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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  closes in October; the second stage is by invitation only with a February deadline.

Eligibility requirements

The applicant must be a researcher from the humanities and social sciences and be based at an eligible university or research organisation. Suitable institutions include any UK university or recognised research organisation based in the UK. British citizens and any nationals from the EEA are eligible, regardless of where their doctorate was obtained. Anyone of any nationality who has a doctorate from a UK university is eligible. If an applicant does not meet the prior categories, they may be accepted if they can demonstrate ‘strong prior association’ with the UK academic community. Applicants must be of Early Career Status, meaning they must apply within three years from the date of their successful viva voce examination. For this round of competition, applicants are expected to have completed their viva voce between 01/04/2022 and 01/04/2025.

Duration: 3 years.

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

Application Deadline:  expected deadline mid October 2024

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: Not currently running. Future dates TBC


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: Expected deadline  August 2024


The British Academy is an overseas nominating authority for this scheme, which is funded entirely by the JSPS. In this capacity, the British Academy nominates a designated number of candidates each year.  The British Academy Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme for Overseas Researchers scheme provides funding for early career postdoctoral researchers to conduct cooperative research in Japan, with leading research groups in Japanese universities and other institutions, under the guidance of a Japanese host.  The aim of the programme is to help early career researchers advance their own research while contributing to the progress of research both in Japan and abroad.  For applicants to be considered for nomination by the British Academy, the research undertaken must be on a subject within the social sciences or humanities. Applicants must have received their PhD within the last six years prior to their application and must be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. They must have a research proposal agreed with a host researcher employed at a university/research institution in Japan. 

Duration: 12 months minimum to 24 months maximum.

Maximum funding: The scheme provides subsistence monthly maintenance stipend of ¥362,000, as well as a settling-in allowance of ¥200,000 and a return air ticket. The Japanese host institution may also apply through the Japanese host researcher for a "Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research" for cooperative research-related expenses.

Application Deadline:  Future deadline date TBA 


Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust Early Career Researcher Award scheme provides funding for early-career researchers from any discipline who are ready to develop their research identity. Through innovative projects, they will deliver shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing. Applicants must be at an early stage of their research career but there is no limit on time since PhD. Researchers 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 or India).

There are three rounds of this competition each year. The stages of application include submission, shortlisting, review and interview.  The submission stage usually closes in February, May/June and October.  

Duration: Usually 5 years, but may be less for some disciplines, and longer if held on a part-time basis.

Maximum funding: Salary and up to £400,000 for research expenses.

Application Deadline: Next deadline is 21st May 2024


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. £26,000 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

Funder Deadline Date: 22nd February 2024

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.


Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowships (European Commission)

MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships aim to enhance the creative and innovative potential of researchers holding a PhD and who wish to acquire new skills through advanced training, international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility. The scheme is open to excellent researchers of any nationality.  MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships also encourage researchers to work on research and innovation projects in the non-academic sector and is open to researchers wishing to reintegrate in Europe, to those who are displaced by conflict, as well as to researchers with high potential who are seeking to restart their careers in research.

Through the implementation of an original and personalised research project, MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships aim to foster excellence through training and mobility and to equip researchers with new skills and competences in order to identify solutions to current and future challenges. Postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to reach out to society at large to make the results of their research visible to citizens.

The EU portal call webpage provides all official EC call documents. 

An unofficial applicant Handbook, prepared by MSCA-NET (network of MSCA National Contact Points), may also prove useful.

Duration: European Postdoctoral Fellowships 12-24 months, Global Postdoctoral Fellowships 12-24 months + 12 month return phase

*An additional period of up to six months can be requested for a placement, at the end of the project, in an organisation from the non-academic sector.

Maximum funding: n/a - budget calculated based on unit costs, multiplied by the requested person months

Application deadline (annual scheme):  11th September 2024

Interested candidates should contact Ioanna Theophanous

Internal screening process via RDLs applies for this scheme.

Cut-off date for accepting new applications: tbc 14 August 2024
Internal deadline (for finalised application):tbc 28 August 2024


UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships: Round 9

This scheme is for early career researchers and innovators who are either:

  • looking to establish or transition to independence
  • developing their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting

UKRI is offering funding to support ambitious research or innovation programmes across its disciplinary remit. Candidates must be based at, and have the support of, an eligible academic or non-academic institution. There is no minimum or maximum award value. Your project can last for up to four years, with the option to apply to renew for a further three years.

Internal demand management process

This is a highly competitive scheme. In order to administer the scheme in a timely manner, UKRI have introduced a cap to the number of applications each institution can submit. Under this cap, the University of Reading can submit up to 4 applications. Therefore in order to identify the strongest applications, there will be an internal selection process. Interested candidates need to approach their Head of School and/or RDL to progress. The deadline for submissions for the EoI process 2024 is 8th March.

Please see the links below for the documents relating to this process:

For any queries relating to this process please contact in the first instance.

UKRI  application closing date: 18th June 2024

Further information is available from the Future Leaders Fellowships: round 9 page.