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Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Fellowships

A number of schemes are available across the arts, humanities and social sciences, as detailed below. If you would like to discuss any further, please get in touch on


ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

The ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship enables those in the immediate postdoctoral stage of their career to consolidate their PhD through developing publications, networks, and research and professional skills in the field of social sciences. Open to applicants who have completed their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT and who are within 12 months of passing their viva voce (career breaks considered). DTPs will have their own procedures in place to peer review the proposals and make funding decisions on behalf of ESRC.

Proposals that involve the use of advanced quantitative methods, data skills or engagement with partners in the business sector are particularly encouraged.

Duration: 1 year. Maximum funding: Award covers salary and up to £10,000 of additional costs.

Internal process for University of Reading applicants

Applicants wishing to hold an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at University of Reading need to apply through the South East Academic Network (SeNSS) doctoral centre, of which University of Reading is part. Deadlines for applications are announced annually in November. All prospective candidates are required to submit a short Expression of Interest form and CV. Following eligibility checks, candidates are invited to submit full proposals by March. Proposals are considered internally by a panel of academics and a recommendation is made to SeNSS, which then reviews recommended applications and selects candidates for an interview. Successful candidates are expected to start fellowships in October.

British Academy (BA)

The BA Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme supports research within the Humanities or Social Sciences, and the primary emphasis is on the completion of a significant piece of publishable research. Applicants must be at an early stage of their research career with no more than 3 years' experience from their PhD viva. They must be an EU or British citizen or hold a doctorate from a UK university and must not have held a permanent post in a university.

The competition is in two stages - the outline stage is open to anyone satisfying the eligibility criteria and usually closes in October; the second stage is by invitation only with a February deadline.

Duration: 3 years.

Maximum funding limit: Salary and a maximum of £6,000 for research expenses.

Application Deadline: 14 October 2021

Internal process for applicants

There is no institutional limit on how many British Academy Post Doctoral Fellowships can be submitted, however, individual Schools may limit the number of applications that they will support because of the associated academic time commitment required for review and mentorship. Please contact to express your interest and be advised of internal processes. Research Services arrange an information session with candidates to cover all aspects of the submission process.


The British Academy Newton International Fellowships is open to applicants who have a PhD, or will have a PhD when the funding starts, up to 7 years of post-doctoral experience.  Applicants must be working outside of the UK and not hold UK citizenship.  They must also have a clearly defined and mutually beneficial research proposal agreed with the UK host academic.

Duration: 2 years 

Maximum funding: £24,000 per annum subsistence plus £8,000 per annum research expenses with a sole payment of £3,500 relocation expenses

Application Deadline: 16 June 2021


The British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships awards are intended primarily to provide opportunities for researchers who have already made an outstanding contribution to their field and have achieved distinction as an excellent communicator and "champion" in their field, and who would usually be within no more than 15 years of the award of their doctorate. In considering eligibility, the Academy will make due allowance for applicants who have had career breaks; and for established researchers who do not have doctorates, who should be within 15 years of their first academic appointment.  These Fellowships are awards to individuals employed at UK universities, other UK institutions of higher education or Independent Research Organisations.  The awards support outstanding individual researchers and outstanding communicators who will promote public engagement and understanding of the humanities and social sciences. Awards will be judged both on the quality of the research proposed and on the capacity of the applicant to communicate with a broad audience. 

Duration: Awards can be held over a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months

Maximum funding: Contribution to the salary of the Mid-Career Fellow will be capped at an upper limit of £80,000. It is not expected that the total value of an award will exceed £160,000 (BA contribution to FEC). 

Application Deadline: 15 September 2021


Wellcome Trust

The Research Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences scheme supports research within the Humanities or Social Sciences that is health related. Applicants must be at an early stage of their research career but there is no limit on time since PhD. Fellows must be based (or planning to be based) in the UK, Republic of Ireland or a low- or middle-income country (apart from mainland China).

There are two rounds of this competition each year and each round has two stages. The outline stage is open to anyone satisfying the eligibility criteria and usually closes in January and in June; the second stage is by invitation only with a March or September deadline.

Duration 3 years. Maximum funding: £275,000, with additional funds for impact-related activities.

Leverhulme Trust

The Early Career Fellowship is for early career researchers with a research record (but who have not yet held a full-time permanent academic post) to undertake a significant piece of publishable work. 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.

Applications will be considered in all subject areas with the following exceptions: studies of disease, illness and disabilities in humans and animals or research that is intended to inform clinical practice or the development of medical applications.

Duration: 3 years. Maximum funding: 50% of the Fellow's total salary costs (max. £25,000 per year) £6,000 research expenses per year.

Internal process for applicants

The University supports 10 applications. Only one application per School is expected.

The Head of School must submit an Expression of Interest to the University Committee for Research and Innovation (UCRI) in November (details tbc) with the following:

1. Details of the proposed project (max 1 side of A4)

2. a CV (max 2 sides of A4)

3. Confirmation that the 25% of the salary costs will be covered by the School

Scheme opens: 1st January 2021. Deadline: 25th February 2021.

Candidates are required to approach the proposed host department in advance of the November deadline for the Expression of Interest to discuss being hosted and any internal selection processes at School level. Research Services host a Workshop for all candidates to the scheme in January.


Daphne Jackson Trust

The Daphne Jackson Fellowship scheme supports researchers who are returning to work after a career break of 2 or more years, taken for a family, caring or health reason. The scheme is open to researchers from all fields of research; previously the scheme was only open to STEM subjects but the remit expanded in July 2020 to also include arts and humanities. Fellowships are flexible and part-time, usually completed over two years at 0.5 FTE, and consist of a challenging research project and at least 100 hours' retraining per year. Funding is provided through a number of funders, so the exact duration may vary; please check the funders' websites for details.

Duration: 2 or 3 years. Maximum funding: variable depending on the funder.

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships

The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships scheme aims to support early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, businesses and research institutes to make the transition to or establish independence.

The Future Leaders Fellowship scheme is for applicants of outstanding potential in any research discipline. Applicants will need to demonstrate the "added value" that UKRI's investment will have on their career and how the funding will enable them to become a leader within their field. The internal process for the 6th and final round of this scheme has now been completed. Whilst there are no further rounds of this scheme advertised, it is anticipated the UKRI will extend this scheme. Further details will be post here when they have been published.

Duration: 4 years initially with an option for a further 3 years funding. Maximum funding: Up to £1.5 million including salaries, consumables, training and travel. This scheme provides tapered support for the Fellow's salary from year 3, so agreement must be sought from the appropriate Head of School prior to submission of an Expression of Interest (EoI).

An information session about the Future Leaders Fellowship scheme and the internal process was held on Monday 10th August 10.30 -11.30am. The presentation can be found here:

UoR UKRI FLF Scheme Presentation

AHRC held an information session in September 2020 which also included a lot of general information about the scheme. This can be found here:

UKRI FLF Presentation

Marie Skłodowska-Curie - Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Postdoctoral Fellowships give experienced researchers the chance to work internationally and enhance their skills through advanced training and possible secondments. Applicants should have a PhD by the time of the call deadline and maximum of 6 years full-time equivalent experience in research.

Two types of Individual Fellowships are available:

European Postdoctoral Fellowships are open to researchers (of any nationality) who wish to engage in R&I projects by either coming to Reading from any country in the world or moving to Reading from within Europe;

Global Postdoctoral Fellowships are open to researchers from the University of Reading (European nationals or long-term residents) who wish to spend time in a Third Country before returning to the University. Applications are invited across any academic discipline.

Duration: European Fellowship 1-2 years; Global Fellowship 2-3 years.

Maximum Funding: Funding is available on a set unit cost basis and expected contribution depends on the number of person-months requested.

The scheme currently has an indicative deadline of 15th September 2021. Interested candidates should contact Ioanna Theophanous (

Please note

- All scheme details TBC, following official publishing of the Horizon Europe MSCA WP.

- UK eligibility TBC, for the latest information on eligibility please review the current information here.