Information about the C19 Matters Fellowship, an initiative jointly run by initiative jointly run by the British Association for Romantic Studies and the British Association for Victorian Studies, will be available later in the year.

Postdoctoral and Early Career Resources

This page contains useful links for Early Career and Postdoctoral researchers. Whether you are looking for advice on how to turn your thesis into a monograph, or puzzling over the difference between a ‘Research Fellow’ and a ‘Research Associate’, the information below should point you in the right direction.

If you have any suggestions for other good resources or a request for an area we’ve missed, please contact us (see Contacts): Alicia Barnes and Harriet Thompson, Postdoctoral Representatives

Please note: none of these links are sponsored by BAVS; they are simply helpful resources that other ECRs have found useful.

Click on ‘details’ below to view the dropdown information.

Searching for Academic Jobs

Most academic vacancies are listed on You can sign up for email alerts in your chosen discipline and with key words. These can be lectureships, teaching or research positions. Academic vacancies are also listed on the Times Higher Education website.

Applying for Jobs

Here are some useful links on applying for jobs after the doctorate.

Here is a useful article on applying to academic jobs in the US.

Early-Career Positions Explained

Research Assistant: works on someone else’s project(s)Research Associate: works on someone else’s project, but with more autonomy

Postdoctoral Fellow/Researcher: works on their own project

Teaching Fellow: often maternity leave or research leave cover. A full teaching load, so maintaining your own research/publication record is difficult, but good experience

Lecturer (entry level): Likely to be your first permanent job, but sometimes 1-2 year contracts

Postdoctoral Funding

Research Fellowships are fixed-term research positions at HEI’s or other eligible Research Organisations. They are only available to researchers who have not held a permanent academic position, and who are within 3-5 years of finishing the PhD (see individual funders for details).If you want to propose your own research project, the main postdoctoral funding bodies are the Leverhulme Trust or the British Academy. Other funders such as the Wellcome Trust and UKRI (AHRC & ESRC) also have some postdoctoral opportunities. Note, while the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships and Wellcome Trust Early-Career Awards are annual calls, UKRI calls may be one-off, so it is worth checking the UKRI website regularly (or signing up to email alerts).

Each funding body will have a specific approach to grant-making, and you should think about which funder best suits your project. For example, the Wellcome Trust emphasises research relating to life, health and wellbeing, the Leverhulme Trust favours ‘blue-sky’ thinking that crosses disciplinary boundaries, and the British Academy’s primary criterion for award is ‘scholarly excellence’. It’s worth taking the time to read through the webpages of funders to find out exactly what they’re looking for, and for examples of projects previously awarded funding.

As with any funding, postdoctoral fellowships are intensely competitive and will require lots of work. Make sure you leave plenty of time to finalise and finesse your application with your proposed mentor. Some institutions will also have internal demand management processes in place for schemes such as the Leverhulme ECF. This means they will have an internal selection round before submitting any applications to the funder, so make sure you discuss this process with your mentor as well. Internal deadlines are often at least 2 months (at least) earlier than the final funder deadline.

Some universities offer their own fellowship scheme, which may be equivalent to the BA or Leverhulme awards. These opportunities will be advertised on and THES.

Universities may also advertise positions for postdoctoral researchers which are attached to a larger research grant within the department or institution. These can vary from 1-5 year’s duration, and (often) come with no guarantee of a permanent job at the end of the term.

If your institution has a subscription to Research Professional, you can also find UK and international funding calls listed there. They often have lots of smaller pots of funding available that you can apply to to build up your research grant profile. It’s also a fantastic resource for HE news, tips for navigating academia as an early-career researcher, and CFPs.


This scheme offers awards of up to £10,000 tenable for up to 24 months to cover the cost of expenses arising from a defined research project. Importantly, you do not have to have a permanent academic position to apply for this grant and independent scholars are also eligible! The call usually opens twice a year (deadlines in May and November).


The Heritage Collections Research Fellowship provide access to the Heritage Collections held at the University of Edinburgh and are open to independent researchers within 5 years of PhD. The collections include archives, manuscripts, rare books, art, musical instruments and other museum collections representing four centuries of collecting. There are numerous areas of potential focus, at this time they encourage applications focused on one of the following:

  • The University of Edinburgh’s colonial legacy and alumni roles in the slave trade and/or the histories of Edinburgh graduates and staff of colour
  • Identities and Inequalities
  • International Connections: Focus on Africa
  • Materials and Materiality

The fellowship awards a research visit at the University of Edinburgh for three to six months; bursary of £1,500 per month; travel allowance of up to £500; dedicated office space, university email address and library access; support from curatorial and technical staff; allocated University mentor; weekly Fellows’ lunch; Collegial work-in-progress seminar series; calendar of engaging events at the Institute and College.

Building your academic profile

To raise your public profile, and to maintain a profile page if you lose institutional affiliation, try:

You could also build your own website/blog in order to showcase your publications, teaching and research expertise. Include the link on your email signature.

Take a look at the following for helpful advice on building your professional reputation as you hunt for part-time or full-time jobs:

REF (Research Excellence Framework)

Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The last REF was held in 2021. The next REF will be in 2028, though the guidelines are yet to be published. You can read the published results and previous criteria on the REF2021 website:


The Research Councils (including the AHRC) define ‘impact’ as ‘the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy’. It is important to demonstrate the impact that your research might have beyond the university, and will likely become increasingly important in future REFs. You should think about how to imbed impact into your research projects from as early on as possible. Find out more below:AHRC Impact pages:

ESRC have produced an impact toolkit that has some great advice on how to define and start planning what impact your research could have:

Resource on pathways to Impact:

Open Access and Publishing

It is increasingly a requirement that publicly-funded research is made freely available via open access (for example, to qualify for funding or to enter a submission for the REF). Find out more here:Research Councils UK information on Open Access:

Some interesting short articles on the issues that OA raises for ECRs: 

Stop shielding early-career researchers from open access – limiting wider involvement won’t change a broken system.

If you are interested in exploring Open Access further, you may want to read Martin Eve, Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Here is a great resource hub for Early Career Researchers that advises on publishing:

Deciding if Academia is for you

This site is extremely useful for familiarising yourself with the realities of academic life, and for deciding if it is the right path for you:  (interesting interviews with early-career academics)

It also helps with deciding what areas of your CV you need to work on over the next couple of years, to put yourself in a good position for getting a permanent job.

The following is a blog run by an early-career researcher, which gives an insight into life post-PhD:


The British Academy Early Career Research NetworkThis is an inclusive, researcher-led membership body accessible to all UK-based early career researchers (ECRs) working in the humanities and social sciences – regardless of their funding source or background. Currently, the network has three Hubs – the Midlands, Scotland and the South West – with more hubs to launch nationally in due course. There is a full list of which Universities are involved with the ECRN on the website, and anyone with a connection to one of these universities (i.e. where you did your PhD or MA) can join the network through them; you do not still need to be based at that institution.