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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

How to Apply

Recruitment for the 2021/22 Fellowship - A message from the IAS Executive Director

The IAS is currently discussing with the University’s senior managers contingency planning in relation to Covid-19. We are therefore putting our Call for Applications for IAS Fellowships on hold for the moment. Further information will be available on this website as soon as our contingency plan is decided, and we hope that this will be very soon.

Professor Veronica Strang

IAS Fellowship

Application for an IAS Fellowship can be made via one of two routes: the first, detailed fully below and is for external applicants. The second is a nomination route for Durham only scholars to nominate international, world-leading researchers for a Fellowship (see the left hand column for full details).

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants from any disciplinary area(s) are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants may come from an academic or non-academic background (e.g. public intellectuals, artists, writers, film makers, journalists, policy makers, politicians);
  • Applicants must meet the criteria for the IAS Distinguished Fellowship scheme. They must have a well-established or strongly emerging international reputation and a substantial publication record (or equivalent achievements); they must have made major contributions to their field; and they must be able to provide substantial evidence of research leadership and/or public impact. They are expected to have played a significant role in shaping their discipline or field through their outputs, achievements and indicators of esteem.
  • Applicants must submit a complete application as described in the Application Procedures. Incomplete applications will not be accepted or considered;
  • Applicants must agree to the conditions of the IAS Fellowships as described in the Further Particulars.
  • Previous recipients of an IAS Fellowship are ineligible to apply.

Application Procedures

The following application materials are required by the deadline, which will be announced shortly. Applications will not be accepted until the Fellowship is formally open:

  1. A letter of application;
  2. A Curriculum Vitae/Resume;
  3. Two references from referees external to the applicant's own institution;
  4. A Fellowship proposal;
  5. Peer Review request to Durham colleague.

Materials #1 - #4 must be submitted to the IAS by the deadline, once the Fellowhsip Call is announced.

The Peer Review Request (#5) must be completed by the applicant and submitted for peer review to a Durham academic with whom the proposed research most closely aligns. Applicants must allow sufficient time to make contact with a potential Durham Reviewer and seek their agreement to undertake this task so that s/he has ample time to complete the review. Applicants should therefore request for peer review, within the date specified which will be stated once the Fellowship is announced. Any applicant who has not made contact with a peer reviewer by then will not be considered for an IAS Fellowship. A supportive review from a Durham academic is crucial in terms of ensuring that the Fellow’s proposed work is of strategic benefit to Durham University. Further details about how to locate an appropriate reviewer are provided below.

If any aspect of the above process is unclear, please contact the IAS for clarification.

Application Materials

Letter of Application (#1)
The letter of application must state which period applicants would like to spend at Durham (01 October-17 December 2021 OR 10 January-31 March 2022. If either period is suitable, please indicate).

Academics whose Universities do not provide research/sabbatical leave are eligible to apply for teaching buy-out costs of up to £8,000 (for the three month period). Practitioners can similarly apply for funding to cover loss of income. If such a teaching buy-out or contribution is required, full justification is required and a costing must be included with the application. This cannot be done retrospectively (i.e. once an offer of a Fellowship has been made).

Buy-out covers teaching replacement at a junior level. In due course, should the IAS offer a Fellowship, a letter from the applicant’s home institution will be required supporting the applicant’s claim. The buy-out costs of salaried Fellows will be paid to their home institutions. Fellows who are self-employed will be reimbursed directly.

Applicants must indicate in the letter of application if they will be accompanied by a spouse or partner and/or if they have a family that will be travelling with them. However, accommodation suitable for families is very limited, and the IAS cannot guarantee that such family accommodation will be provided. The IAS cannot cover the costs of family travel, family subsistence costs or any additional costs relating to family members during the fellowship period.

Finally, applicants must indicate in the letter of application how they were made aware of the Fellowship (word of month; via their own institution; website etc.).

Curriculum Vitae/Resume (#2)
The Curriculum Vitae/Resume should include evidence of research interests and career to date, international recognition and impact in the field.
References (#3)
References must be from suitable colleagues external to the applicant’s own institution. They should be emailed directly by the referee (not the applicant) to the IAS manager, Linda Crowe, by the application deadline. The IAS will not make any request for references, including any not received by the application deadline. Any references not received by the deadline will render the application incomplete and it not be considered for a Fellowship. Applicants should therefore ensure that their referees are made fully aware of the deadline and conditions of application.

Referees should refer to the guidance noted towards the end of this page.

Fellowship Proposal (#4)
The Fellowship proposal (c.500-1000 words) should describe the activities planned whilst holding an IAS Fellowship, the contacts and contribution envisaged in Durham. Applicants should take into consideration the evaluation criteria when completing the proposal. This proposal must be submitted with the application letter and CV.

The Fellowship proposal must also be uploaded to the pro forma (#5 - see bottom of page) and sent to an appropriate Durham academic no later than the date specified which will be provided when the Fellowship opens for recruitment. Applicants must seek agreement in advance from a Durham scholar, that s/he will undertake peer review. Durham Peer Reviewers will return the completed pro forma by the application deadline. If the Durham academic agrees to act as Reviewer, he/she will complete the relevant section of the pro forma (#5) and return it directly to the IAS (not to the applicant). Please note: all applicants are expected to seek an appropriate peer reviewer themselves; the IAS will not undertake this task.

The IAS recommends using the Find an expert section of Durham University’s research directory. This has a tool for searching the Research Directory. Here applicants can search for a particular research topic and find associated staff members and publications.

Further sources of information include:

Application Evaluation

All applications will be evaluated by the IAS Fellowship Selection Committee according to the following criteria:

  • Criterion 1. International standing and contribution of the candidate to the field, as appropriate to the career stage of the candidate (40%)
  • Criterion 2. Quality of the proposed research activities while at the IAS (30%)
  • Criterion 3. Contribution to the wider scholarly community at Durham (20%)
  • Criterion 4. Collegiality and ability to contribute to the community of IAS Fellows (10%)

The sources of information for assessing applications include the application materials (including references), publicly accessible information (including published articles or books, works of art etc.) and advice sought from peer reviewers.

In selecting the final list of successful Fellows, the Selection Committee will also take into account

1. the limit of 10 Fellowships in each of the Oct-Dec and Jan-March periods;

2. the geographical and disciplinary diversity of the Fellows in each period;

Decisions for the 2021/22 recruitment phase will be communicated by email only.

Closing Date

The closing date for applications to the IAS Fellowship scheme for 2021/22 will be announced shortly. Applications must be emailed to the IAS Manager, Linda Crowe, no later than the application deadline. Any applicable material and incomplete applications, i.e. those submitted without all of the following: a letter of application, a CV, a research proposal, and two letters of recommendation/references, or applications received after the application deadline, will not be considered.


Tel: +44(0)191 3344686

Should applicants wish to discuss informally matters relating to the IAS Fellowships in general they are welcome to contact Linda Crowe or the Executive Director, Professor Veronica Strang.The other Directors, Professor Rob Barton (Anthropology), Professor Chris Greenwell (Earth Sciences), and Professor Nicholas Saul (Modern Languages and Cultures) are also available for informal consultation.

Additional Relevant Web Addresses

Fellowship Research Proposal Proforma

2021/22 IAS Fellowship Research Proposal Proforma (last modified: 21 February 2020)Word document

Guidance for Referees

The Durham IAS hosts a Distinguished Fellowship scheme aiming to host 20 stellar international scholars each year. The selection criteria aim at the highest level. Fellows are expected to be international, world-leading researchers (or practitioners, such as writers, artists, policy makers etc.) They must have a very well-established or strongly emerging international reputation; they must have made major contributions to their field; they must have a substantial publication record (or equivalent achievements); and they must be able to provide substantial evidence of research leadership and/or public impact. They are expected to have played a significant role in shaping their discipline or field through their outputs, achievements and indicators of esteem.

In providing a reference for potential Fellowship applicants and nominees, it would be therefore be helpful if referees could respond to the following questions.

  • Is the applicant/nominee recognised internationally as a world-leading scholar?
  • What are the major contributions they have made to their field?
  • Do they have a substantial track-record of publication (or equivalent achievements) that demonstrates the quality of their work and their prominence in the field?
  • Have they provided research leadership or achieved significant impact in the public sphere?
  • How have they helped to shape their discipline or field?
  • Can you point to particular achievements and/or indicators of esteem that reflect the quality of their work?
  • Do they have substantial experience of working in interdisciplinary environments?
  • Can you comment on their collegiality and ability to work collaboratively?

Privacy Notice

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For further information about Fellowship Application materials see:

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