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Isaac Newton Trust


Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships:

2019 National Competition

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships National Competition Deadline is 28 February 2019

Cambridge Internal Application Round 2019 is CLOSED



The Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship is a highly prestigious, fiercely competitive, post-doctoral award for researchers who are near the start of their career. 100 awards are available nationally, so competition is stiff.

Candidates are eligible for the Leverhulme competition only if:

  • they have not yet held a full-time permanent academic post in a UK University or comparable UK institution;
  • they will have submitted their PhD no earlier than 28 February 2015 (unless they have had a career break) and not later than 4pm on 28 February 2019;
  • they currently either hold a degree from a UK HEI or at the time of application have held an academic position (eg fixed-term fellowship) in the UK for at least 4 months (ie were appointed before 31 October 2018).

NB:  All subjects are eligible except Clinical Medicine, and studies of disease/illness/disability in animals or humans.

Other conditions do apply.  FULL DETAILS of the Leverhulme Trust’s eligibility rules and application procedure should be consulted before applying.  The Leverhulme rules override any rules the Isaac Newton Trust (INT) might set locally for selecting candidates for the national competition.

Matching funding required

The Leverhulme Trust provides only half of the salary of each ECF over a three-year period, up to a maximum of £25,000 in each year (plus a contribution to research expenses);  the other half of the salary must be provided by the institution at which the grant will be held. 

Each University may submit a limited number of selected applications to the national Leverhulme competition and each candidate put forward for the national round must supply a letter specifying where the institutional matching funding will come from.

The INT is pleased to offer promises to match the Leverhulme award in support of individuals who successfully apply for Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships to be held at the University of Cambridge starting in 2019-20.

Up to 50 pledges of support are available this year.

Identifying candidates for pledges of INT matched funding                    

There is a preliminary internal competition to identify a subset of candidates to be offered INT support subject to their being successful in the application process for a national competition;  please see the following information:


  • Candidates apply to their chosen department/faculty/institution by the deadline set by the Head of that Institution
  • Departments should send supported applications to the Isaac Newton Trust to arrive no later than 14 January 2019
  • The Trust will inform candidates and departments of those selected in good time for them to be able to apply for a Leverhulme award by the national deadline of 28 February 2019.

Terms and conditions attached to INT offers of matching funding


  • If a candidate is successful at the local level and subsequently applies to the Leverhulme Trust, the Cambridge Department/Faculty will be asked by Leverhulme to specify the starting salary
  • the Department/Faculty must agree this starting salary in advance with the candidate
  • The Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship is not a grant, so an actual salary point and costings, which must be in line with the University's salaries policy, are required. INT also now asks for this information as part of the internal competition documentation
  • Please note that neither Leverhulme Trust nor the INT pays the apprenticeship levy, so this should not be included in estimates of costs.
  • If there is likely to be a shortfall between the salary agreed by the Department/Faculty and the maximum available from the two Trusts together (ie £50,000 p.a. including on costs, or pro rata for part-time study), the difference must be made up from other sources
  • While the Leverhulme Trust offers research support (up to £6k p.a.), the Isaac Newton Trust  does not provide research expenses in addition to a contribution to the salary
  • The Trust will pay its proportionate share of the costs of maternity leave  according to the policy of the Leverhulme Trust (which supports maternity leave but not medical leave)

TRANSFERS (please contact the Senior Administrator if any of the following apply):

  • Where the Isaac Newton Trust agrees to support an application to the Leverhulme competition and the candidate is unsuccessful at the national level, the Trust’s support cannot normally be switched to match an alternative source of funds; an exception might be made for a candidate successful in another of the highly-prestigious national competitions requiring matched funding (eg a Research Council Fellowship); department/lab/College grants are not suitable as sources of alternative matching funds.
  • A candidate selected by Leverhulme at national level who applied on the basis that matching funding was available from any source other than the INT (eg from his/her department), cannot turn to the Isaac Newton Trust after the event to seek INT matching funding.
  • A candidate who is successful in obtaining a Leverhulme ECF through Cambridge University but whose award is subsequently transferred to another institution cannot take the INT matching funding with them, but must seek matching funds from his/her new institution for the remainder of their award.
  • A candidate awarded a Leverhulme ECF through another institution who subsequently wishes to transfer to Cambridge may apply to the INT for matching funding for the Cambridge stage of the award (and should contact the Director in the first instance).  NB Leverhulme do not allow transfers before the grant has been taken up.

Please do not hesitate to ask the Senior Administrator if you have queries relating to the Cambridge internal competition.