Early career Fellowships in the Arts and Humanities

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities are keen to support outstanding candidates in a number of externally funded research fellowship schemes.

Fellowship image

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships is a three year award made to an annual cohort of outstanding early career researchers in the humanities or social sciences.  This scheme provides funding to cover the costs of a 36 month fellowship at a host institution. The purpose of this award is to enable the award holder to pursue an independent research project, towards the completion of a significant piece of publishable research.

Amount Available: Support for salary of the Postdoctoral Fellow at full FEC plus up to £6,000 total research expenses and the time of the mentor for up to 36 hours (or the equivalent of 1 hour per month).

Applicants must be within 3 years of the award of their doctorate and they must not have a permanent academic post.

The competition for the Postdoctoral Fellowship is held in two stages. The Outline Stage is open for everyone within the eligibility criteria here (note this is for the 2020 round and the 2021 round should be checked when available, before applying). The Second Stage is invitation only.  Applicants can only apply to this competition once, unless specifically invited to re-apply, so it is important to consider if this is the optimal time for any particular individual to apply.

Please contact the Department Director of Research (DDRI) from the relevant department/school for further information.

Fellowship schemes

Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship scheme

This scheme offers a unique opportunity for non-UK based scholars to come to Sheffield to complete a significant research project.

Applicants can come from any country in the world for up to two years under the supervision of an established academic as part of the European Fellowship strand.

The only criterion is that they must not have spent more than 12 months in the UK in the last three years.

The scheme has no thematic requirements, so applicants are welcome from all disciplines. Fellows are afforded a generous stipend and related research costs. More details can be found here.

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.

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.

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

More details can be found here.

Wellcome Trust Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Science

This scheme supports postdoctoral researchers in health-related humanities and social sciences who do not hold established academic posts.

You can apply for a Research Fellowship if you’re a postdoctoral researcher who wants to carry out an extended period of research on your own project.

More details can be found here.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships

The UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) will grow the strong supply of talented individuals needed to ensure that UK research and innovation continues to be world class.

This cross-UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) scheme will support early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments including research councils' institutes and laboratories.

The FLF scheme welcomes applications from both UK and international applicants and individuals should use the person specification to assess and justify their suitability for the scheme.

Support of the institution will be a critical component of all fellowships which will enable the fellow to transition to or establish their research/innovation independence in any area supported by UKRI.

There will be six calls for these fellowships; two calls per year between 2018-19 and 2020-21 (financial years), typically awarding at least 100 fellowships per call across UKRI's remit.

This is a single scheme across the entire UKRI remit, with no ringfenced budgets for specific areas and no barriers to interdisciplinary or cross-sector research. The University will run an internal competition to select applicants for each funding round - please check back for details of the next round.

More details can be found here.

If you are interesting in applying to this scheme through the University of Sheffield, please express your interest by contacting the relevant DDRI.

UKRI require that host organisations must only submit their strongest applications and as such, the University is running an internal selection process for each round.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships Internal Application Process 2022

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 2022
  • The Leverhulme Trust requires host institutions to fund at least 50% of the overall Fellowship cost (for this round, this is in years 2 and 3)
  • The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is able to support seven candidates to submit their applications to the Leverhulme Trust in 2022
  • Applications will be accepted in the following fields/areas: Archaeology, East Asian Studies, English, History, Philosophy, Music, and Modern Languages and Cultures

We are seeking outstanding applicants for the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship scheme for 2022, 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 mid-November 2021 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, or any other documentation the department/school requires no later than 3 December 2021.

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 2014, 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 School of English Departmental Director of Research and Innovation: Professor Emma Moore
The School of Languages and Cultures  Departmental Director of Research and Innovation: Professor Philip Swanson
The Department of Philosophy  Departmental Director of Research and Innovation: Dr Dominic Gregory 
The School of East Asian Studies  Departmental Director of Research and Innovation: Dr Jennifer Coates
The Department of History  Departmental Director of Research and Innovation: Professor Siobhan Lambert-Hurley

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 (Director: Michael Pidd).

The Faculty is also host to 16 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.


*Please note that The Department of History has a different internal process for The Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships Scheme which can be found HERE

By mid-November

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

3 December 2021

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

Applicants for the Department of History ONLY should follow the guidance HERE

3 - 16 December 2021

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. 

17 December 2021

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.

14 January 2022

Deadline for drafts for Faculty Peer Review panel

End of January 2022

Feedback from Faculty Peer Review panel

21 February 2022

University deadline for completion of final applications through the Leverhulme Trust Grant Application System

24 February 2022

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: http://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/ECF/ECF.cfm

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