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School of Government & International Affairs


We encourage applications for Durham University Fellowships as soon as they become available - please check back for the latest information.

About the Fellowship

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. The expectation is that Fellows should undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure, and that the Fellowships should lead to a more permanent academic position. Applications will be considered in all subject areas with the exception of research that is of direct relevance to clinicians, medical professionals and/or the pharmaceutical industry.

The Trust will contribute 50% of each Fellow's total salary costs up to a maximum of £24,000 per annum and the balance is to be paid by Durham University. Given the prestige of the awards each Fellow may request annual research expenses of up to £6,000 to further their research activities.

Fellowships are normally tenable for three years on a full-time basis, but requests to hold the award part-time over a proportionately longer period will be considered if this is appropriate for the nature of the research proposed and the career development of the individual.

For more information on the scheme and details on the eligibility criteria please see the Leverhulme’s website.

Deadlines and Schedules

2018/19 will confirmed here soon.

The Sir William Luce Memorial Fund was established to commemorate the long and distinguished career of Sir William Luce GBE, KCMG, DL (1907-77) in the Middle East during the era of the transfer of power.

About the Fellowship

The Sir William Luce Memorial Fund was established to commemorate the long and distinguished career of Sir William Luce GBE, KCMG, DL (1907-77) in the Middle East during the era of the transfer of power.

The Fellowship is awarded annually to a scholar at post-doctoral level, diplomat, politician, or business executive, working on those parts of the Middle East to which Sir William Luce devoted his working life (Iran, the Gulf states, South Arabia and Sudan), and is hosted by Durham University during the Easter term of each academic year. Recent fellows have included Professor Mark Katz, Edward Thomas, Helen Lackner, Richard Barltrop and Ambassador John W. Limbert. The Fund is looking for research proposals that examine historic aspects of Iran, the Gulf States, South Arabia and Sudan that throw light on contemporary events. The Fund notes that the University holds a Sudan Archive containing records relating to both Sudan and South Sudan.

The Fellowship, tenable jointly in the Institute for Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies and Trevelyan College, entitles the holder to full access to departmental and other University facilities such as Computing and Information Services and the University Library. The Fellowship also carries a grant, accommodation and all meals for the duration of the Fellowship. Fellows reside at Trevelyan College and are warmly encouraged to take a full part in the life of the Senior Common Room during their residence.

The Fellow is expected to deliver a lecture on the subject of his or her research which will be designated ‘The Sir William Luce Lecture’, and should be cast in such a way as to form the basis of a paper to be published in a special edition of the Durham Middle East Papers series.

The application date for the 2019 fellowship has now passed. The application period for the 2020 fellowship will begin in June 2019 and run to a date in the autumn that will be announced on this page. Enquiries in the meantime may be directed to:

The Secretary
Sir William Luce Memorial Fund
Durham University Library
Palace Green
United Kingdom


About Sir William Luce

The Fund commemorates the long and distinguished career of Sir William Luce GBE, KCMG, DL (1907-1977) in the Middle East during the era of the transfer of power.

Born in 1907, Sir William was educated at Clifton College and Christ's College Cambridge, where he read History and Modern Languages. Entering the Sudan Political Service in 1930, he served in Berber, Darfur, Blue Nile and Equatoria Provinces and finally as Adviser to the Governor-General on Constitutional and External affairs in the immediate period leading to the Sudan's independence in 1956. He was later able to bring his many talents to other offices. He was Governor of Aden from 1956 to 1960. From 1961 until 1966 and again from 1970 to 1972 he was intimately connected with the Gulf area, first as Political Resident, based in Bahrain, and then recalled from retirement - as the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's Personal Representative for Gulf Affairs.

Sir William was held in the greatest respect and affection by the peoples of the Middle East, and among the many tributes paid to him by prominent Arab statesmen on his death in 1977 were: 'He served the Arab World with the same zeal and dedication as his own country' and 'He understood our problems and aspirations.'

The object of the Fund is to support the study of those parts of the Arab world to which Sir William devoted his working life, to stimulate research, discussion and publication about them and to encourage collaboration and co-operation between institutions of learning, specialising in all the places which aroused Sir William's own interest.

Form of Commemoration

The commemoration of Sir William Luce through the Fund, and activities generated by it, will take the following form:

  • An annual Sir William Luce Fellowship tenable jointly in the University's Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Trevelyan College, open to scholars, including post-doctoral students, who are active in the fields of study for which the Fund is established. This Fellowship is more fully described above.
  • Acquisition by purchase, or otherwise, of research materials and books relating to the areas of study to add to the Middle East collections in the University Library, including the Middle East Documentation Unit and the Sudan Archive. Acquisitions will be marked by special book plates and a photograph of Sir William will hang alongside others commemorating important Library benefactors.
  • Special financial support for the editing and publication of selected documents held at Durham University within the spheres mentioned above. All such work will acknowledge the assistance of the Sir William Luce Memorial Fund.

Papers in the Sir William Luce Publication Series are published each year within the Durham Middle East Papers series by the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.

Image of Professor Mark N. Katz, Sir William Luce Fellow 2018, Durham University


Better than before? Comparing Moscow’s Cold War and Putin-era policies toward Arabia and the Gulf

Professor Mark N. Katz

Professor Mark Katz’s research currently focuses on Russian foreign policy, especially towards the Middle East, and the international dimensions of revolution. Against the backdrop of years of conflict, rising tensions, and mass population movements in the Middle East, interventions of Russia in the region have caught the attention of the world. Professor Katz provides a broad view of Russia's historic involvement in the Middle East, and asks how much has really changed.


Grown and inequality: four decades of transformation in Sudan

Dr Edward Thomas

Dr Edward Thomas has more than a decade of experience working in South Sudan and Sudan as a teacher, human rights worker, and researcher. His research and writing address social history and contemporary politics.

Image of Helen Lackner (2016 Sir William Luce Fellow)


Understanding the Yemeni crisis: the transformation of tribal roles in recent decades

by Helen Lackner

Helen Lackner is a social and political development analyst with experience of working in over thirty countries. For more than forty years - fifteen of which were spent living in the country - she has studied and worked on Yemen, focussing on supporting women and rural poor people to sustainably improve their living conditions, and to this end developing empowerment mechanisms such as the formation of community organisations. Her most recent publication is Why Yemen Matters: a society in transition (Saqi, 2014); she also frequently writes for Open Democracy.


Lessons from the past? Approaches to conflict and peace in Sudan, 1899-1955

by Dr Richard Barltrop

Richard Barltrop is a consultant and researcher, specialised in political, economic, conflict and security analysis on the Sudans, Somalia, the Sahel and Northern Africa, and the Middle East. He has worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Yemen and elsewhere. His areas of specialisation include mediation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and the role of humanitarian and development aid in countries at war.


Iranian and Arab in the Gulf: endangered language, windtowers, and fish sauce

by John W. Limbert

Ambassador John W. Limbert is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He is a veteran U.S. diplomat and a former official at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.


Dā’irat al-Mahdī: money, faith and politics in Sudan

by Fergus Nicoll

After working as a teacher in northern Sudan, Fergus Nicoll began his career with the BBC in 1988 with the African Service. He moved to the BBC's Cairo Bureau in 1992 and spent three years as a World Affairs Correspondent. In 1999-2000, he was Press Officer for Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. From 2001-12, he was a freelance presenter on the BBC World Service radio programme The World Today. He is now Public Relations and Publications Manager at the Rift Valley Institute and in 2004, published a biography of the Mahdi of Sudan, The Sword of the Prophet:The Mahdi of Sudan and the Death of General Gordon. In September 2010, the Qasim Data Centre in Khartoum published Nicoll's Bibliography of the Mahdia.


Sir William Luce in the Middle East

by Dr M.W. Daly

Dr M.W. Daly has published widely on the modern history of Egypt and the Sudan. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) degree in history from McGill University, M.A. from McGill's Institute of Islamic Studies, and Ph.D. in the history of the Near & Mdidle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

Sir William Luce Paper no. 13


How to Govern Darfur?

by Dr James Morton

Dr Morton is a freelance consultant whose work on Darfur started with six years in the region during the 1980s.


From the Mahdiyya to the Salvation: women's rights in the Sudanese laws

by Dr Asma Mohamed Abdel Halim

Dr Asma Mohamed Abdel Halim is an Assistant Professor, Department of Women and Gender Studies, University of Toledo, Ohio.


Oil Development Induced Displacement in the Sudan

by Dr Leben Moro

Dr Leben Moro who is a Southern Sudanese scholar currently based at the Centre for Peace and Development, University of Juba.

Sir William Luce Paper no. 10


Sudan: political transitions past and present

by Prof. Peter Woodward, University of Reading

Sir William Luce Paper no. 9


Generational change and elite-driven reforms in the kingdom of Bahrain

by Dr. Steven Wright, Durham University

Sir William Luce Paper no. 7


The Emergence of Post-Traditional Oman

by Dr John E. Peterson, Research Associate, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London

Sir William Luce Paper no. 5


The Arab Oil Weapon of 1973-74 as a Double-Edged Sword: its implications for future energy security

by Dr Robert R. Copaken

Sir William Luce Paper no. 4


Traditional Subsistence Strategies in Oman: an approach to an understanding of ancient subsistence strategies

by Prof. Ali Tigani El Mahi, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman


The Cultural Dimensions of Anglo-Iranian Relations

by Dr Mohaad Javad Nateghpour, University of Tehran

Sir William Luce Paper no. 3


Organized Labor and Social Change in Contemporary Sudan

by Professor Ahmed Alawad Sikainga, Ohio State University

Sir William Luce Paper no. 2


The Making of the Modern UAE

by Dr Fatma Al-Sayegh, Chairperson, History Department, UAE University


The Contribution of 19th Century British Political Agents to the Understanding of Omani History, with Special Reference to Sir Charles Ross

by Dr Isam al-Rawas, Assistant Professor, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman


Khartoum: past, present and the prospects for the future

by Dr Bushra el-Tayeb Babiker, Associate Professor, University of Khartoum

Sir William Luce Paper no. 1

Contact Details

T: +44 (0) 191 334 5742

F: +44 (0) 191 334 5661