IASH Edinburgh Postdoctoral Fellowships and Bursaries

Applications are invited for postdoctoral bursaries from candidates in any area of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. We would particularly welcome applications linked to the themes of the new Institute Project on Decoloniality (IPD'24) taking place at IASH from 2021 to 2024. This project invites scholars from around the world to visit Edinburgh and conduct research on the theme of decoloniality, broadly understood. We and our partners warmly encourage applications exploring issues including but not limited to: decolonising the curriculum; anticolonial and decolonial theory; neo-colonialism; intellectuals in and from the Global South; intersectionality and multiple inequalities; decolonising gender and sexuality; race and racialisation; de-centering Western feminist knowledge production; Scotland’s role in the British Empire; reparations; the University of Edinburgh’s colonial legacy and alumni roles in the slave trade; and the histories of Edinburgh graduates and staff of colour. It is important to note that we still welcome applications on all topics and in all areas of the arts, humanities and social sciences to continue IASH’s traditional interdisciplinary work across the 12 CAHSS schools, alongside IPD’24.

Competition for IASH Postdoctoral Fellowships is intense. We also offer targeted postdoctoral opportunities in a number of disciplines, and applicants may prefer to apply for these. If an application to a specific postdoctoral scheme listed below is unsuccessful, it will then be considered as part of the general pool of Postdoctoral Fellowships:

Early career researchers in history may be interested in the CSMCH-IASH Visiting Postdoctoral Fellowship in Modern and Contemporary History or the Daiches-Manning Memorial Fellowship in 18th-Century Scottish Studies.

Early career researchers with an interest in digital arts, digital humanities, digital education, digital design and/or digital social sciences may wish to apply for the Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Early career researchers working in the field of contemporary Islam and Muslim culture can apply for the IASH-Alwaleed Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Early career researchers in public theology, including peacebuilding and the arts; theology, politics, and migration; theology and environmental ethics; and/or theology, law and justice can apply for the IASH-CTPI Duncan Forrester Fellowship.

Early career researchers wishing to examine specific special collections held at the University of Edinburgh can apply for the Centre for Research Collections Fellowship (based on uncatalogued or barely researched collections) or the RACE.ED Archival Research Fellowship (based on the university's own archive and related collections to uncover evidence and address the silences in the University of Edinburgh’s colonial legacy).

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 Postdoctoral 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 2021-2022 IASH Postdoctoral Fellowship provides:

  • Research visit at the University of Edinburgh for three to ten months
  • Bursary* of up to a maximum of £13,000
  • Dedicated office space, University e-mail and library access
  • An allocated University mentor from an 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 (e.g. British Academy), 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, though the Institute expects that a maximum commitment of 0.4 of a full time position will be dedicated to work other than the Postdoctoral 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, and normally within the last three years (i.e. you should have graduated between 2018 and 2021, although earlier graduates may be eligible if they have taken significant career breaks since completing their doctorate; if you have not yet graduated, you must be able to produce a transcript, testamur, or a letter of completion/eligibility to graduate as part of your application; you do not need to have actually graduated at the time you apply). 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 three-year limit, but we ask that you provide brief details of why and for how long you were not working.

Application procedure

The closing date

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 30 April 2021. Applications received after that date will not be considered. Decisions will be communicated in July 2021. 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 Director at iash@ed.ac.uk by 30 April 2021. 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.
Application date
3-10 months
Social sciences