Early Career Fellowships in the Arts and Humanities

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is keen to recruit the highest calibre early career researchers, supporting candidates via a number of externally funded research fellowship schemes and enabling them to become the research leaders of the future.

Fellowship image

We are now accepting Expressions of Interest for the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships scheme. Please see the drop down further down this page (under “Fellowship Schemes”) for more information.

Introduction to Early Career Fellowship opportunities

We welcome Fellowship candidates from the UK and overseas. The University of Sheffield provides a highly supportive environment in which to develop your career, hosting Fellows at all stages of their career.

Watch an introduction to Early Career Fellowship opportunities, including overviews of:

  • British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships (note that timescales have since been updated, as per the drop down section below)
  • Wellcome Trust Early Career Award
  • British Academy International Fellowship
  • Marie Sklodowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships

What are research fellowships and why should I apply for one?

  • Whilst research grants tend to focus primarily on funding a research project, fellowships tend to focus more on the individual and provide a large amount of dedicated time to focus on individual research.
  • An early career fellowship is a great route into a research career. Winning a fellowship is a way to proactively create a job for yourself without relying on the academic job market.
  • Fellowships allow you to pursue your own research agenda, gain valuable experience, build your CV to put you in a strong position to apply for permanent posts. 
  • Fellowships are usually 'responsive mode', which means that the applicant decides the research topic (as long as it is within the funder’s remit). Early career fellowships usually operate on an annual funding cycle, with call deadlines at the same time each year. You apply with the support of the 'host' institution, and will usually work closely with an academic mentor or supervisor, both on your application and throughout the lifetime of your project.

Learn more about working and living in Sheffield, as a city. There are also benefits of working at the University of Sheffield.

Applying for a Fellowship

Candidates interested in applying for a Fellowship hosted by the University of Sheffield are encouraged to contact Alex Goode, the Research Hub Manager on artsresearchhub@sheffield.ac.uk, and the Director of Research (DDRI) from the relevant department (see list below) to discuss your application, funding opportunities and associated eligibility requirements. 

To register your interest in any of the fellowship schemes below, please complete the Google Form and a member of the hub will be in touch.

Please include the following information:

  • Details of your proposed mentor (see our departments/schools pages to source possible mentors)
  • One page project outline
  • Your CV
Department/School DDRI Contact
Archaeology Dr Lizzy Craig-Atkins e.craig-atkins@sheffield.ac.uk
East Asian Studies Dr Jennifer Coates jennifer.coates@sheffield.ac.uk
English Professor Emma Moore e.moore@sheffield.ac.uk
History Professor Siobhan Lambert-Hurley s.t.lambert-hurley@sheffield.ac.uk
Languages and Cultures Dr Lauren Rea l.rea@sheffield.ac.uk
Music Professor Simon Keefe s.keefe@sheffield.ac.uk
Philosophy Dr Ryan Byerly t.r.byerly@sheffield.ac.uk 
Digital Humanities Institute Dr Mike Pidd m.pidd@sheffield.ac.uk
Video of Dr Claire Burridge discussing her Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship.
Video of Dr Dominic O'Key discussing his Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship.

Fellowship schemes

    British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Due to internal processes and deadlines, we are no longer accepting applications for BA Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme for 2023/24. More information will follow in early summer 2024 ahead of the 24/25 round. For more information on this scheme, please visit here.

    British Academy International Fellowships

    This call is currently closed but runs on an annual basis. Information will hopefully follow for the next round December 2023, with a deadline of March 2024.

    The BA International Fellowship scheme enables researchers to work for three years (Must start between 1 October 2024 and 31 March 2025, first date of the month preferred) at a UK institution with the aim of:

    • Attracting talented international early career researchers to establish and conduct their research in the UK; 
    • Supporting early career researchers to pursue high-quality and innovative lines of research; 
    • Providing opportunities to acquire and transfer new skills and knowledge through training and career development; 
    • Fostering long-term relationships through networking opportunities and the International Fellowships alumni programme.

    Applicants 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).
    • 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.

    Funding available

    Award-holders will be classified as salaried employees. This will be funded at 80% of the full Economic Cost, meaning a contribution towards overheads costs. 

    Up to £12,000 research expenses (funded at 100%)

    Up to £8,000 for relocation expenses (funded at 100%)

    Consumables may not be used to pay for: publication costs; salary costs or other costs of research staff/assistants; open access fees; and computer hardware including laptops.

    A maximum total of 1 month of research undertaken outside the UK is permitted over the course of the fellowship. 

    British Academy Visiting Fellowship

    This call is currently closed but runs on an annual basis. Information will hopefully follow for the next round in September 2023.

    The British Academy’s Visiting Fellowships programme provides outstanding academics based in any country overseas with the opportunity to be based at a UK higher education institution. The programme is open to academics at any career stage, and in any discipline within the humanities and social sciences.


    Visiting Fellows must be of postdoctoral level or above, or have equivalent research experience at the time of application. Candidates should be based outside of the UK at the time of application. Applicants may be on permanent or fixed-term contracts. Fixed-term contracts must not end before the end date of the Visiting Fellowship. Independent scholars are also welcome to apply.

    The British Academy welcomes applications from a diverse range of UK host institutions, and would particularly encourage applications from historically and / or structurally disadvantaged groups, low-income countries, and female researchers.

    For more details about the Visiting Fellowship programme, including eligibility requirements, please see the scheme notes.

    Aims of the scheme

    • enhance and build new links between scholars from around the globe and in the UK;
    • foster opportunities and encourage the development of new and future partnerships for collaborative research into the humanities and social sciences;
    • enable academics from across the globe to undertake research and/or professional development with UK colleagues;
    • strengthen the UK’s research bases in the humanities and the social sciences.
    ESRC New Investigator Grants

    ESRC New Investigator Awards are specifically aimed at supporting those looking to make the transition to an independent researcher through managing their first major research project.

    Please get in touch with the Arts Research Hub at artsresearchhub@sheffield.ac.uk for further information.

    European Research Council Starting Investigator Grant

    ERC Starting Grants are aimed at allowing potential grantees long-term, significant research funding in order to complete an extensive, ambitious research project. It supports up-and-coming research leaders from all disciplines who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders.

    Deadline: October 2023

    Eligibility: The scheme is for researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD (or equivalent degree) and a research track record showing great promise. The Principal Investigator (PI) does not necessarily need to be working at the host institution at the time when the proposal is submitted.

    Funding available: Up to €1.5 million (in some circumstances up to €2 million) for a period of up to 5 years. The sole evaluation criterion is the excellence of the researcher and research proposal.

    Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships

    Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships (ECFs) 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. These three-year Fellowships provide an exceptional opportunity to develop as an independent researcher, and will have a significant impact on future career trajectory. The expectation is that Fellows should undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure, and the project put forward should therefore not be a reworking or mere extension of the candidate’s doctoral research project.

    • Approximately 145 Fellowships will be available through the Leverhulme Trust in 2024
    • The Leverhulme Trust requires host institutions to fund at least 50% of the Fellow’s total salary costs (including National Insurance, superannuation and London allowance, where applicable) up to a maximum of £26,000 in each year of the award
    • The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is able to support 5 candidates to submit their applications to the Leverhulme Trust in 2024
    • Applications will be accepted in the following fields/areas: Archaeology, English, History, Philosophy, and Modern Languages and Cultures

    We are seeking outstanding applicants for the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship scheme for 2024, who can build on departmental strengths and capacity in line with departmental research strategies.  If you are interested in applying, you must first check that you meet the Leverhulme Trust's eligibility criteria. These can be found here.

    If you are eligible, and would like to apply to hold a Fellowship in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, please get in touch with the relevant Departmental contact (listed below) by Friday 3 November 2023 to find out about the internal application process for that department/school. You will need to provide a short CV (2 pages maximum) and an expression of interest form (template here), or any other documentation the department/school requires no later than Friday 24 November 2023. 


    The Faculty of Arts and Humanities

    The Faculty of Arts and Humanities includes four departments and three schools: Archaeology, History, Philosophy, Music, the School of East Asian Studies, the School of English and the School of Languages and Cultures, as well as the Modern Languages Teaching Centre. Our academic departments are among the best in the country in terms of their research and teaching. As confirmed by REF 2021, the Faculty boasts a particularly strong record of research projects and publications, supported by a flourishing research environment, including state-of-the-art-facilities and a long track record of successful knowledge exchange activities. Our scholarship and research, conducted individually and collaboratively, make a vibrant intellectual environment within our university. We work with partners and organisations across and outside the University through our impact and public engagement strategy to share our knowledge and advance our exploration of the study of humanity.

    Further information about the Faculty is available from http://www.shef.ac.uk/faculty/arts-and-humanities/


    5 of our departments/ schools (as below) are currently inviting expressions of interest from potential applicants who wish to be considered for support in applying to the Leverhulme Trust ECF.

    The Department of Archaeology Departmental Director of Research and Innovation to contact: Dr Lizzy Craig-Atkins The School of English Contact to send Expression of Interest: Jake Fraser The Department of History  Contact to send Expression of Interest: Catherine Anderson (please see highlighted text above for Department of History process) The School of Languages and Cultures  Contact to send Expression of Interest: Claire Leavitt The Department of Philosophy  Departmental Director of Research and Innovation:Ed Matthews

    Expression of interest

    Please use the attached expression of interest form, and forward this and a CV to the appropriate department contact, above.

    Selection criteria

    The Faculty review panel will use the following criteria in line with Leverhulme's approach to grant-making (further guidance can be found at http://leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/approach.cfm):


    Faculty Institutes and Research Centres

    The Faculty is host to the Digital Humanities Institute the UK's leading centre for the application of technology and computation in arts and humanities research. 

    The Faculty is also host to 20 Research Centres.

    If you wish to affiliate with one of these Institutes or Centres, you need to apply through the Department/School which is most relevant to your research interests.


    By Friday 3 November 2023

    Get in touch with your host department/school to assess alignment and hold initial discussions. 

    24th November 2023

    Closing date for expressions of interest and CVs to departments and schools.

    24th November - 11th December 2023

    Departments and schools will undertake their review of applications during this time and inform all candidates of the outcome of the decision during this period. 

    12th December 2023

    The selected candidates will be invited to work on their final proposals for submission to the Leverhulme Trust with support from the department/school and Faculty. Selected candidates will work with a mentor to finalise the proposal.


    The research Hub will also provide selected candidates with a short workshop session in order to go through application tips and ask any questions. 

    9th January 2024

    Deadline for drafts for Faculty Peer Review panel

    End of January 2024

    Feedback from Faculty Peer Review panel

    14th February 2024

    University DEADLINE for submitting internal costing (meaning no changes can be made to the budget from this date)

    19th February 2024 (by 9:00am)

    University DEADLINE for completion of final applications through the Leverhulme Trust Grant Application System (meaning no changes can be made to the full application from this date)

    22 February 2024

    Leverhulme Trust deadline for applications to the Early Career Fellowship scheme (institutional approval must be granted by this stage)

    Expression of interest

    Please use the attached expression of interest form, and forward this and a CV to the appropriate department contact, above.

    Selection criteria

    The Faculty review panel will use the following criteria in line with Leverhulme's approach to grant-making (further guidance can be found at http://leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/approach.cfm):

    •  Originality—the research achieves more than the incremental development of a single discipline
    • Importance—the work will enable further research or enquiry
    • Significance—the proposed research has relevance outside a single field, and is able to excite those working in other disciplines
    • Merit—the quality of the research design and methodology, and the suitability of the researchers and institution for the realisation of the proposed research objectives
    • Does the application reflect an individual’s personal vision, aspiration, or intellectual curiosity?
    • Does the applicant take appropriate risks in setting and pursuing research objectives?
    • Will it enable a refreshing departure from established patterns of working – either for the individual, or for the discipline?
    • Does the project transcend disciplinary boundaries?
    • Has the applicant gained experience at different institutions?
    For more information about the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship scheme see: https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/early-career-fellowships
    Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships 

    The objective of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (PF) is to support researchers’ careers and foster excellence in research. The Postdoctoral Fellowships action targets researchers holding a PhD who wish to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. PFs help researchers gain experience in other countries, disciplines and non-academic sectors.

    The Postdoctoral Fellows can undertake research trips, such as visits to other laboratories, archives or field work, as well as undertaking secondments. There is also an option to undertake an additional placement period of up to six months at the end of the project to spend time in a non-academic organisation established in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country.


    MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships are open to all academic disciplines and areas of research, from fundamental research to market take-up and innovation services. The research topic is chosen freely by the applicants (individuals and/or organisations) in a fully 'bottom-up' manner.

    All disciplines are eligible for Postdoctoral Fellowships, including research areas covered by the Euratom Research and Training Programme.

    Applicants should have a PhD degree at the time of the deadline for applications. Applicants who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered eligible to apply.

    There are routes to apply to this scheme, as follows:

    European Postdoctoral Fellowships: They are open to researchers moving within Europe or coming to Europe from another part of the world to pursue their research career. These fellowships take place in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country and can last between 1 and 2 years. Researchers of any nationality can apply. 

    Global Postdoctoral Fellowships: They fund the mobility of researchers outside Europe. The fellowship lasts between 2 to 3 years, of which the first 1 to 2 years will be spent in a non-associated Third Country, followed by a mandatory return phase of 1 year to an organisation based in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country. Only nationals or long-term residents of the EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries can apply.

    Funding available: a living allowance, a mobility allowance and associated costs, for a period of up to 3 years.

    Deadline: The 2023 call for Postdoctoral Fellowships is now open, and will close on 13th September 2023. Please get in touch with the Arts and Humanities Research Hub at artsresearchhub@sheffield.ac.uk at least 3 months in advance of the deadline.

    See our International Funding Opportunities page for information on Newton International Fellowships.

    Wellcome Trust Early Career Awards

    The Wellcome Trust Early Career Award scheme provides funding for early-career researchers who are ready to develop their research identity. Through innovative projects, you will deliver shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing. By the end of the award, you will be ready to lead your own independent research programme.

    Eligibility: You can apply to this scheme if you are an early-career researcher and you are ready to design, plan and deliver your own innovative research project. You will have completed a PhD (for example, in the life sciences) or an equivalent higher research degree. You may also have some postdoctoral experience in your proposed field of study, but generally no more than three years.

    Deadlines: The deadline for the next round is 5 October 2023 at 5pm UK time. Please get in touch with the Arts and Humanities Research Hub at artsresearchhub@sheffield.ac.uk at least 3 months in advance of the deadline.

    Funding available: Your salary and up to £400,000 for research expenses for a period of up to 5 years.

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