Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships

The process for applications currently runs on a three-year cycle and is now closed. It is due to re-open in 2020.

This scheme offers ten grants of £1.05 million each to fund full-time scholarships for doctoral study in a subject area of the applicant university’s choice. Individual doctoral students may not apply.


The first round of Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships scheme was launched in 2014, as a means of supporting doctoral studies in UK universities, and nurturing future generations of aspiring young researchers. At a time of growing undergraduate debt, the Board wishes to ensure that increased indebtedness does not discourage graduates from undertaking doctoral study. The second round of Doctoral Scholarships ran in 2017.

Scheme overview

Ten awards of £1.05 million each are made to UK universities. Each award funds 15 Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships at that institution, with five scholarships to be offered in each year of the three-year grant. UK universities may submit one application only, and joint applications are not accepted from groups or consortia of universities.

The awards are offered in a subject area or thematic area that applicant universities have identified as a research priority; the chosen area should be sufficiently broad to sustain five doctoral students in each of the three years of the grant, but it should also have a clear and coherent overarching thematic identity.

Each scholarship is for a fixed sum of £70,000 for each student over 36 months of full-time doctoral study, which will cover maintenance (at research council levels), tuition fees, with any remaining funds to be used for the Leverhulme Scholar’s research and training expenses.

While the scholarships may be held by students of all nationalities, the Trust has a particular interest in supporting UK or EU students.

Eligible applicants

The scheme is open to applications from any UK university. Applications are not accepted from a group or consortium of universities. Once a university has selected their preferred bid, they should provide the Trust with the principal applicant’s name, departmental affiliation and email address. Access will then be granted to the Trust’s online Grant Application System. 

The Leverhulme Trust does not accept applications directly from graduates wishing to pursue doctoral study.

Ineligible research areas

The Trust prefers not to support research areas currently identified as a priority by the research councils or other significant public funders.

There are further general restrictions on the kinds of research that the Leverhulme Trust is able to support. Before beginning an application, please read the guidance on research we do not fund

Assessment criteria

General criteria: when considering applications for this scheme we will use the normal Leverhulme Trust assessment criteria to identify applications of outstanding merit which that fit with the particular values of the Trust. These general assessment criteria are set out in detail in our approach to grant-making.

Specific scheme criteria: there are three additional criteria that are specific to the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships scheme:

  1. The strength of the case made by the applying university for the choice of subject area that has been identified as a priority for doctoral training at that institution. For example, does the chosen subject area support a research priority that is identified in the university’s strategic plan? Does it contribute to an existing area of research excellence? Or will it enable the university to innovate in a new field of research?
  2. How well the proposed scholarships fit within the applicant university’s current provision for doctoral training, and the extent to which the award would provide added value.
  3. The extent to which the scholarships will deliver a legacy for the university’s research in the chosen area, and how well this legacy will be sustained beyond the three years of a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships grant.

Application procedure

Applications will reopen in 2020. 

Universities may submit one application only. Applications are not accepted from a group or consortium of universities. Nor are applications accepted from other UK institutions or organisations.

Applications must be submitted by a principal applicant, who must undertake to oversee delivery of the programme, and to be responsible for the management of the award. All applications must be accompanied by a supporting statement from a designated representative for the applying university. This should be the pro-vice-chancellor for research, or someone holding a similar senior role. The application and supporting statement must both be provided by the closing date via the Leverhulme grants application system.

Detailed information on making an application

For more information

If you have general enquiries concerning an application for a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships award, please contact Alison Rees on 020 7042 9876 or email arees@leverhulme.ac.uk