should be made to the British Academy. Please refer to ‘subjects covered’ in the scheme notes for a full list of eligible subjects.  

The aim of this programme is to select the very best early career postdoctoral researchers from all over the world and enable them to work at a UK research institution for a period of two years (or longer if working on a part-time basis).  Strict eligibility criteria exist.

Fellowships are tenable for two years, on a full time basis.

The British Academy/ Wolfson Fellowships - October Departmental deadline

These awards provide early-career academics with time to pursue their research, along with funding for public engagement and travel. This scheme emphasizes the importance of award-holders communicating their plans and results to a broad audience. Applicants must have a full-time or part-time permanent or fixed term post that covers the length of the award. They should be within seven years of completion of their doctorate. The award duration is three years and the grant maximum is £130,000 across these three years. For more information, see the call website. For support with your application contact Dr Anna Cieslik (