1. Home
  2. Grants we offer
  3. Schemes at a glance
  4. Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships

Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships

For UK universities to fund 15 Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships in a priority research area for that institution

Value

10 awards of £1.05 million each are made to UK universities. Each award funds 15 Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships at that institution, with 5 scholarships to be offered in each year of the 3-year grant.

Duration

Each grant runs over a period of 3 years.

Before beginning your application, please read the information below.

Eligibility

The scheme is open to applications from any UK university. 

A university may submit one application only.

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 Leverhulme Trust Grants Management System.

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

What the Trust offers

Each scholarship is for a fixed sum of £70,000 for each student over 36 months of full-time doctoral study. This covers:

  • maintenance (at research council levels)
  • tuition fees

Any remaining funds are 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.

Topics

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 5 doctoral students in each of the 3 years of the grant, but it should also have a clear and coherent overarching thematic identity.

Ineligible research areas

The following are ineligible for funding by the Trust:

  • studies of disease, illness and disabilities in humans and animals*
  • research that is intended to inform clinical practice or the development of medical applications* 
  • research areas currently identified as a priority by the research councils or other significant public funders
  • policy-driven research where the principal objective is to assemble an evidence base for immediate policy initiatives
  • research where advocacy is an explicit component
  • research aimed principally at an immediate commercial application
  • proposals in which the balance between assembling a data bank or database and the related subsequent research is heavily inclined to the former

* excluded because substantial funding is available from other sources for applied medical research and the Trust’s priority is to support investigations of a fundamental nature

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. E.g:
    • 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 add 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.
How to apply

Applications will reopen in 2020. Please note: the application procedure will be reviewed and the instructions below will be updated accordingly.

Universities may submit one application only. 

Applications are not accepted from a group or consortium of universities. 

Applications are not accepted from other UK institutions or organisations.

Applications must be submitted by a principal applicant. 

The principal applicant
  • The person who will have overall responsibility for the delivery of the programme and overall management of the grant, including preparing annual progress reports
  • Likely to be the dean of the relevant faculty, the head of a graduate school, or the head of a school

We will give the principal applicant access to the Leverhulme Trust Grants Management System, once he or she has been nominated by his or her institution.

There are three elements in the application procedure:

  1. A short application form and a detailed statement, submitted by the nominated principal applicant. 
  2. A supporting statement from a designated representative of the university, e.g. the pro-vice-chancellor for research, or someone holding a similar role.
  3. Institutional approval of the application: the applicant university’s normal procedure for approving Leverhulme Trust applications.
Short application form

The short application form requires the following information:

  1. Brief biographical details about the principal applicant
  2. The title of the programme
  3. A 250-word summary of each of the following: 
    • the rationale behind the choice of research subject area for doctoral scholarships
    • the relationship between the proposed Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships and any current doctoral training awards in the chosen research subject area or related disciplines
    • how the proposed Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships would provide added value in the chosen research subject area and to the university
    • the legacy that will be delivered for the university’s research in the chosen research subject area and details of how the university intends to sustain this beyond the three years of the Leverhulme grant
    • details of any relevant additional financial or other support or resources to be provided by the university during the grant

These points should be elaborated on in the detailed statement.

The detailed statement

The detailed statement should address the following issues in detail and provide any other relevant key information:

  • the rationale behind the choice of research subject area for doctoral scholarships
  • the relationship between the proposed Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships and any current doctoral training awards in the chosen research subject area or related disciplines
  • how the proposed Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships would add value in the chosen research subject area and to the university
  • the legacy that will be delivered for the university’s research in the chosen research subject area and details of how the university intends to sustain this beyond the three years of the Leverhulme grant
  • details of any relevant additional financial or other support or resources to be provided by the university during the grant
  • relevant information about key academic staff likely to be involved (e.g. the number of their doctoral supervisees) and about general research capacity in this area
  • the proposed mode of selecting the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholars to ensure that those candidates chosen have an outstanding academic record and the potential to complete their doctoral studies successfully

The maximum length of the statement is 10 sides of A4 (font size 11pt or greater). 

The principal applicant can choose how to use this space in order to address these points.

Supporting statement by designated representative

The supporting statement should be no more than 500 words and provide:

  • an explanation of why the research subject area is deemed to be of importance to the university
  • key information about the university’s research capacity in this area (for example, numbers of staff and doctoral students, and grant income)
Institutional approval

Once the designated representative has provided the statement, the application form requires online institutional approval according to the normal procedure for signing off Leverhulme Trust applications. 

Keep in touch
Sign up for our funding bulletin to receive:
  • details of scheme opening dates and deadlines
  • advance notice of changes to award criteria
  • listings of grants made
  • a PDF of our newsletter, containing short articles describing recently funded research.
Our e-bulletin is aimed at research support staff, current grant holders and those considering making an application.
Contact
The Leverhulme Trust
1 Pemberton Row
London
EC4A 3BG
General enquiries
020 7042 9888