Trinity’s global competition for outstanding young scholars

Applications are open for Trinity’s prestigious Junior Research Fellowships, which offer four years of ‘extraordinary liberty’ for early career academics to pursue their research.

Each year Trinity elects between five and eight men and women of ‘exceptional intellectual calibre’ from around the world as Junior Research Fellows.

The scheme is aimed at those embarking on an academic career. Applicants must be either pursuing a PhD or have submitted their thesis no earlier than 31 October 2015. In most cases the award will be a scholar’s first substantial post in academia.

Trinity Fellow and Secretary to the Fellowship Electors, Professor John Marenbon, said:

The aim of the Trinity ‘Title A’ (JRF) competition is to find the most outstanding young scholars and scientists, whatever their academic area and wherever they have been studying.

We select solely according to academic excellence, as shown in a dissertation (often a PhD dissertation or an uncompleted version of one) and judged by international experts in the field.

A key attraction of the award is the freedom it bestows on the postholder. Originally, Trinity’s ‘prize’ fellowships were a reward for academic achievement, without obligations or expectations of further research. Today, JRFs are expected to engage in research – but that is the only requirement. Trinity’s Senior Tutor, Professor Catherine Barnard, said:

We still take the view that the best research follows its own course, which is hard to determine in advance. A JRF is not like a research grant, where you are being paid carry out a particular project. It is a personal award based on past, outstanding, performance.

doorProfessor Marenbon, who oversees the JRF competition, said:

The posts give their holders an extraordinary liberty to develop their own work over four years, taking time out for periods in other universities or elsewhere if wished. Trinity itself, in the wider context of the university, provides a near ideal environment for research.

Junior Research Fellows are encouraged to participate in College life and can apply for a room in College (if single) or receive a housing allowance.

In 2016, seven Junior Research Fellows were elected out of 350 applications. One of those was Dr Clare Walker Gore, who said the award enabled her to continue ‘doing what I love most’ – researching nineteenth-century fiction.

It is a tremendous privilege to be able to pursue my research in such beautiful surroundings, and in a place where so many great scholars have lived and worked.

Another 2016 JRF, Edgar Engel, who has studied in Frankfurt and Cambridge, said that the benefits of the award were many.

I have come to really appreciate and love Cambridge, Trinity and the atmosphere of openness, friendliness, and curiosity which presides here. There is a willingness to discuss highly relevant academic topics with the same energy as the odd everyday situation or an entirely hypothetical and abstruse concept, which makes Cambridge and Trinity quite unique.

The deadline for applications is midnight on Wednesday 31 August 2016. For more information about Junior Research Fellowships, how to apply and the selection process, please see:

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