Research Fellowships

Applying for Research Fellowships at CEB

 We are constantly searching for outstanding early-career researchers who wish to apply for Independent Fellowships, allowing them to establish their own research group in the Department or for Junior Fellowships hosted by our established academics.

Application restrictions and selection processes

Independent Fellowships:

Due to physical space and resource limitations, we can only support some of those aiming to apply for Independent Fellowships, and therefore, we run an internal selection process. We run a departmental competition twice a year to select the applicants we will support for submission to the funders.  

Junior Fellowships:

No restrictions or selection processes are implemented for Junior Fellowships. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for a Junior or Independent Research Fellowship, please follow the instructions detailed below.

If you are unsure whether a particular scheme falls under the Independent or Junior Fellowships categories, please contact us at

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship & Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship

The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship and the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship are restricted calls with dedicated selection processes and deadlines. Please see the relevant information below

Independent Fellowships

We consider the category of Independent Fellowships to include those that allow successful candidates to establish their own research group as Principal Investigators, supervise PhD students, recruit post-doctoral researchers, and independently apply for external funding. The duration of these fellowships typically equals or exceeds five years. A non-comprehensive list of schemes that we consider as Independent Fellowship is provided in the table below:  



Relevant Departmental deadline 

Next Funder Deadline 

Royal Society University Research Fellowship 

Extraordinary 2024 deadline: 28 June 2024 

10 September 2024 

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship 

Extraordinary 2024 deadline: 28 June 2024 

18 September 2024 

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship 

Extraordinary 2024 deadline: 28 June 2024 

29 October 2024 

Wellcome Early Career Awards 

Extraordinary 2024 deadline: 28 June 2024 

01 October 2024 

EPSRC Early Career Fellowship 



UKRI Open Fellowship 



MRC Career Development Award 



Independent Fellowship restrictions

Unfortunately, the number of candidates interested in applying for Independent Fellowships exceeds our capacity in lab and office space and resources, hence we can only support some of the applicants. We run a departmental competition twice a year to select the applicants we will support for submission to the funders.  

Independent Fellowship Expression of Interest (EoI)

Prospective applicants for Independent Fellowships should submit an expression of interest (EoI), which must include:  

  • CV and publications list (up to A4 2 pages)  
  • A research proposal (up to A4 2 pages) including: i) a clear indication of which scheme (or schemes) you intend to apply for; ii) a brief description of the project and estimated resource requirements (space, staff, equipment, facilities, consumables; iii) fit with the department; iv) vision for establishing your independent research programme.  

Unless you propose significantly different projects for each sponsor, only one EoI is needed for each application round, regardless of the number of schemes you wish to be considered for. We are particularly keen on candidates who align with and strengthen our strategic impact areas of sustainability and healthcare and are willing to participate actively in departmental activities. We encourage both candidates internal to the Department or University and those aiming to join us for the first time.  

Independent Fellowship EoI Deadlines

The EoI must be emailed to by one of the following deadlines, depending on the funder’s submission deadline of the relevant scheme(s). 

  • 1st of April (5 pm) – for schemes that have a funder’s deadline on or after the 1st of July of the same year 
  • 1st of October (5 pm) for schemes that have a funder’s deadline on or after the 1st of January of the following year 

PLEASE NOTE: For Independent Fellowships with deadlines between the 1st of July 2024 and the 31st of December 2024, we will run an extra-ordinary EoI round with a submission deadline on the 28th of June 2024 (5 pm). 

Applicants are responsible for checking their eligibility for each Fellowship scheme and funder deadlines to determine when to submit their EoI.  

In each round, EoIs will be considered and ranked. We aim to complete the shortlisting process within two weeks of the EoI deadline, but timeframes may vary depending on urgency. Short-listed applicants may be invited to the Department to deliver a seminar. We cannot provide extensive feedback to unsuccessful candidates due to application volumes, but a brief feedback statement can be provided upon request. Please note that the number of candidates the Department selects for each scheme may vary depending on resources, strategic considerations, and strength of the applicant field. This may result in no candidates being supported for specific calls. Candidates applying for multiple schemes may be selected for some and not for others. 

For successful candidates, we will support preparing their application to the funder, completing internal steps (i.e. costings), and preparing for external interviews.   

Please note that the department cannot guarantee an established position for successful candidates when their fellowship ends.

Junior Fellowships

Any fellowship duration of 3 years or less is considered a Junior Fellowship, as these posts do not warrant independent group-leader status but are hosted by existing groups. Relevant schemes include (but may not be limited to):  

  • EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • BBSRC Fellowship (formerly Discovery Fellowship)
  • Fellowship of the Royal Commission of 1851
  • Royal Society Newton International Fellowship
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Ernest Oppenheimer Early Career Fellowship (Cambridge-based)
  • Herschel-Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship (Cambridge-based)
  • Cambridge College (Junior) Research Fellowships 

Contacting A Host PI

Junior Fellowship candidates interested in applying for these schemes should directly contact relevant academics in the Department to act as their Host PI (principle investigator). Please refer to the CEB Academic Staff Directory. 

Host PIs agreeing to support Junior-Fellowship applicants are responsible for guiding the candidate through the application process, including overseeing costing, complying with internal administrative deadlines, sourcing support letters and providing feedback on the application package. The Host PI will also ensure sufficient support is made available to the Fellow in case of success, including lab and office space, financial resources, and scientific and career mentoring.  

The Department does not run screening or pre-selection exercises for Junior Fellowships. We, however, strongly encourage applicants or Host PIs to notify of their applications and the subsequent outcome.  

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship  

The 3-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship represents an exception to the categorisation above as it requires match funding from the host institution, which in Cambridge is awarded competitively through the multi-step selection process outlined here. Applicants interested in the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship should submit their complete application to the Department by the relevant deadline.  

UKRI Future Leader Fellowship (FLF) 

The FLF is a restricted Independent Fellowship with departmental and school-level selection phases. Information on how to apply for the FLF will be provided here each year when available.  

Contact us

If you have questions about the application process for Research Fellowships, please contact us at


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