Research Project Grants

Offering up to £500,000 over five years for research on a topic of the applicant’s choice. Grants cover salary and research costs directly associated with the project. Submit a first-stage outline application at any time.

The aim of these awards is to provide financial support for innovative and original research projects of high quality and potential, the choice of theme and the design of the research lying entirely with the applicant (the Principal Investigator). The grants provide support for the salaries of research staff engaged on the project, plus associated costs directly related to the research proposed, and the award is paid directly to the institution at which the applicant is employed.

Proposals must reflect the personal vision of the applicant and demonstrate compelling competence in the research design. The Trust favours applications that surmount traditional disciplinary academic boundaries and involve a willingness to take appropriate degrees of risk in setting research objectives.

Value and duration

Research Project Grants may be held for up to five years. The maximum grant value is £500,000. The funds requested should be appropriate for the grant duration and the resources required to realise the project’s objectives.

Eligible research areas

The following guidelines are drawn to the attention of potential applicants:

  • Both because of the substantial funding available from other sources for applied medical research, and the Trust’s priority to support investigations of a fundamental nature, we do not fund studies of disease, illness and disabilities in humans and animals, or research that is intended to inform clinical practice or the development of medical applications.
  • Similarly, because of the availability of alternative sources of funding, the Trust does not fund policy-driven research where the principal objective is to assemble an evidence base for immediate policy initiatives.
  • The Trust will not fund applications for research of which advocacy forms an explicit component.
  • The Trust does not support research which is aimed principally at an immediate commercial application.
  • The Trust will not fund applications in which the balance between assembling a data bank or database and the related subsequent research is heavily inclined to the former.
  • The Trust does not fund applications in which the main focus is on capacity building, networking, or the development of the skills of those involved.

If applicants are uncertain about eligibility, they are encouraged to telephone or email the Trust before submitting an application.

The Trust's approach to grant-making

Specific attention is paid to the reasons given by applicants in justifying their choice of the Trust as the most appropriate agency for the support of their project. Applicants are therefore strongly advised to consult the statement on the Leverhulme Trust’s approach to grant-making.

Eligibility, costs and application procedure

Please read the following before submitting an application.


For questions about Outline Applications, please contact Matt Middleton on 020 7042 9873 or email

For questions about Detailed Applications, please contact Nicola Thorp on 020 7042 9872 or email

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Dr Swidbert Ott, University of Cambridge, was awarded a Research Project Grant in June 2010; providing £258,101 over 36 months to research mechanisms driving acquisition and maintenance of swarming behaviour in locusts.

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Jeremy Bentham's manuscripts on sex, law and religion. Professor Philip Schofield, University College London, was awarded a Research Project Grant in March 2010, providing £158,516 over 36 months.