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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Information for prospective Postdoctoral Fellows

The Department is keen to receive applications from outstanding early career scholars who have recently completed their doctorate or are in its final stages, both from the UK and internationally. Your research area should be within the scope of the Department and you are strongly encouraged to make contact with at least one member of the permanent teaching and research staff to explore how you might link in.

All applications, internal or external, are considered by the Department’s Research Committee. This meets twice a term and is tasked with identifying research proposals that sit well within the Department and show real academic potential.

If you already have external funding for your postdoc, or are preparing an application which requires an invitation, you still need make an application to come to POLIS. You should send a copy of your CV, research proposal, two references and a statement of support from an internal sponsor in accordance with our application process for visitors. Please be aware that a bench fee will be chargeable for the duration of your stay in the Department. 

We are generally unable to directly fund postdoctoral fellows, unless a particular funded position has been announced (please, check here for paid positions at POLIS). However, the Department accepts applications for externally funded fellowships made under the following schemes:

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships  have an early October deadline, with departmental selection of candidates occurring in late September. Applicants must be UK or EEA nationals, or have completed a doctorate at a UK university. Those wishing to come to POLIS must submit a full application consisting of their CV, a research proposal and two references. Please note that the internal deadline has now passed and the Department will be unable to consider any further applications to the 2020-2021 call. 

International Incoming Fellowships (IIF) - Marie Curie Actions   For applicants from outside the European Union. Applications are submitted in reply to a call for proposals – please let the Department know in good time if you are considering this scheme.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships are jointly funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Cambridge Isaac Newton Trust. Applicants must obtain match funding in order to be eligible, and have either been awarded a degree from a UK higher education institution or hold an academic position in the UK. Those interested in applying through the Department for this scheme will need to submit the following documents (explained here) to the department Grant Administrator by Wednesday 16th December 2020.

  • a cover sheet
  • a brief c.v. (not exceeding two sides), and
  • a draft of the three items required for the Leverhulme application:
  1. a list of your major publications (maximum one side)
  2. a statement of your current research (maximum 250 words) and
  3. a detailed statement of your proposed research (maximum two sides).

Please also arrange for two references to be sent directly to the department's Research Grant Administrator (addressed ‘To whom it may concern..’ ). One should be from outside Cambridge, the other from inside.

Applicants will be ranked in an internal competition with the top three then sent to the Isaac Newton Trust for consideration for match funding. Confirmations of match funding will be given in late January-early February to allow time to finalise applications by the Leverhulme deadline on the 25th February.  

ESRC New Investigator Awards are considered by a Cambridge selection panel three times per year in early November, March, and July. Applicants are required to complete a selection form and provide a supporting letter from the head of the host department. Successful candidates will be invited to undergo peer review by the School Research Facilitators. Please contact the Research Grant Administrator for a copy of the application form and guidance on obtaining departmental support.

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships. Open to applicants with 12 months postdoctoral experience or less with the aim of developing essential research and professional skills. Details of the 2021 round are still to be announced.

Newton International Fellowships. For non-UK residents. Applications have to be submitted to the funder in late March. Those interested in support from the Department for this scheme must have a co-applicant who is permanently employed within the department, and submit their CV, research proposal and two references to POLIS by the beginning March. 2021 dates are still tbc. Please contact the Research Grant Administrator for assistance in planning applications to this scheme.

Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences  The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) supports, promotes and conducts interdisciplinary research of the highest order. The Centre runs a wide variety of programmes and is based in the same building as the Department.

It is vital that you give the Research Grants Administrator (Dan Jones, ) good notice of your intention to apply for any of these schemes to allow departmental support to be confirmed.

You may ask the Research Grants Administrator for further info on these or other schemes, or for advice on costing your proposal.