Visiting Fellowship focused on the study of ancient writing systems

CREWS Project, University of Cambridge

Deadline for applications: 5pm BST, 31st March 2022


Applications are invited for a Visiting Fellowship with the ERC-funded Project Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems (CREWS, grant no. 677758), which is based in the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge. This CREWS Visiting Fellowship may be held for up to ten weeks 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. The Fellowship does not carry a stipend or honorarium, but funding is provided to reimburse travel and accommodation expenses.
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 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); Egyptian hieroglyphs. 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, and to conduct research in collaboration with the CREWS team, making use of the available resources at the host institution (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 periods or geographical areas) 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:

  • meetings of the Project team
  • one-on-one meetings with the PI to discuss research, give feedback, etc
  • attendance of seminars

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 fee will be covered). 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.

This fourth (and final) round of the CREWS Project’s Visiting Fellowship scheme has a small budget, and we intend to make one or two appointments depending on likely costs.


Because we are now in the final stages of the CREWS Project, there is a very limited period during which the Fellowship can take place: the visit needs to be completed by 15th July 2022. 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).

In view of the very short timescale, we aim to make decisions within approximately two weeks following the deadline of 31st March, so that arrangements for the successful applicants’ visits can be made.


Candidates should usually, at the time of applying, hold a doctorate and be engaged in research in a relevant field (not necessarily salaried). 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).

Reimbursement of costs

The CREWS Visiting Fellowship does not carry with it a stipend or honorarium. Travel to Cambridge at the beginning of the Fellowship, and from Cambridge at the end of the Fellowship, will be reimbursed in full. The Visiting Fellow should seek their own accommodation and inform the CREWS Project Administrator of the rates for the selected accommodation, enabling us to calculate whether it is possible to reimburse these costs in full or in part. The fee associated with Visiting Scholar status at the Faculty of Classics will be covered in full.

How to apply

The deadline for the CREWS Visiting Fellowship scheme second round (for applications and references) is 5pm BST, 31st March 2022.

By the above deadline, the applicant 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 their proposed stay in Cambridge.
  • A Curriculum Vitae.

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: