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Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research. Fellowships develop the next generation of researchers with the greatest potential across the postdoctoral, early and established career stages. We are keen to support outstanding candidates in a number of externally funded research fellowship schemes listed below.

Why Leeds?

The University of Leeds is situated within the heart of a bustling city, surrounded by beautiful countryside.  A thriving cultural city, Leeds has something to offer for everyone.

The University, established in 1904, is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. We are renowned globally for the quality of our teaching and research.  The strength of our academic expertise combined with the breadth of disciplines we cover, provides a wealth of opportunities and has real impact on the world in cultural, economic and societal ways.

Our Geosolutions centre represents one of the largest groups of scientists working across disciplines to deliver world leading geoscience research to underpin future energy generation, storage and consumption.  The vibrant research environment supports over 60 PhD students and 10 research fellows and have a thriving early career community.  The centre actively supports industrial engagement through provision of research support for collaborative projects funded by both industry and government and gives access to state-of-the-art facilities to deliver this.

We are ranked top 5 in the UK for Civil and Mechanical Engineering (2021 Guardian University Guide) and 13th in the World for Geology and Geophysics (2020 QS World University Rankings).

What we can offer?

  • Advice on preparing your application
  • Mentoring, guidance and support networks
  • Career development
  • Access to specialist facilities and laboratories
  • Diverse research environment
  • Dedicated research and innovation support

Please get in touch via email if you'd like to know more about how we can support you.

The Royal Society - University Research Fellowships

This scheme is for outstanding scientists who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field. This Fellowship provides the opportunity to build an independent research career. Those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships. Suitable individuals of any nationality can apply for a University Research Fellowship to be held in an eligible UK host research organisation.

The scheme usually opens for applications in the summer and fellowships are for 5 years. Please contact with initial queries. Further details can be found here.

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships and Engineering

The RAEng Research Fellowships are designed to promote excellence in engineering. They provide support for high-quality engineers and encourage them to develop successful academic research careers. Applications are welcomed from outstanding early-career researchers who are about to finish their PhD or have been awarded their PhD in the last four years. The scheme provides funding for five years to encourage the best researchers to remain in the academic engineering sector. All applicants will need to have identified and be actively supported by a UK higher education host institution.

If you wish to discuss project ideas, please contact or

Marie Curie Individual Fellowships

There are two individual Fellowships available – European and Global. Individual Fellowships fund researchers looking to enhance their career development and prospects by working abroad. They help open up collaboration and mobility opportunities. European Fellowships are open to researchers either coming to Europe or moving within Europe (duration 1-2 years), and Global Fellowships fund secondments outside Europe for researchers based in the EU or associated countries (duration 2-3 years).

Interested applicants need to prepare a proposal, written jointly with the host organisation. The EU Office at the University of Leeds can help with putting the proposal together, they can be contacted on The deadline for submitting individual Fellowships is normally mid-September each year.

UK Research and Innovation Future Leader Fellowships (FLF)

This cross-UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) scheme supports early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments including research councils’ institutes and laboratories. The FLF scheme welcomes applications from both UK and international applicants.

Please contact with initial queries as we can offer support with applications. Further details can be found here.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The EPSRC Fellowship aims to provide greater support to the aspiring and current world-leading individuals who are delivering the highest quality research to meet UK and global priorities. Through links to EPSRC strategic priorities and focussing on areas where growth is required, Fellowships develop the next generation of researchers with the greatest potential across the postdoctoral, early and established career stages. There are no nationality restrictions for applicants.

EPSRC fellowships can be submitted at any time, but the University runs a support process in the Summer and Winter of each year. The duration of the fellowship is usually 3-5 years. Please contact with initial queries. Further details can be found here.

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

NERC offer Independent Research Fellowships (IRF). NERC IRF’s are “designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising early-career environmental scientists”. IRFs are open to researchers of any nationality and may be held in any area of the NERC remit, but must be based at an eligible UK research organisation. Applicants may not have a permanent academic position in a university or equivalent organisation.

Fellowships usually last for 5 years and historically the application deadline has been at the start of October. The University of Leeds has a formal support process for applicants, overseen by the Research and Innovation Service. An Expression of Interest is a requirement, with an internal deadline of early June each year.

Applicants interested in applying for a NERC IRF, to be based at Leeds, should contact in the first instance. Further details can be found here.