IASH-CTPI Duncan Forrester Fellowship


Applications are invited for postdoctoral bursaries from researchers working in any of the research areas of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI). The applicant’s project must relate broadly to public theology, in relation to areas such as: peacebuilding and the arts; theology, politics, and migration; theology and environmental ethics; and theology, law and justice.

IASH provides an enviable location in one of the world’s most intellectually inspiring cities, together with a dynamic network of international connections.

Home to the Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh has a rich cultural heritage of scholarship and creativity that continues to the present day. In this haven of libraries and archives, galleries and music venues – all set amid iconic architecture – IASH takes the humanities beyond campus to engage the public and work with organisations in a variety of different sectors.

The Institute welcomes visiting researchers from across the world. Since 1970, over 1,250 Fellows have stepped through our doors. Up to 30 researchers are in residence at any one time in our amazing – and eclectic – nineteenth-century building just on the edge of the University’s central campus, boasting views of the Meadows.

From upwards of 65 countries, IASH Fellows form a global alumni community, and many career-long connections begin at the Institute.

What does an IASH-CTPI Duncan Forrester Fellowship offer?

IASH hosts a lively scholarly community of visiting fellows. It is a supportive environment for postdoctoral researchers, while also offering networking opportunities with successful mid-career and eminent senior scholars. The Institute occupies a historic building with private courtyard and leafy views – perfect for uninterrupted thinking, reading and writing. Yet there is also plenty of opportunity to socialise and share ideas.

In short, a 2024-2025 IASH-CTPI Duncan Forrester Fellowship provides:

  • Research visit at the University of Edinburgh for three to ten months
  • Bursary* of up to a maximum of £15,000
  • Dedicated office space, University e-mail and library access
  • An allocated University mentor from the Centre for Theology and Public Issues or another area relevant to the Fellows’ research interests
  • Weekly Fellows’ Lunch to build community
  • Collegial work-in-progress seminar series for testing new ideas
  • Calendar of engaging events at the Institute and College
  • Opportunities to participate in and design funded workshops, colloquia, etc. at the Institute

*) The bursary may be used to top up an existing postdoctoral Fellowship, or as a contribution towards living expenses. Applicants are asked to indicate other sources of support for which they have applied and the expected date of outcome. No teaching is required, but successful applicants may be able to supplement the bursary by individually arranging their own concurrent teaching. No more than 2 days per week (0.4 of a full time position) may be spent on employment other than the Duncan Forrester Fellow’s individual research project.

Who can apply?

We warmly welcome applications from both within and beyond the University of Edinburgh. Applicants must have been awarded a doctorate at the time of application (meaning you have submitted a final version of your thesis with all necessary corrections, and have received a letter of completion – you do not need to have graduated), and normally within the last seven years. You must be able to produce a transcript, testamur, or a letter of completion/eligibility to graduate as part of your application. You should not have held a permanent position at a university, or a previous Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Those who have held temporary and/or short-term appointments are eligible to apply. If you have taken parental leave or other time away from academia, this will not count towards the seven-year limit, but we ask that you provide brief details of why and for how long you were not working. Overseas candidates should check visa restrictions before applying.

Application procedure

The closing date

The closing date for the receipt of the next round of applications (for visits from August 2024 to July 2025) is 17:00 GMT on 26 April 2024. Applications received after that date will not be considered. Decisions will be communicated in July. Please ensure that you supply a valid email address so that you can be contacted quickly after decisions are made.

The application form

Please complete the online application form here.
Any additional supporting documents connected with an application should be emailed to iash@ed.ac.uk.


  • In addition to the application form, a minimum of two and a maximum of three confidential references are required.
  • Applicants should ask their referees to email their reference to the IASH Director at iash@ed.ac.uk by 26 April 2024. If references are not received by this date, your application cannot be considered.
  • Referees should comment on the nature and quality of the research proposal, as well as on the qualifications of the applicant. One referee should certify the successful viva (defence) and final examination of the candidate’s PhD thesis.


  • Consideration will be given to the academic record and the publications of all applicants and their capacity to disseminate their work to diverse audiences. Candidates must give evidence of any contact they have made with researchers at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues and/or the University of Edinburgh, are required to make such contact before submitting their applications, and those who can evidence the relevance of their proposed project to the Edinburgh research community will be regarded favourably.  Particular weight will be placed on the quality and timeliness of the project proposed, and we encourage innovative and interdisciplinary topics and approaches.
  • Only fully completed formal applications will be considered. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that all documentation is complete, and that referees submit their reports to IASH by the closing date. Candidates may like to submit a copy of any one article or publication that is thought to be especially relevant to the research proposal and Fellowship submission. It must be emphasised, however, that no such submitted publication will be returned to the candidate.
  • For information about the scope of work undertaken at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, see their website. The Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI) was founded at the University of Edinburgh in 1984 as the world’s first centre for reflection and research on public theology. More than three decades later, CTPI continues to bring theological voices into conversations about pressing matters of public concern. Duncan Forrester, CTPI’s founding director, reflected: “Theology and the problems of the world have tended to drift apart, as theology has sometimes seen the academic world as a refuge from relevance… We clearly need to develop a theology which is neither deductive nor inductive, but which grows out of a dialectic between the tradition and the praxis of those who are involved in endeavouring to transform the situation.” CTPI engages with a range of public issues. CTPI hosts a range of events intent on dialogue, education and transformation. In recent times, CTPI has hosted art exhibitions, conferences, public lectures, panel discussions, seminars and performances.
  • The Institute was established in 1969 by the then Faculty of Arts to promote enquiry of the highest standards in the Humanities, broadly conceived. It began to receive Fellows in 1970, and is now located as an independent institute within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  Inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary study has always been encouraged.
  • Fellows must make the Institute their main place of work for the duration of the Fellowship.  It is expected that Fellows will be in residence throughout the tenure of their Fellowship and will contribute fully to the life of the Institute during that time. Fellows are expected to participate in the Centre’s activities including delivering a workshop or seminars on their chosen topic. Fellows will also be expected to work in collaboration with one or more members of existing University academic staff in CTPI, and to take an active part in both IASH interdisciplinary and CTPI events. No regular teaching is required.
  • Applicants looking for suitable accommodation in Edinburgh may find these links useful.

In order to take full advantage of the seminars and lectures which take place during the semesters and to meet with staff in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, applicants are encouraged to apply for periods that will include at least part of one of the semesters.

Application date
3 to 10 months
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, Arts and Art history, Philosophy, Theology and religion
Social sciences : Law, Political science, Environmental Sciences, Sociology