Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

2020/21 Project Application and Fellowship Nomination

The Institute of Advanced Study is an incubator of novel, ground-breaking, interdisciplinary research. We support each year four ambitious, high-quality, cross-department collaborative projects.

Each IAS funded project has an allocation of up to £16000 to support the buyout from departmental duties of the project’s two principal investigator (Co-PIs) to the same level of IAS Fellows. Buyout is to provide Co-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. Co-PIs will also be deemed as IAS Christopherson Knott Fellows during the project phase.

Up to five visiting IAS 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 2020/21

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 to two page project outline should be submitted to Linda Crowe by Friday 04 January 2019 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 (Co-PIs) will be invited to the IAS week commencing Monday 14 January 2019 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 15 March 2019 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 Monday 25 March 2019. Decisions will be relayed to all applicants by Wednesday 27 March 2019.

Fellowship Nominations

20 IAS Fellowships are available during 2020/21, 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 2019 according to existing quality criteria, requiring evidence of significant academic distinction and/or exceptional early promise (see proforma below). The IAS is committed to the goals of diversity and equal opportunities, and particularly encourages nomination of and applications from scholars from under-represented groups.

The deadline for Fellowship nominations is Friday 15 March 2019. All nominations must be submitted in conjunction with a major project application.

Key Deadlines

Call for 1-2 page outline project proposal

09 November 2018

Deadline for outline project proposal

04 January 2019

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

08 January 2019

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

14 January 2019 (AM) and 15 January (AM)

Project applicants advised of IAS facilitator

18 January 2019

Deadline for full project application

midday 15 March 2019

Project review by award panel

25 March 2019

Project applicants notified of outcome

27 March 2019

External Fellowship recruitment opens

01 April 2019

External Fellowship recruitment closes

07 June 2019

Fellowship nominations and applications evaluated

10 June - 13 July 2019

Fellowship offers made

15 July 2019

Relevant Forms

Deadline - 04 January 2019