KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE Stipendiary Research Fellowship in the History and Culture of the Countries of the Silk Roads

Call illustration

Through a generous donation, King’s College Cambridge is able to invite applications for a four-year Research Fellowship from those who are completing or have recently completed a doctorate and who intend to pursue a substantial research project on some aspect of the Silk Road countries, societies, and cultures of Asia from the Western borders of China to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as their relationships with China in the East and Europe in the West. The research project can be situated in any discipline or interdisciplinary position and can address any aspect of the movement of materials, knowledge, cultural practices and technologies between China and the Mediterranean or any sub-region between the two at any period up to the present day.

This Research Fellowship is part of a broader programme, which includes lectures, seminars and conferences, as well as graduate scholarships and further Research Fellowships. As well as pursuing their own research project, the successful candidate will be expected to play an active role in developing the programme and in organizing academic activity concerned with the countries of the Silk Road outside of their own specific project.

The ideal candidate for this Research Fellowship will have a strong background in a relevant discipline and be completing or have completed an outstanding doctoral thesis. It is not a requirement that the candidate’s doctoral studies or the work that they submit in support of their application should have concerned questions of the Silk Roads specifically, but candidates will be expected to show in their applications how their plans for their future work relates to the work that they have already done.

A Research Fellowship is a postdoctoral position tenable for up to 4-years. Applications are welcome from graduates of any university. Candidates will usually have completed their PhD, but must not have undertaken more than 3-years of postdoctoral work by 1 October 2024 (i.e. your PhD cannot have been granted before 30 September 2021).

The successful candidate will join a lively research community which includes Research Fellows and College Research Associates as well as Fellows who hold University posts working across a wide range of problems. Our existing Arts Humanities and Social Science Research Fellows work on issues of Urban Studies, Race, Equality, and Punishment and Prejudice. It is the aim of these projects to develop and consolidate crucial fields of study that are currently too narrowly restricted in their practitioners and/or their objects of analysis, and to strengthen the intellectual framework for international and global approaches to the humanities by tackling related issues that can only properly be understood when tackled globally. The Fellow in Silk Road Studies will similarly be expected to ‘think big’.

Research Fellows are members of the Governing Body, with full privileges of Fellows. In addition to pursuing research, a Research Fellow is required to live in Cambridge or close by and to participate in College life and activity. Privileges include all meals, limited financial support for expenses associated with research, the possibility of an office and accommodation in College properties. Although these are research posts, Research Fellows are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to undertake a small amount of University and/or College teaching.

The stipend attached to a Research Fellowship is ££24,126 (pre award of doctorate), £26,807  (after award of doctorate), rising each year to a maximum of ££30,912.  Additional payment is made for teaching.  An accommodation allowance of £3,530 is paid to all Stipendiary Research Fellows, and an additional living-out allowance of up to £4,000, depending on income, is available to those Fellows not living in college-owned accommodation.

The closing date for applications, including references, is 9 a.m. on Monday 19 September 2023. Further information about the College may be obtained from the College website.


Graduates of any university are eligible. Candidates will usually have completed their PhD but must not have undertaken more than 3 years of postdoctoral work by 1 October 2024 (i.e. your PhD cannot have been granted before 30 September 2021).

The College has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK. If you do not have the right to work in the UK already, any offer we make will be conditional upon you gaining it. The College will give informal advice and assistance but ultimately it will be the responsibility of the candidate to obtain the necessary visa requirements of the United Kingdom.


  • The closing date for application is 9 a.m. (UK local time) on Monday 18 September 2023. Applications received after this date and time will not be considered.
  • Long-listed candidates will be notified in late-September and will be expected to provide within 5-days a writing sample of not more than 20,000 words.
  • Short-listed candidates will be notified late-November, and will be invited for interview on either Wednesday 10th or Thursday 12th January 2024. Please ensure that you will be available for interview on these dates, as it is not possible to arrange other times for interviews.
  • Fellowship will begin on 1 October 2024 and will run until 30 September 2028.

Application Process

To apply use the following link to go to the FAS website and create an application:

Apply Online

Before the closing date, applicants must complete all sections of the online Fellowship Application and upload onto the website (PDF only) the following:

  • A curriculum vitae (of no more than three A4 sides) including details of higher education, degrees awarded, positions held and a list of publications.
  • A document (of no more than 1,200 words in length, excluding bibliography, references, footnotes, endnotes) containing descriptions of your current research and of the research you propose to undertake during the Fellowship.

Applicants must also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be uploaded onto the site in PDF format by the closing date of the competition, 9 a.m. (UK local time) on Monday 18 September 2023. Each referee should be asked to provide the names of two further readers, not in the candidate’s institution, to whom work might be sent if the candidate is long-listed. It is the duty of the candidate to ensure that the referees submit the references before the closing date.

Your referees will need to provide their references through the FAS website. They will be sent an email containing a link to do this. Referees unable to submit references electronically via the FAS website may e-mail Rebecca Williams the competition administrator.

Please note that all application materials must be in the English language.

The application will not be considered in the competition until it has been submitted and all references have been received. An email will be sent once this has occurred.

In late-September, the College will contact long-listed applicants by email to ask for samples of written work, up to 20,000 words (either published papers or chapters of a doctoral thesis). This work must be supplied within 5-days of the sending of the e-mailIf you submit published papers, you will need to include a covering written statement, which explains your precise contribution, if your submission includes multi-author paper(s).

Further questions

If you have any further questions regarding any aspect of the competition, please e-mail Rebecca Williams the competition administrator.

Application date
4 years
Humanities : Arts and Art history, History, Literature, Philosophy, Theology and religion
Social sciences : Geography, Environmental Sciences