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Faculty of Music


The British Academy will shortly invite applications to their prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme, with a deadline expected to be in early October 2017 ( 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. You should check the latest eligibility details on the British Academy website but basically you need to have obtained your doctorate in the last three years or else to have your viva by the end of March 2018 (but see below). There are also nationality/residency conditions, but you are automatically eligible if you have a doctorate from a UK university.

If you would like to apply through the University of Cambridge, you need to submit a draft application to the Faculty of Music by 18 August 2017. Before then you may wish to contact an appropriate member of the Faculty who might act as mentor (for a staff list see, but this is not a requirement.

In line with new British Academy requirements, applications will be initially scrutinised by the Faculty but the final decision as to whether we can host your application will be made at University level. We hope to tell you this by around the middle of September; if so, you will be asked at that point to commit yourself to applying through Cambridge, and we will work with you to make your application as good as possible.

The documentation we require falls into two parts, the first of which is for the University's evaluation process, while the second is the basis of the application to the British Academy.

(i)  a document containing your name, the title of your proposed research project, and a research project description (maximum 750 words), addressing the following:

  • the research problem you are seeking to address and why it is distinctive
  • the design and methodology through which your project will adress this problem
  • how your proposed research will significantly change the established landscape
  • how you will complete your project within the three-year period of the award
  • why Cambridge is the right place to carry out the project

(ii)  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. This should be structured as shown at the bottom, since these are the key sections of the British Academy application form.

 These documents should be supplied as Microsoft Word documents (not PDFs) emailed to You can also use this address for any queries you may have.

You should 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. (If this applies in your case, please say so; otherwise we shall assume this is your first application.) For this reason we would generally recommend you to apply in this round only if you will have obtained your doctorate by September 2017; this is in part because in most cases the best informed referees will be your examiners (supervisers are not permitted to act as referees).

We also host applications to the Leverhulme Trust's Early Career Fellowships, for which the deadline is expected to be spring 2016 ( Eligibility criteria are 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 who have applied under the present call. If you are eligible under the Leverhulme scheme but not the British Academy one, please submit just the documentation listed under (ii) above, and explain this in a cover note.

Structure for research proposals

  • 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.