The Visiting Fellowship Scheme of the ERC-funded Project Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems (CREWS, grant no. 677758) is open to applicants with external sources of funding. The present page gives information relevant to applicants who have, or who are able to apply for, an external source of funding (e.g. from a national or international funding body, or from their own institution).

The CREWS Visiting Fellowship, based in the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge, may be held for up to three months and is intended to allow the holder to conduct a key piece of research on a theme in line with the Project’s main areas of research focus. There is no deadline for applications (although see further How to apply below), and applications will be considered on the same basis as those for our funded Visiting Fellowship rounds.

The CREWS Project conducts innovative interdisciplinary research into writing systems used in the ancient eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on elucidating the relationship between writing and its socio-cultural context and the borrowing and adaptation of scripts as writing passed from one society to another. The PI, Dr Philippa Steele, heads a four-person research team working on a number of case studies. Our current principal areas of focus are: the syllabic scripts of the ancient Aegean (Cretan Hieroglyphic, Linear A, Linear B and related scripts in Cyprus); the cuneiform alphabet of Ugarit and other scripts at this site; the NW Semitic linear consonantal alphabets and their descendants (e.g. Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician, Punic); the early Mediterranean alphabets developed from a Semitic model (especially Greek but including also the Italic and Phrygian scripts). Our research comprises epigraphic, linguistic, archaeological and historical approaches, with each team member specialising in one or more of these disciplines.


The Fellowship

The CREWS Visiting Fellowship is intended as an opportunity for an outstanding researcher at any stage of career (see Eligibility below) to develop their research profile. During their stay they will be integrated into the CREWS Project team and will benefit from access to the resources of the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge.

The Visiting Fellow will be expected to present a programme of planned research during their time with the CREWS Project, as well as a plan for dissemination of the research undertaken (dissemination activities may extend beyond the period of the Fellow’s stay in Cambridge). Although this research does not have to be on one of the writing systems (nor situated within the exact chronological period or geographical area) studied directly by the CREWS research team, the applicant should be able to make a persuasive case for the relevance of the writing system(s) studied and/or the disciplinary approach(es) taken.

It will be mandatory that any research supported in part or in full by the Visiting Fellowship be published in compliance with the Horizon 2020 Open Access policy and with due acknowledgement to the CREWS Project and the European Research Council. Advice will be given as to the best routes to Open Access publication and the proper means of acknowledging CREWS/ERC support.

Participation in a range of CREWS project activities will be encouraged during the Visiting Fellow’s stay, including:

  • research meetings of the Project team
  • one-on-one meetings with the PI to discuss research, give feedback, etc
  • attendance of seminars (both ones organised by CREWS and relevant seminars in the Faculty of Classics and other University departments) and potentially participation in Project conferences
  • planning/strategy meetings of the Project team
  • outreach and public engagement events

There may also be potential for short- or long-term collaboration with one or more of the CREWS research team.

The Visiting Fellow will normally be expected to give at least one seminar on their ongoing research during their stay. They will also be invited (and encouraged) to write for the Project blog, both during and after their stay.

The Visiting Fellowship carries with it the status of Visiting Scholar at the Faculty of Classics (for which the applicant must cover the fee). This brings with it the benefits of access to the Faculty of Classics library (with borrowing rights), wireless internet access and out-of-hours access to the Faculty building. The Faculty of Classics is not, however, able to offer office space for the Visiting Fellow.

The Fellowship can be held for a minimum of four weeks and a maximum of three months. Applicants should make clear when they would like to stay and for how long in their statement of proposed research (see How to apply below).



Candidates should, at the time of applying, hold a doctorate and be engaged in research in a relevant field (not necessarily salaried). In exceptional circumstances, a doctoral student may be considered provided that their studies are already suitably advanced and a persuasive case is made (in which case the Fellowship would carry with it the status of Visiting Graduate Student, not Visiting Scholar, at the Faculty of Classics).



This strand of the CREWS Visiting Fellowship Scheme is open to those who have, or are able to apply for, an external source of funding. We have no requirements as to the funding source provided that the applicant can cover the costs of their travel, accommodation and fee for Visiting Scholar status at the Faculty of Classics

The fee for Visiting Scholars is currently £600 per term, while for Visiting Graduate Students the fee is £500 per term: see HERE.

If your funding body or institution requires any information from CREWS and/or the Faculty of Classics (e.g. a letter of support), it is your responsibility to ensure that you have sent us your application materials early enough for us to consider your application in good time before such a document would be due. We would advise you to allow six months if possible before your funding body or institution’s deadline.


How to apply

CREWS does not operate any deadline for externally funded applications for the Visiting Fellowship Scheme. Applications will be considered by the same panel that considers funded applications, using the same criteria (see the information on materials to send us below). The decision-making process will typically take 3 months, but in some periods may be longer; we therefore advise you to apply at least six months before the beginning of the proposed stay.

In addition, it is your responsibility to ensure that any requirements of your funding body or home institution are met. If your application for funds from a national or international funding body or your home institution requires input from CREWS or the Faculty of Classics (e.g. a letter of support), then we will have to reach a decision before you make the submission. In order to ensure that this is possible, we advise you to send us your application at least six months before your funding body or institution’s deadline.


Applicants for the CREWS Visiting Fellowship should send the following materials:

  • A statement of proposed research (maximum 750 words). This statement should set out the planned research along with a realistic programme for its completion. It should also comment on the relevance of the proposed research to the applicant’s ongoing research profile, and should make clear the length of time (with suggested dates) of the proposed stay in Cambridge.
  • A Curriculum Vitae.
  • An outline of funder’s requirements, if any.

Also by the above deadline, the applicant should ask two referees to write to us in support of their application.


All materials should be sent to the following e-mail address:


Further information

Any queries (whether academic or procedural) may be directed to the main e-mail address:

The CREWS Project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 677758).

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Useful links

CREWS project website (see the ‘About Us’ section for information on the Project team and their research):

CREWS Project pages on the Faculty of Classics website:

Visiting Scholars page on the Faculty of Classics website:

Horizon 2020 Open Access Policy:

University of Cambridge Accommodation Service:


We are aware that the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s status will regrettably have ramifications for travel in the coming months and years. However, we would encourage you to apply as normal, and we will be very happy to discuss details of travel arrangements and requirements with successful applicants in due course.