Early career Fellowships in the School of English

The School of English 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.

Two masters students working together with books

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.

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.

You can learn more about working (see here) and living (see here) in Sheffield, as a city, whilst there are a number of benefits of working at the University of Sheffield.


You can learn more about working and living in Sheffield, as a city, whilst there are a number of benefits of working at the University of Sheffield.

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 Professor Emma Moore, our Director of Research (DDRI) in the School of English to discuss your application, funding opportunities and associated eligibility requirements.

Please include the following information:

  • Details of your proposed mentor (see our Find a supervisor page to source possible mentors)
  • One-page project outline
  • Your CV
Video of Dr Dominic O'Key discussing his Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship.

Fellowship schemes

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

British Acadamy Postdoctoral Fellowship - NOW LIVE

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.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is encouraging and welcoming applicants to this scheme, as:

  • it is an excellent opportunity to continue to develop and diversify the academic environment at the University, which is particularly relevant at a time when other such opportunities are limited
  • it offers an opportunity for academics to develop their career prospects, which again is particularly relevant in this current uncertain context
  • it offers excellent grant funding, including for salary and overheads, plus attracting a high Research Net Contribution.

To view all past awards made by the British Academy see: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/funding/postdoctoral-fellowships/past-awards/ 

Scheme information:

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: Currently, the Academy funds 80% of salary costs, directly allocated and indirect costs under FEC. Research expenses are covered at 100% within the upper limit, which is set at £6000 over the three years.  The time of the mentor is covered 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. 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.

Internal Process:

For the Faculty internal review, drafts (using the British Academy application template) should be submitted to artsresearchhub@sheffield.ac.uk by Friday 2 September. The aim is for the review panel to meet and give feedback by the end of September. Applications must be drafted in the grants management system, Flexi-Grant®, and downloaded as a PDF.

Mentors should contact their DDRI to arrange a separate departmental peer review.

We are not restricting the number of applications through Arts & Humanities.

Key Dates:

Date Action(s) Required
13 July 2022 Scheme Opens (see here for further guidance)
22 August 2022     
Contact artsresearchhub@sheffield.ac.uk & DDRI to confirm intention to apply (and your agreed mentor)
2 September 2022 Faculty internal review deadline
12 October 2022 Funder deadline for Outline Stage submissions
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.

Deadlines: Open call with no deadlines

Eligibility: The call is open to high-quality candidates from anywhere in the world who have a maximum of four years’ postdoctoral experience and the support of an eligible UK research organisation.

Funding available: £100,000 to £300,000 for a period of up to 5 years

Mentoring: All applicants are required to have a named mentor based at the research organisation where the grant is to be held.

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: 25 October 2022.

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

The Faculty holds an annual Internal Application Process for Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships, which usually runs from ~October to the following February, depending on the funder deadline. More details will follow, once the dates for 2023 are confirmed.

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.

We seek applications from outstanding candidates 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.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships - NOW LIVE

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.

Deadlines: The 2022 call is currently open with a deadline of 14 September 2022.

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: 18 October 2022

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

UK Young Academy - Shaping a better future together - NOW LIVE

Are you early in your career with approximately 3 – 12 years’ experience in your field? If so, please consider applying to become a member of the UK Young Academy (UKYA).

The British Academy, along with the six other senior national academies, has launched the UKYA, a new interdisciplinary forum for UK-based early career researchers, innovators and professionals.

As part of a global network of Young Academies, the UKYA will allow emerging talent with ideas, initiative and drive to work together to tackle global issues and influence decision makers. The UKYA will see future leaders from across the UK in SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy) disciplines apply their expertise alongside colleagues from other fields, both in the UK and in collaboration with Young Academies across the world. 

Internationally, Young Academies have played roles as diverse as tackling health inequalities and debating the state of democracy, but it is the founding members of the new UKYA that will decide the scope and range of their work for themselves.

The call for applications for the first members is currently open.

Submissions close on Thursday 8 September 2022 at 3pm (BST).

For full details of eligibility criteria and how to apply, please visit https://ukyoungacademy.org/.

Please contact artsreserachhub@sheffield.ac.uk if you are interested in applying. 

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