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Research Fellowships

For experienced researchers in any discipline, to complete a piece of research

Research Fellowships are open to experienced researchers, particularly those who are or have been prevented by routine duties from completing a programme of original research. 

Awards are not limited to those holding appointments in higher education.

Value

The maximum value of a Fellowship is £55,000. The awards provide research expenses over and above normal living costs and/or provide a contribution towards reasonable replacement costs or loss of earnings.

Duration

Fellowships are tenable for between 3 and 24 months.

Before beginning your application, please read the information below or download it as a PDF Guidance for Applicants.

Eligibility

Applicants:

  • must be resident in the UK at the time of application
  • should be able to demonstrate experience and academic background sufficient to confirm their ability to complete the proposed programme of research
  • may not be registered for a degree, for doctoral studies, or for professional or vocational qualifications

Awards are not restricted to university graduates and/or academics but applicants should be:

  • experienced researchers, particularly those prevented by routine duties from undertaking or completing a research programme
  • resident in the United Kingdom at the time of application
  • a permanent member of the UK scholarly community and able to demonstrate an established track record in their chosen area of research; persons currently resident and working overseas may not apply if they would still hold the overseas appointment during the tenure of an award

Candidates who have held a Research Fellowship may apply for a second award, but at least seven years should have elapsed since the previous one. 

Candidates who have held an International Academic Fellowship are eligible to apply if at least three years have elapsed between their application for the International Academic Fellowship and the Research Fellowship.

Ineligible candidates

The awards do not provide a post or position for the applicant and are not available simply as replacement for past support from other sources. 

Research Fellowships do not provide support for:

  • those registered or intending to register for or waiting to have work examined for degrees, doctoral studies, professional or vocational qualifications (whether or not connected with the application being submitted for consideration). The scheme does not provide support for PhDs or any other degrees or programmes of study
  • those working in a post which is wholly or predominantly research focused at the time of application. There is no provision under this scheme for replacement costs or loss of earnings for staff employed on short-term research contracts seeking release from these research duties
  • the scheme cannot provide a salary, stipend or maintenance allowance for an applicant who is unemployed

Whilst the scheme can provide loss of earnings for individuals who are self-employed at the time of application, it is not intended to facilitate a transition from employment within a university or other organisation to self-employment.

Eligible fields

Applications will be considered in all subject areas with the following exceptions:

  • studies of disease, illness and disabilities in humans and animals
  • research that is intended to inform clinical practice or the development of medical applications

There are two reasons for this: substantial funding is available from other sources for applied medical research; the Trust’s priority is to support investigations of a fundamental nature.

What the Trust offers

Approximately 100 Fellowships offered each year.

Duration and timing of grant

Fellowships are tenable for between 3 and 24 months. 

Fellows are required to commit a minimum of 75% of their time to the Fellowship research project during their award period. 

Fellowships must be taken up between 1 June in the year the grant is awarded and 1 May the following year.

Amount and use of grant

The amount of an award depends on the nature of the work proposed and individual circumstances, but the maximum total value of a Fellowship is £55,000. 

Fellowships either assist with research expenses over and above normal living costs and/or provide a contribution towards reasonable replacement costs or loss of earnings. 

Applications for replacement costs will be considered from those in full- or part-time continuing posts (where leave of absence is granted on full pay). 

Applications for loss of earnings will be considered where research is not normally a function of the candidate's contract or position. 

Those without a salary cannot request research expenses or loss of earnings to provide general living costs.

Please ensure that applications do not include any ineligible costs.

Joint/group applications

Research Fellowships are open to individuals who wish to undertake a piece of original research. 

Where more than one researcher wishes to seek funds for the same project, each person should submit a separate application and clearly demonstrate what his or her specific contribution to the project will be. 

Each application will be treated on its own merits, and applicants should be aware that the Committee may decide not to fund all individuals seeking funds for the same project.

Applications to other funding bodies

Applicants may apply without prejudice to other funding bodies. 

If applications for identical projects are successful it would be expected that only one award (i.e. either the Leverhulme or another) would be accepted. 

If applications for either wholly or partly different projects are successful there should be no duplication in the budget headings funded by the Trust and another body.

Please note that you may submit only one application for a Research Fellowship per round. Previously unsuccessful applicants may reapply.

You may not apply for both an International Academic Fellowship and a Research Fellowship in the same year.

How to apply

If you have not already done so, please read all the information on these Research Fellowships pages or download it as a PDF Guidance for Applicants

To make an application, please access the Leverhulme Trust Grants Management System. The recommended browser to use is Google Chrome.

When completing the application form, please refer to the Application Help Notes.

Institutional approval

Unless you are self-employed your application must be approved by an administrative officer on behalf of your employing institution. This officer (institutional approver) will be asked to confirm, on behalf of your department and institution that:

  • you will be granted the period and proportion of time requested in the Duration and Timing section
  • if replacement costs are requested, you will be in receipt of your normal salary during tenure of the award and the institution will provide such cover as set out in the Finance section
  • if research expenses are sought, this request has the support of the head of department/school and institution

Therefore you must ensure that your head of department is in full agreement with all of the content of your application before you submit this for institutional approval. 

It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete your application in time for your institution to process it and that the details are all correct (particularly the financial ones). 

The Trust strongly recommends that you submit your application for institutional approval at least five working days before the closing date. 

Practising artists

Practising artists should provide online access to up to 12 photographs or images, or a short example of film or music, as appropriate. Please include the link to these examples of your work in your Detailed Statement of Proposed Research.

Feedback on applications

Unfortunately, due to the large number of applications for this scheme, it is not possible to provide feedback to individual applicants regarding unsuccessful applications.

Current grant holders

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