Applying for Postdoctoral Funding

Finding funding is a key step to pursuing postdoctoral research.

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Whilst there are some advertised funded post-docs, these are usually tied to larger research grants and less common in the areas of arts, humanities and social science.

Keep your ears open for larger grant submissions in your department, these will often have a research assistant post attached. For beyond Goldsmiths, search for advertised post-docs in your field.

Funder criteria and requirements

Each funder has specific criteria, but some common requirements are:

  • Excellent academic track record
  • Nationality
  • A host academic department
  • Research relevant to the funder’s interest/specialism
  • To have gained your PhD within the last few years
  • An exciting but deliverable research idea

Key advice

  • Familiarise yourself with the fellowships relevant to your field. Gather information from academic staff here and also people you meet at conferences and other events.
  • Start early. It may take up to 12 months from making the application to starting the research. You’ll want to get feedback from your supervisor and other academic contacts.
  • Attend workshops on creating a good funding application. Ask around in the department for previous funding applications.
  • Ensure your proposed research will make a significant contribution to your discipline. Show outcomes and impact.
  • Create a readable error free application. A careers consultant can give you feedback on readability and consistency and how accessible the proposal is to a lay audience.
  • Ensure there is a case for a good fit between your research and the department/mentor. Show it is an environment that would develop you and you could contribute to.
  • Contact Goldsmiths Research Services for support and feedback on your funding applications and access to a database of previous applications for guidance. Note: they do not provide advice and support for PhD funding.

Funding sources

Here is a list of some sources relevant to Goldsmiths disciplines. The first two are the best places to start. has a database of funding from small to larger grants searchable by discipline. Also has a series of blogs with some great advice.

Vitae has excellent advice on applying for funding and links to to key funding sources.

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships are three-year Fellowship awards made to Early Career Scholars in all fields of the humanities and social sciences.

The Leverhulme Trust has Early Career Fellowships.

The Wellcome Trust has fellowships for researchers in the early stages of their careers

Max Weber fellowships cover the fields of political and social sciences, economics, law and history.

Junior Research Fellowships (JRFs) are awarded by the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge and based on evidence of research excellence. They are advertised at different times during the year and can be specific or open to a number of disciplines. Check the college website,, The Cambridge Reporter or the Oxford Gazette.

The UK Research Councils have various schemes. Most relevant for Goldsmiths are the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. Computing researchers may also try the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowships support researchers at all stages of their career.

DiscoverPhDs are an online database of PhD projects and funding opportunities available to students across a wide range of UK universities. Also has guides covering a range of topics, for example: 

Funding a PhD; Writing a PhD ThesisTransferable Skills

They also interview PhD students at different stages of their degree and PhD holders that have developed their careers and businesses in different directions, to help with career planning.

PhD Student and Professor Interview Profiles

Tip: As you discover options, keep a list including deadlines and specific requirements.