School of Social and Political Science

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships


*The deadline for submitting outline applications for the School selection process has now passed and we are no longer accepting applications for the 2024 Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship call*

The Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research. The expectation is that Fellows should undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure, and that the Fellowships should lead to a more permanent academic position. Around 140 Fellowships are awarded annually.

The University sets a limit on the number of applications that each school is allowed to submit and for this reason the School needs time to assess applications and select suitable candidates on the basis of a 2-page research summary and abbreviated CV (max 2 pages) from each candidate, plus a short statement of support from their mentor (see point 2 below). If you are interested in applying for this scheme, please contact the SPS Research Office as soon as possible to register your interest.

Fellowships are tenable for three years on a full-time basis. The Trust will support requests to hold the award part-time over a proportionately longer period for health related reasons, disability or childcare commitments.

More information on the Leverhulme Trust's Early Career Fellowships website

Leverhulme have announced the 2023/24 dates, which are shown below. However, to provide sufficient time for candidate selection and application development time, the School deadline for submitting an up-to-date two page CV and two page project summary plus mentor support statement will be Thursday 16th November 2023, with follow-on dates detailed below:

*An online briefing session will be held by the University of Edinburgh Research Office (ERO) on 15th November- This will provide information about the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships application process and anyone intending to apply should attend if they can.  To register got to: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships briefing session 2023 | The University of Edinburgh

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship SSPS application pathway 2023/24:

  1. Please email with your intention to apply as soon as possible.
  2. SPS requires a mentor (SPS core staff) for all early-career fellowships. In order to progress your proposal, you must first identify, contact and have an agreed mentor for your proposed project application. The project must also have Head of Subject Area approval and your mentor will help to obtain this before you submit your CV and research summary to the School (maximum of 2 pages for each document). Your mentor will also provide a short statement of support (maximum of one page). 
  3. 16th November 2023 – School deadline for CV and a project summary plus mentor support statement which will then be considered by a school-based panel (all documents to be in calibri or arial font minimum size 11, 2cm margins; and 2 page limit must be adhered to for each document). 
  4. Late December 2023/ Early January 2024 – Decisions made by the School panel, applicants given feedback including who is to progress to full application stage and ways in which any applications that are progressing might be strengthened. You will then continue to work with your mentor and the Research Office in developing your full proposal.
  5. 1st Jan 2024- scheme open on Leverhulme grant application portal.
  6. 8th February 2024 – Deadline for full draft applications in Leverhulme Trust grant online system. At this point a School review of the full application will be conducted and feedback given to strengthen final applications.
    N.B. While the focus of feedback will be on strengthening proposals, the School may advise against submitting particular proposals at this point, if problems present with quality/design or feasibility and for which solutions cannot be developed before the deadline.
  7. 22nd February 2024 - Deadline for application submission to funder by the University.
  8. Late May 2024- Leverhulme Trust contacts applicants with outcome of their application.

Points to note

We are interpreting the Leverhulme Trust’s reference to the need for a ‘proven track record of research to mean that the School requires applicants to have at least two peer-reviewed academic publications which are deemed of high quality, for which they had a leading role. If you would like further guidance on whether your CV and publication track record is suitable for this scheme, please speak to your mentor in the first instance and/or your subject area research convener.

Please email the Research Office if you have any unresolved queries: The School Research Office can provide additional information and guidance on the scheme. Please get in touch if you are considering applying and have any questions.


  • Applicants must be supported by a UK host institution.
  • Applicants must have a PhD and have submitted their doctoral thesis for viva voce not more than 4 years prior to the scheme closing date. This year, this means that only candidates who formally submitted their doctoral thesis for viva voce examination after 22 February 2020 will be eligible, and you must have submitted your  doctoral thesis for viva voce examination by 4pm on the closing date of 22 February 2024. Extensions for extenuating circumstances (illness, maternity leave, care-giving duties, etc) are considered.
  • Applicants must either hold a degree from a UK higher institution at time of taking up the fellowship or hold an academic position in the UK (fixed term lectureship or short-term fellowship) at the time of the application deadline, which commenced no less than 4 months prior to the closing date.
  • Candidates of any nationality can apply but must be resident in the UK for the fellowship duration.
  • Those with permanent academic posts are not eligible to apply.
  • Candidates who have been, or are, currently a Principal Investigator on a three-year postdoctoral research project, or have held a comparable three-year postdoctoral position to pursue their own research, are not eligible to apply.