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Research grants Overview

THIS PAGE WILL BE COMPLETELY REVISED IN APRIL 2017. However, information on these pages will remain valid for applications for up to £60k in support of a research project (or up to £30k for a bridging grant) and the Easter Term round will proceed as usual. But there will be no round for larger Strategic Grants this summer - potential applicants should contact the Director for advice.

The Isaac Newton Trust makes awards totalling about £3m a year for research within the University. 

There are several main channels through which this money is spent:

A)  Isaac Newton Research Grants

The Trust runs its own research grant competition, which makes awards to Departments, Faculties and other University bodies three times each year. These awards are now open to IRCs, who should apply via the PVC for Research according to the timetable issued by his office.

The Trust receives about thirty applications per meeting, and normally funds over half of them to some extent.  Nearly all of the money is given specifically as support for post-doctoral salaries, though the Trust will consider applications for other purposes.

The Trust will require, in most cases, evidence of matching funding in order to release its funding; the fact that the Trust is often able to offer funding at shorter notice than external bodies can be useful in providing a short bridging award or in breaking the circle to attract and secure matching funding.

Detailed information about eligibility, application procedure and recent awards can be found here.

B)  Postdoctoral Early Career Fellowships - matching funding for national competitions:

The Trust supplies, on behalf of the University, the matching funding that allows post-doctoral researchers selected by  certain prestigious external fellowship competitions to hold their awards in Cambridge.  In the case of the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships, applicants must apply to the Trust itself for the pre-selection process.  The last ESRC Future Leaders have been appointed; this ESRC scheme to be replaced by the ESRC New Investigator Scheme. It is not clear at the moment whether ESRC will require institutional matching funding for this new award and, if it does, whether the INT would be involved.

Leverhulme ECFs

ESRC Future Leaders/New Investigators

Humboldt Foundation Feodor Lynen Fellowships

Trustees have recently agreed to provide the institutional contribution required by the Humboldt Foundation's Feodor Lynen Fellowships for early career postdocs. The intended host of any researcher who is applying to the Humboldt Foundation to hold one of these awards in Cambridge, or who has been offered one of these awards, should contact the Director;  details of how the INT award works can be found here.

The Trust contributes to Clinical Research Fellowships in collaboration with the Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust (ACT)

C)  Junior Research Fellowships in Colleges (Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences)

See 'Support for Colleges'

D)  Early Career researchers appointed to University posts (Sciences & Technology)

The Trust helps to fund the various research grant schemes for which the University Research Strategy office is responsible.  In particular it has been instrumental in setting up two schemes to offer part-funding for early career lecturers (and equivalent postholders) in the science and technology Schools, one for the biomedical sciences and one for the physical sciences and technology. 

For early career lecturers in science and technology, these awards, rather than the Trust’s own research grant competition, should be the first port of call , especially if you are looking for start-up support for your lab.  However, if you already have external matching funding and want to build on that, you could apply for the Trust competition instead. 

NB these programmes are not administered by the Isaac Newton Trust - please visit the relevant webpages for all queries and for further information:

E)  Research Grants in the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

The Trust is a major contributor to the Cambridge Humanities Research Grant Scheme (CHRGS), which includes a Small Research Grant element. There are two calls per annum in Michaelmas and Lent Terms.

The Michaelmas Term call is now CLOSED  (closing date 20 October 2016).

The Trust also supports a range of other projects, e.g. Early Career Fellowships offered by CRASSH. See:

F)  Strategic Project & Programme Grants

The Trust welcomes enquiries from innovative and collaborative research projects and programmes based in the University of Cambridge, particularly those supporting early career post-doctoral fellows. Current projects supported by the Trust include:
CATS - Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences - launched 09 March 2017
Cambridge-Africa Partnership for Research Excellence (CAPREx) Research Fellows

Cambridge-INET (Institute for New Economic Thinking)

Millennium Mathematics Project

The Casebook project


FOR MORE INFORMATION on research funding in the University of Cambridge, visit the Research Strategy Office website