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Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships are highly prestigious, fiercely competitive, awards for researchers who are near the start of their post-doctoral career.  The Leverhulme Trust specify that you must have submitted your PhD thesis no later than 4pm on 25 February 2021 and no earlier than 25 February 2017, 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 Host Institution for advice).

Other eligibility criteria must be met - see details below.

Matching Funding Required

Each UK 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 to be held at the University of Cambridge in the year commencing October 2021.

The application process

This consists of two steps as follows:

a) The INT 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 Host Institution in which you hope to hold the award by the deadline announced by your intended Host Institution (check with the Head of Host Institution about this);
  • the Head of your Host Institution arranges a preliminary competition to select a small number of applicants to put forward for INT funding;
  • from these ranked lists, candidates (across all subjects in the University) are selected for INT support by internal subject-based panels;
  • if you are selected for INT support 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 (25 February 2021, 4pm), 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 will award approximately 100 Fellowships nationwide;
  • INT confirm its support only if you are successful at a national level

Before you apply to the internal competition

  • Check whether you and your subject are eligible on the Leverhulme Trust’s websiteNB:  If you are a JRF or have held a JRF at a Cambridge College you are not eligible to apply.  Applicants must not yet have held a full-time permanent academic post in a UK university or comparable UK institution, nor may Fellows hold such a post concurrently with the Early Career Fellowship.​
  • Read the full instructions for the Leverhulme Trust’s national competition
  • Identify a Cambridge academic as a suitable host and find the appropriate Cambridge Host Institution in host list;
  • Discuss your plans with your intended host and check the Host Institution will be willing in principle to accept you if you are successful in the national competition;
  • Find out what deadline has been set by the Head of Institution for the preliminary stage of the internal competition

Applications for the internal competition

NB You should send your application to your intended Cambridge Host Institution, 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 Host Institutions 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 Host Institution 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 Institution by their deadline (see below), not to the Isaac Newton Trust.


  • Submit the application to your chosen Host Institution by the deadline it has set for applications - this varies across the University so you need to find out what this is;
  • Host Institutions send their ranked list of applicants and supported applications to the Isaac Newton Trust to arrive no later than 11 January 2021
  • The Trust will inform selected candidates and their Host Institutions in good time for applying for a Leverhulme award by the national deadline of 25 February 2021, 4pm.  Please note that your Host Institution may need you to complete your final application before this deadline.

The Leverhulme Trust will notify applicants if they have been successful or not, or, if they have been placed on a reserve list during May.  If you are successful and accept your offer, the Leverhulme Trust will write to your Host Institution who will need to formally confirm your place.  Once the Leverhulme Trust are in receipt of this confirmation, you will be sent a final confirmation letter from the Leverhulme Trust.  Please send a copy of this final confirmation letter from the Leverhulme Trust to the Senior Administrator so that the Isaac Newton Trust can finally confirm your matched funding.


INT Funding Rounds

INT Research Grants Round for Michaelmas Term 2021

Draft Application to Head of Department by 21 September 2021

Trustees' Meeting Dates

Thursday 8 July 2021

Thursday 25 November 2021

Thursday 10 March 2022

Our Awards

The Trust has provided support for research projects across the University, as well as making major interventions to enable strategic projects that offer considerable long-term benefit to the University since 1988.

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