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British Academy Postdoctoral applications

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship applications hosted by the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge

The British Academy will shortly invite applications under their prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme, with a deadline expected to be in early October 2016 ( These fellowships fund three years of research on a topic of the applicant’s choice, and applications have to be hosted by a UK higher education institution.

If you would like to apply through the University of Cambridge, you need to submit a draft application to the Faculty of Music by 26 August. In line with new British Academy requirements, applications will be initially scrutinised by the Faculty but the decision as to whether we can host your application will be made at University level. We hope to tell you whether we can host your application by around 20 September; if so, you will be asked at that point to commit yourself to applying through Cambridge, and we will work with you to optimise your application.

The documentation we require falls into two parts, the first of which forms the basis of the University's evaluation, while the second is the basis of the actual application:

– a research project description (maximum 750 words), addressing the following:

  • outline the research problem you are seeking to address and say why it is distinctive;
  • how your proposed research will tackle the research problem – its design and methodology;
  • how your proposed research will significantly change the established landscape.

– a draft British Academy application consisting of the following:

  • an academic CV;
  • a summary of your doctoral or other previous research in about 500 words;
  • a research proposal of about 1500 words. We recommend you structure this as below (‘Structure for Proposals’), as these are the key sections of the British Academy application form.

Please email all these materials to Any queries may also be sent to that email address. If you feel your work will be of interest to a particular staff member you are welcome to contact them before making your application, but this is not a requirement.

To be eligible for this scheme, you must either have completed your doctorate within the last three years, or have your viva by the end of March 2017. There are also nationality/residency conditions, but you are automatically eligible if you have a doctorate from a UK university. Further details may be found on the British Academy's website.

You should also be aware that in 2016 the British Academy introduced a restriction on the number of times you can apply within your period of eligibility. Normally only one application is possible, although a small number of near-miss applicants may be permitted to apply in the following year. This means that in most cases prospective applicants whose PhD dissertations have not been examined prior to the British Academy deadline will be best advised to postpone their application to the following year; this is in part because in most cases the best informed referees will be your examiners (supervisors are not permitted to act as referees).

We also host applications to the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships, for which the deadline is expected to be spring 2016 ( Eligibility criteria are slightly different, and—unlike the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships—the Leverhulme scheme allows for practice-based research. Rather than issuing a separate call for Leverhulme applications we normally consider those whose applications to the British Academy we have hosted. If you are eligible under the Leverhulme scheme but not the British Academy one, please submit the documentation listed under (ii) above and explain this in a cover note.

Structure for proposals

(recommended for both British Academy and Leverhulme Trust applicants)

– Title of proposed research

 – Abstract of proposed research (about 200 words)

 – Proposed programme
Please give a detailed description of the research programme, including methodology. Applicants should be aware of the importance that assessors place on the viability, specificity and originality of the research programme and of its achievability within the timescale, which should be specified below under Plan of Action.

 – Planned research outputs
Please indicate here what the expected output(s) from your research programme might be. As appropriate, please state as follows: monograph, journal article(s), book chapter(s), digital resources, other (please specify). Details of your plans for publication should be stated under Plans for publication/dissemination below.

– Plan of action
Please indicate here a clear timetable for your research programme over the three years of the Fellowship. Try to be as realistic as possible, but keep in mind that research programmes will develop over time and this plan of action is not something that is expected to account for every minute of the three years, and is not unchangeable. But your chances of award will be affected by the assessors' perception of how viable and realistic this plan is.

– Plans for publication / dissemination
Please state in more detail here what plans you have for publication or other dissemination of your research, including potential publishers, journals, conferences etc. that are appropriate for your research subject.

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