Leverhulme Research Centres 2018 funding round
The Leverhulme Trust invites UK universities to bid for funding to establish a Leverhulme Research Centre. Each Centre, to be led by a named Director, will be funded for up to £1m per annum over a period of between five and 10 years to conduct innovative research of the highest intellectual and academic ambition.
The application process for submitting outline bids opens on 4 September 2017 and closes on 9 January 2018.
The Leverhulme Trust invites applications for Research Centres that will not only conduct research of outstanding originality but also aspire to achieve a significant step-change in scholarship. The Trust’s aim is to encourage new approaches that may establish or reshape a field of study and so transform our understanding of a significant contemporary topic.  Applicants are therefore invited to be bold in compiling their bids.
The Trust has a reputation for encouraging higher-risk research which is often therefore fundamental or curiosity-driven – so-called 'blue skies' – and pan-disciplinary. The expectation is that Centres will draw upon a range of disciplinary perspectives and expertise, perhaps bringing new disciplinary mixes to bear on a particular topic. The hope is that this new round will result in bids that fold the social sciences and humanities more authentically into the mix, as compared to the pattern of the first round, in which many proposals were encouragingly multi-disciplinary but framed primarily in physical and life science terms.
The Centres should have the capacity to become recognised internationally for excellence in their chosen area.
Centres should be titled as the ‘Leverhulme Centre for...’ the research activities in question.
Value and Duration
Up to £1 million per annum is available for between five and ten years, with an appropriate mid-grant review. Centres will be encouraged to build on the Leverhulme grant by seeking additional concurrent support from other funding bodies. The Trust will not normally award follow-on platform grants. If Centre arrangements persist beyond the original award, this will be on the initiative of the grant holder or institution.
In line with the Trust’s responsive-mode of working, the choice of research topic is left open, with the exclusion of studies of disease, illness and disabilities in humans and animals, or research that is intended to inform clinical practice or the development of medical applications. The Trust has a strong reputation for funding cross-disciplinary research embracing the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. The chosen area should be sufficiently large-scale to support an ambitious but realistic research agenda, for between five and ten years.
Leverhulme Research Centres should not duplicate existing activity at a comparable scale, whether in Research Council-funded or university research centres. The Trust wishes to support research activity where it can be confident that the work will have substantial added-value compared to smaller initiatives in the same area of research.
Please read the following before submitting an application.
Eligible institutions are universities in the UK.
A Leverhulme Research Centre may be single-site (one higher education institution) or multi-site (‘hub and spoke/s’). Each UK university is permitted to make only one bid as the principal applicant (‘hub’). Additional involvement in partnership(s) with other universities is, however, permitted (as ‘spoke’).
The participation of non-UK international institutions is encouraged, where this is relevant to the Centre’s research focus, but this is not a requirement.
The usual categories of expenditure from Trust funds are permitted: 
(i) Salaries for research staff
At least 75% of the resources requested must be used to provide funding for research staff (research assistants, postgraduate students, replacement teaching costs)
(ii) Associated research costs.
These include technical or computing staff costs or services, travel and subsistence, consumables, and can be included up to a maximum of 25% of the total budget.
As the Trust is not permitted to fund ‘infrastructural’ investment or overheads, institutions which wish to host a Centre will be required to provide all necessary office and work space and any other appropriate university support. Note also that the Trust does not make awards on a full economic costing basis.


Each university is permitted to submit only one bid as the principal applicant. Research Services is coordinating the internal peer review process by which the application from Oxford will be selected. (There is no restriction on Oxford’s involvement in collaborative bids where Oxford is not the lead.)

Faculty EOI draft review: 6th October 2017

Research Services EOI: 20th October 2017

See more information on the University's Research Services website re the internal selection and application process