Frequently asked questions

Can I apply to IASH if I don’t have a PhD?

A few of our programmes – mainly those for artists, writers and playwrights, such as the IASH-Traverse Creative Fellowship and the Community Fellowship – are aimed at people who do not have a PhD. However, the majority of our Fellowships require applicants to hold a doctorate, or to be able to provide a transcript, testamur, or a letter of completion / eligibility to graduate as part of an application, if you have not yet graduated; you do not need to have actually graduated at the time you apply. However, we are open to applications from people without PhDs if there is strong evidence of sustained engagement with research as part of artistic practice, activism, community development, etc. In these circumstances, it would be advisable to contact us in advance of making an application to discuss options: We do not currently support doctoral or undergraduate research.


Can I apply to IASH if my work is mainly in the sciences?

If your research falls wholly within natural science, engineering or medicine, you would not be eligible to apply. IASH is primarily concerned with research in the arts, humanities and social sciences, but we strongly welcome interdisciplinary applications in areas such as medical humanities.


Can I apply to IASH if I am an independent researcher?

Yes. In most cases, we do not require applicants to hold a current position at a university or research centre.


Can I apply for more than one Fellowship?

Applicants are welcome to apply for more than one Fellowship, although they should ensure that each application is tailored to a specific programme. For example, an early-career researcher working in 18th-century history may wish to apply for the Daiches-Manning Memorial Fellowship in 18th-Century Scottish Studies as well as the Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellowship if they have a second project proposal that involves a significant proportion of digital engagement. Applications for the same project cannot be submitted to more than one programme.

Early-career applicants should note that competition for IASH Postdoctoral Fellowships is intense. We also offer targeted postdoctoral opportunities in a number of disciplines (such as digital scholarship, contemporary Islam and Muslim culture, public theology or history), and applicants may prefer to apply for these if appropriate. Where an application to a specific postdoctoral scheme is unsuccessful, it will then be considered again as part of the general pool of Postdoctoral Fellowships – you do not need to make a separate application.


Do I need a mentor or collaborator from the University of Edinburgh?

Yes. This is a key criterion for the selection panel, as it provides evidence of prior contact with colleagues here at Edinburgh, and evidence of a good fit to the university’s research priorities. A second mentor outside the University of Edinburgh is very welcome, but you must list at least one named mentor or collaborator in your application.


Can I apply to stay for longer than a specific Fellowship programme allows?

We aim to be as flexible as possible in terms of accommodating Fellows, especially early-career scholars. If you can make a strong case for an extended visit (up to a maximum of 10 months), we will try to accommodate this. We also often combine funding from various sources to allow Fellows to stay for longer; for example, applicants to the three-month CSMCH-IASH Visiting Postdoctoral Fellowship in Modern and Contemporary History who wish to stay longer may be offered funding via the Postdoctoral Bursaries for extra time at IASH.


Do I need to submit references?

Yes. Almost all Fellowship applications require two (or in some cases, three) academic references. These must be supplied by email to by the closing date for applications – we will not contact referees, as it is the applicant’s responsibility to arrange timely submission. Applications without two references will be deemed ineligible. It is preferable for references to comment in detail on the proposed research project, rather than offer general statements about a candidate’s quality.


Should I send examples of my published work?

You do not need to submit published work. In some cases, we may contact you to request these, but in general, we ask applicants to refrain from sending examples of published work.


When do I become eligible / ineligible for the postdoctoral Fellowship schemes?

This varies across our many postdoctoral schemes, but the range is between 3 and 7 years post-PhD. In all cases, applicants should have been awarded a doctorate at the time of application (i.e. if applying for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2022, you should have been awarded your doctorate between April 2019 and April 2022, although earlier graduates may be eligible if they have taken significant career breaks since completing their doctorate; as noted above, 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, but you should have completed your viva voce examination / thesis defence). If you have taken parental leave or other time away from academia, this will not count towards the relevant time limit, but we ask that you provide brief details of why and for how long you were not working.

You should not have held a permanent position at a university, or a previous Fellowship at IASH. Those who have held temporary and/or short-term appointments such as Teaching Fellowships are eligible to apply.

Many of our other programmes are open to scholars at all career stages, including postdoctoral researchers.


Can I work on other projects as the same time as holding an IASH Fellowship?

Yes. We recognise that our stipends are not large, and so we are very happy for early-career and postdoctoral Fellows to work up to 0.4FTE (2 days per week) on other projects or teaching. If you hold an existing postdoctoral award, such as a British Academy Fellowship, that permits work on other projects, we would be happy to receive your application. Where it is feasible to take a leave of absence in order to spend time at Edinburgh, we can assist with the paperwork. More established, tenured or senior scholars would be expected to devote the majority of their time at IASH to their research, although we recognise that these Fellows may have a small measure of teaching, supervision or other contracted work that still needs to be maintained while at IASH.


Is it possible to work remotely / work from home while on a Fellowship?

IASH is proud of the vibrant community fostered each year in Hope Park Square; one of the most important aspects of any IASH Fellowship is the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with scholars outside your discipline, and many alumnae/i testify to the fact that their most fruitful discussions and collaborations occurred with colleagues in completely different areas of study.

However, IASH adapted to the pandemic and delivered a full year of remote working / hybrid Fellowships in 2020-21. If there is a strong case for remote working while on a Fellowship, we will consider it. However, we do ask that Fellows plan to spend time at IASH as part of their Fellowship, if at all possible.


Is it possible to conduct fieldwork or archival visits during a Fellowship? Can I attend conferences outside Edinburgh during a Fellowship?

In most cases, we would expect Fellows to have conducted most of their data collection, fieldwork or international visits before arriving at IASH. A short trip such as visiting an archive in the UK or Europe would not pose any issues, but a lengthy visit to another country during a Fellowship is unlikely to be permitted; in this case, we may ask you to ‘pause’ your Fellowship and recommence it on completion of your external visit.

On the other hand, data collection in the local area, along with visits to Edinburgh’s many libraries and archives, is very much welcomed. In addition, we actively encourage Fellows to attend conferences and symposia during their time with us, as dissemination of findings and networking are key parts of academic career development.


Does IASH provide research expenses?

In general, apart from the Junior Anniversary Fellowship, we do not have sufficient funds to provide Fellows with research expenses, conference travel funds or other small grants. However, if small items such as specific software are required for your research, we can usually assist. Early-career and postdoctoral Fellows are encouraged to apply to our Susan Manning Workshop Fund to support symposia, workshops, performances, exhibitions and other public engagement / Knowledge Exchange activity.


Can IASH help with my visa?

Yes. IASH routinely assists with visa applications for international visitors, and will reimburse all visa fees from the start of 2022. Post-Brexit, European Fellows (excluding Irish citizens) who plan to visit for more than six months require a visa.


Does IASH provide accommodation?

Sadly, IASH does not have its own managed accommodation for Fellows. We maintain a list of local accommodation providers, including many delightful properties owned by staff at the university which are available to rent while their owners are on sabbatical. Our team are happy to assist with the search for affordable accommodation near the Institute.