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Institute of Advanced Study

2019/20 Project Application and Fellowship Nomination

The Institute of Advanced Study is an incubator of novel, ground-breaking, interdisciplinary research. As a result of the recommendations of its 2016 quinquennial review, the Institute has moved from a single annual theme to a new framework in which four ambitious, high-quality, cross-department collaborative projects will be supported each year.

Each IAS funded project has an allocation of £8000 to support the buyout of the project’s principal investigator (PI) to the same level of IAS Fellows. Buyout is to provide PIs with the requisite relief to allow them to coordinate activities and ensure attainment of project objectives through active and sustained engagement with other investigators and invited Fellows during the thee-month project period. If, in exceptional circumstances, PIs wish to divide the buyout with a co-investigator or use the funds in another way that provides comparable support for the project, a request should be made in writing to the Executive Director of the IAS outlining the benefits.

Up to five Fellows per project may also be nominated.


Projects must be genuinely interdisciplinary, innovative and ambitious. They should ideally have both short- and longer-term objectives. In relation to longer-term objectives, we encourage projects that have the potential to build towards programmatic research of the scale and ambition suited to applications for Leverhulme Centres, Wellcome Collaborative Awards, ERC Synergy grants, or similar. All projects must involve at least two departments.

Timeline and process for 2019/20

The IAS invites colleagues from across the university to apply for project funding and to nominate world-leading collaborators to come to Durham as IAS fellows.

An initial one-page project outline should be submitted to Linda Crowe by Friday 04 January 2018 using the pro forma attached below.

If the volume of outline applications is very high, the IAS will make an initial selection. All selected applicants (PIs and Co-Is) will be invited to the IAS week commencing Monday 15 January to present briefly their project and ideas to the IAS Directorate. This affords the opportunity for discussion, suggestions and recommendations, guidance and support to each project proposal.

Each proposal will be assigned an IAS Director who will facilitate application development ahead of the full project application. The date for full project application is midday on Tuesday 10 April 2018 using the application pro forma noted below.

Applications will be selected based on the following criteria (these are equally weighted):

Novelty and ambition: to what extent does the project open new perspectives and create new inter-disciplinary synergies?

Rigour: to what extent does the project employ appropriate and state-of-the-art concepts and methods, and/or develop promising new ones?

Clarity and quality of objectives: how clear and realistic are the intended outcomes; what impact will there be on Durham University’s research capacity and international competitiveness; how well does it fit with University and Department research strategies?

Quality of the proposed research team: track record relative to career stage, including notable publications, awards, prizes and other esteem indicators, complementarity and suitability to the project objectives of team members’ expertise, evidence of interest in interdisciplinary perspectives; in the case of the PI, evidence of intellectual leadership/leadership potential

The IAS Directorate will review all applications by Friday 20 April 2018. Decisions will be relayed to all applicants by Wednesday 25 April 2018.

Fellowship Nominations

20 IAS Fellowships are available during 2019/20, and up to five external Fellows may be nominated per project. Nominated Fellows should seek to pursue outstanding and innovative research across the disciplines (collaboratively) via projects and/or other collaboration. Nominations should be for scholars (or artists, policy makers etc.) with excellent records of accomplishment, preferably world-leading or of exceptionally high promise. The remaining IAS Fellowships will be advertised openly, and applicants will be invited to work in conjunction with any of the four successful projects, and/or to commit to undertaking collaborative work with Durham scholar(s).

Nominated Fellows and applicants will be assessed comparatively by the IAS Directorate in one single round in July 2018 according to existing quality criteria, requiring evidence of significant academic distinction and/or exceptional early promise (see proforma below).

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday 10 April 2018. All nominations must be submitted in conjunction with a major project application.

Key Deadlines

Call for 1-page outline project proposal

15 November 2017

Deadline for outline project proposal

04 January 2018

Project applicant PIs/Co-Is invited to IAS to discuss proposal

w/c15 January 2018

Project applicants advised of IAS facilitator

16 January 2018

Deadline for full project application

10 April 2018

Project review by award panel

24 April 2018

Project applicants notified of outcome

25 April 2018

External Fellowship recruitment opens

25 April 2018

External Fellowship recruitment closes

08 June 2018

Fellowship nominations applications evaluated

11 June - 02 July 2018

Fellowship offers made

16 July 2018