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LECF 2018 Notes for Applicants

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships:  2018 competition

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships are highly prestigious, fiercely competitive, awards for researchers who are near the start of their post-doctoral career. Leverhulme specify that you must have submitted your PhD thesis no later than 4pm on 01 March 2018 and no earlier than 01 March 2014, unless you have had a career break.

All subjects are eligible except Clinical Medicine (non-clinical research in the School of Clinical Medicine is however, eligible – if in doubt, ask your chosen Department for advice).

Other eligibility criteria must be met - see details below.

Matching Funding required

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 Isaac Newton Trust (INT) is pleased to provide matched funding to support individuals who successfully apply for Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships in 2017-18 to be held at the University of Cambridge from October 2018. 

The application process therefore consists of two steps as follows:

a) The Isaac Newton Trust runs an internal competition to identify which candidates for Leverhulme awards to be held at Cambridge can be offered matching funding:

  • You should apply to the department, faculty or institute in which you hope to hold the award by the deadline announced by your intended department/institute (check with the Head of Department about this);
  • the Head of your chosen department/institute arranges a preliminary competition to select a small number of applicants to put forward for INT funding;
  • from these ranked lists, 50 applicants (across all subjects in the University) are selected for INT support by internal subject-based panels;
  • if you are selected for INT support in the event you are successful at the national level you will provided with evidence to send to Leverhulme with your national application.

b) Selected candidates for INT support then apply to the national competition run by the Leverhulme Trust:

  • You must apply to the Leverhulme Trust by the national deadline (01 March 2018), sending evidence of the INT’s promise to match the Leverhulme’s award;
  • the Leverhulme Trust’s academic panels select candidates from those submitted by all the Universities in the UK and award a this year expect to award about 100 Fellowships nationwide, of which perhaps 10-16 may be for research in Cambridge.

Before you apply to the internal competition

  1. Check whether you and your subject are eligible on the Leverhulme Trust’s website
  2. Read the full instructions for the Leverhulme Trust’s national competition 
  3. Identify a Cambridge academic as a suitable host and find the appropriate Cambridge department/faculty/institute in host list;
  4. Discuss your plans with your intended host and check the department/faculty/institute will be willing in principle to accept you if you are successful in the national competition;
  5. Find out what deadline has been set by the Head of Department/Faculty/Institute for the preliminary stage of the internal competition

Applications for the internal competition

NB You should send your application to your intended Cambridge host department/faculty/institute, not to the Leverhulme or Isaac Newton Trusts.

An application for the internal competition consists of:

  • a cover sheet
  • a brief c.v. (not exceeding two sides), and
  • a draft of the three items required for the Leverhulme application:
  1. a list of your major publications (maximum one side)
  2. a statement of your current research (maximum 250 words) and
  3. a detailed statement of your proposed research (maximum two sides).

Some Departments hold on file redacted versions of previous successful applications for Leverhulme Fellowships; these can often be very useful to candidates applying for the current competition, so you might ask your department if these are available.


  • Two letters of reference are needed, of which one should come from outside Cambridge (note that the national stage of the Leverhulme competition requires a third reference as well, but this is not necessary for the internal INT competition)
  • Please ask your referees to send their letters directly to the host Department/Institute by their deadline (see below), not to the Isaac Newton Trust.


  • Submit the application to your chosen department/faculty/institute by the deadline it has set for applications - this varies across the University so you need to find out what this is;
  • Departments/faculties/institutes send their ranked list of applicants and supported applications to the Isaac Newton Trust to arrive no later than 15 January 2018
  • The Trust will inform selected candidates and their hosts in good time for apply for a Leverhulme award by the national deadline of 01 March 2018.

The Leverhulme Trust will notify you if you have been successful or not, or, if you have been placed on a reserve list during May.  If you are successful and accept your offer, the Leverhulme Trust will write to your department who will need to formally confirm your place.  Once the Leverhulme Trust are in receipt of this, you will be sent a final confirmation letter from the Leverhulme Trust. 

Please send a copy of this confirmation letter from the Leverhulme Trust to the Issac Newton Trust on:   so that the Isaac Newton Trust can finally confirm your matched funding.


to our Trustees Sir Gregory Winter, jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern, on the award of the 2018 Balzan Prize for her contributions in Social Anthropology.

Trustees' meeting dates

Thursday 29 November 2018 at 4pm

Thursday 14 March 2019 at 4pm

Thursday 4 July 2019 at 3pm

Forthcoming closing dates

Newton Trust Research Grants (all categories)  - the 2018-2019 timetable may be found here.

Cambridge Humanities Research Grants (CHRGs) 2018 Michaelmas Term round  is now open (deadline 12 November)

The Leverhulme Trust has announced its Early Career Fellowships competition for 2019; the internal Cambridge competition details will be announced by the end of October.

 'So thrilled about this grant. It's a wonderful scheme to boost young post-docs.

 Thank-you Newton!'



Our first Fellows' Day, for early career research fellows partially funded by the Trust, was held on 14 June, with a series of fascinating talks by 15 of our Leverhulme ECF, Humboldt, ESRC and Max-Cam Fellows, followed by networking over drinks.

Recent deadlines

College Teaching Officer Research Leave - the 2018 Round is now closed.

INT/Schools of Physical Sciences & Technology (start-up grants for new University Lecturers) - the 2018 round is now closed

INT/Wellcome Trust ISSF/Schools of Biological Sciences and Clinical Medicine (start-up grants for new University Lecturers and PIs) - the 2018 round is now closed

INT/College Junior Research Fellowships - has now closed for October 2019 starts

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