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Leadership Fellows - Early Career Researchers

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Important Notice

On 1 May 2014, the AHRC’s Fellowships Scheme was renamed the ‘Leadership Fellows’ scheme.  We have updated guidance which emphasises the need for applicants to give equal consideration to both leadership and research. Further details of this change are available here

The AHRC’s Leadership Fellows scheme provides time for research leaders, or potential future research leaders, to undertake focused individual research alongside collaborative activities which have the potential to generate a transformative impact on their subject area and beyond. In addition to demonstrating support for high quality, world leading research and associated outputs, proposals must include collaborative activities to support the development of the Fellow’s capacity for research leadership in the arts and humanities.

Leadership Fellows awards are supported as a partnership with Research Organisations. Applicants should discuss any potential application with their Research Organisation at an early stage, as strong evidence of institutional support for the proposed Fellow’s career and leadership development is required as part of the application process.

Applications to the scheme will be welcomed for research in any subject area within the AHRC’s remit. Proposals may be for research at a range of stages of development, provided that substantial high quality research outputs are planned to emerge directly from the Fellowship. A range of activities, including knowledge exchange, can be included in proposals and the scheme incorporates elements of the former Fellowships in the Creative and Performing Arts and Knowledge Transfer Fellowships schemes.

This route supports applications from early career researchers with outstanding future leadership potential who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Research Funding Guide. There is a separate route for mid and senior researchers.

The early career route of the Leadership Fellows scheme provides funding for periods of between 6 and 24 months. Proposals with a full economic cost of between £50,000 and £250,000 may be submitted.

Public Policy Highlight Notice in the AHRC Leadership Fellows Scheme

AHRC has launched a highlight notice in its Leadership Fellow scheme as part of a range of activities to support the contribution which arts and humanities research can make to public policy. The Highlight notice will run until 30 September 2016. Full details can be found on the Highlight Notice call page.

Closing Dates

Open - No Deadline

The Leadership Fellows scheme does not operate under fixed deadlines.

You may submit a proposal at any point during the year. Please note that the assessment process for applications submitted to the Fellowships scheme (Standard and Early Career routes) takes approximately 30 weeks and the earliest start date for a project should be no earlier than 9 months after submission to the AHRC.

On occasions, there might be a delay in obtaining the peer reviews for an application and this may result in the assessment process taking longer. In such circumstances, the AHRC will contact the applicant to inform them of any delay.

How to make an application

For both routes of the Fellowships scheme you must submit an application through the cross-council Joint Electronic Submission - (JE-S) System. If you need any assistance to use the system, please contact the JE-S helpdesk on 01793 444164 or on JesHelp@rcuk.ac.uk.​

Further Information

Visit our Leadership Fellows overview page in the Skills section.

Our Research Funding Guide provides an overview of the different routes of the Research Grants Scheme. It also details the eligibility criteria which you must meet before submitting an application.

See also other useful links:

Support for Research Leadership

The AHRC has produced a film on Leadership in the Arts and Humanities, which is available here.


The AHRC work with the UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS) to deliver all of our funding activities. All queries regarding eligibility for funding and applications in progress and also queries regarding current awards, should be directed to the UK SBS team dealing with your subject area using the contacts page.​

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