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Department of Archaeology



Postdoctoral Opportunities at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

As the the postdoctoral research hub of the Department of Archaeology, the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research welcomes applications from potential postdocs/Early Career Researchers (ECRs). There are a number of national and international funding schemes that you can apply to which will enable you to come and work with us. If you are interested in any of the below schemes, please contact Mr Nicholas Ward on at least 6 weeks before the deadline.  

The list below is of major sources only. Any international researchers looking to apply for funding in their own country for a Fellowship or grant which they would like to hold in Cambridge should see the Hosted Fellows Category on the Join Our Community Page


Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships

Restricted call: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships 

The Department of Archaeology and McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research welcome applications for Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships (LECRF). These are post-doctoral awards. The Fellowships provide career development opportunities for researchers with a proven record of research at a relatively early stage of their academic careers (within 5 years of submitting their PhD). The objective is for Fellows to undertake a significant piece of publishable research during the tenure of the award; the project proposed should therefore not be a reworking or mere extension of the candidate’s doctoral research. In Cambridge matched funding for the LECRFs is provided by the Newton Trust.

Applicaitons for LECRFs undergo internal review the deadline for which is usually annually in the autumn. Applicaitons are initially be ranked by a Departmental panel and two submitted to the Newton Trust. Once Newton Trust funding is secured applicaitons proceed to submission to the Leverhulme Trust, normally in February. 

The application process for 2023-24 can now be found here. The internal deadline for submissions is 9am Monday 16th of October 2023. Any applicants wishing to apply should contact the Deputy Director for further details. 

NERC Independent Research Fellowships

For these 3-year awards applicants may have no more than eight years of full-time postdoctoral research experience at time of application. Those without a PhD must have submitted their thesis/dissertation before interview. Proposals need to be at least 50% within NERC’s remit (i.e the Natural Environment). For some NERC schemes the University operates a selection/approval process. Therefore several months’ notice must be given. See Independent research fellowships – UKRI

Royal Society University Research Fellowships

These 5-year awards are intended for outstanding scientists with three to eight years of postdoc experience who have the potential to become leaders in their field. Some aspects of Archaeological Science are eligible for consideration. These are substantial awards and those interested must contact us at least three months before the deadline. See University Research Fellowship | Royal Society

Wellcome Trust Early Career Awards

Of up to 5 years (may be shorter in the Humanities & Social Sciences), providing PI salary and up to £400,000 research expenses. You must have your PhD and may also have some postdoctoral experience in your proposed field of study, but generally no more than three years. Applicants must confirm that their project fits well with the Wellcome Trust subject remit relating to health, medicine etc. See Wellcome Early-Career Awards - Grant funding.

1851 Royal Commission Early Career Fellowships

Awards of 3 years, intended to enable early career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise to conduct a research project of their own instigation with the ultimate objective of contributing to the knowledge base required for a healthy and innovative national culture. You must have no more than 3 years of postdoctoral experience. Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851.

Junior Research Fellowships

Information about Junior Research Fellowships, which are advertised by individual Cambridge Colleges can usually be found at College jobs - Job Opportunities at the relevant time of year.

Renfrew Fellow

Closing date: N/A

The Renfrew fellowship has concluded for this academic year.

Details will be posted at the next opportunity of applications. 

MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships

These 2-year postdoctoral fellowships are intended to enable early career researchers to move from another country to the UK(Cambridge), provided that they have not spent more than 1 year in the three years prior to the deadline (usually September) in the UK. These are not typical research fellowships or project grants but are for training-through-research rather than just research. Applicants must have their PhD at application deadline and may have up to 8 years FTE post-doc research experience. Cambridge Archaeology operates an internal selection process, usually with two deadlines each year (1 March and 1 June). Potential applicants should make contact with their project Supervisor as early as possible and well before these deadlines. Further details of the scheme can be found at Postdoctoral Fellowships | Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (

For initial enquiries please contact Mr Nicholas Ward

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships

Restricted call: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships 

The 2024 British Academy Postdoctoral call (start date 2025) is now open. Details of how to apply can be found on the British Academy website.  An internal Department and University shortlisting procedure will operate. Interested applicants should complete the internal selection form and follow the instructions included. This includes a proposal template with a synopsis of the supervisor, your proposed research, a CV and list of publications by an internal deadline of 9am BST Monday 12th August 2024. Awards are typically for three years and cover the salary of the Postdoctoral Fellow to work full-time on the Fellowship, small-scale research expenses, costs towards the time of a mentor and the host institution's estates and indirect costs.

British Academy International Fellowships

Facilitated by the British Academy and/or Royal Society, these 3-year awards are intended for non-UK scientists with no more than seven years active full-time postdoctoral experience at the time of application who wish to conduct research in the UK. For those applying without a PhD, all requirements for the PhD must have been completed (including viva) before the fellowship starts. See International Fellowships 2023 | The British Academy

ESRC New Investigator Grants

A 36-month Early Career Researcher award focusing on the Social Sciences, including heritage studies and some aspects of Biological Anthroplogy. Proposals can cover any research area, but the social sciences must represent more than 50% of the research focus and effort. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences operates an internal selection process which allows applications to go forward to submission. See ESRC new investigator grant – UKRI