August 26, 2020




  1. Each year, there will be one or two application deadlines. The next application deadline will be 5 p.m. on Friday 4th September. Interviews will be held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne or by video conference call on the afternoon of Tuesday 29th September.
  2. For this round we will be taking applications for (i) one-year postdoctoral research projects; and (ii) grants for shorter periods of up to one year of supported leave for established scholars or clergy on sabbatical leave, or for lay people with appropriate interests and experience. Consideration may also be given to other kinds of project that satisfy the Leech objects but do not fit directly under either of these categories.
  3. One-year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships are normally full-time, with remuneration equivalent to that of a university post-doctoral research position, plus an agreed contribution towards study, travel, engagement and dissemination expenses. Applicants should have suitable qualifications.
  4. Grants for periods of supported leave are designed to help cover accommodation, academic support and facilities, and study, travel, engagement and dissemination expenses. The total value of an award will be up to a maximum of £12,000. Support may be given either to those wishing to study and engage in the North East, or those already resident in the North East who wish to undertake relevant research elsewhere that will be disseminated on their return.
  5. In exceptional circumstances a Post-Doctoral Fellowship may be extended, up to a maximum total of two years.
  6. Recipients of grants are required to submit regular reports to the Management Committee, and to meet the Committee to discuss the progress of their work. They are also expected to produce a final report at the conclusion of their tenure.
  7. For those holding a full-time Fellowship, formal approval from the Committee is needed to undertake other paid employment or duties.
  8. Before submitting an application, applicants are strongly encouraged (and in the case of postdoctoral fellows, are required) to make contact with a host organization in the region which could provide an academic context for their work, research facilities and office accommodation. Organizations which have acted in this role in the past include Newcastle University; St Chad’s College, Durham; St John’s College, Durham; and the Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University. However applicants are welcome to make their own suggestions about prospective host organizations.
  9. Applicants are advised to ensure that they leave sufficient time between the interview date and the proposed starting date so that, if appointed, all the necessary discussions and arrangements can be formalized in time. We aim to inform successful candidates within three weeks of the interview date.
  10. For details about how we treat applicants’ data, please see our privacy notice.
  11. Potential applicants are warmly encouraged to contact the Chair of the Management Committee, Professor Robert Song ( for advice about applying to the Fund.

Applicants are asked to provide:

  1. A completed application form (find this here);
  2. curriculum vitae which should include details of (a) academic qualifications, (b) previous and current appointments, (c) research experience and publications, (d) the names of three referees, one of whom should have knowledge of the applicant’s commitment to engagement with the life of the Christian church;
  3. letter of support from a church leader or leader of a Christian organization in the North-East, indicating why this research is needed and how it is appropriately grounded in social, economic or pastoral issues identified by churches in the North East as relevant to their mission and ministry.

Applications should be submitted in Microsoft Word format to Any questions about the application process should be addressed to the Chair of the Management Committee, Professor Robert Song (





The Leech Research Fund provides grants for research on Christian social ethics and practical theology in the North East of England. Its charitable objects are, in the words of the Trust Deed, ‘the advancement of religion for the benefit of the public by the award of grants to support research and theological reflection on social, economic and pastoral issues of relevance to the mission and ministry of churches of the North East of England and to the communication of the Christian gospel in the contemporary context of the UK. The research will be undertaken in ways that involve engagement with the church community, and the useful findings of this research will be disseminated to the churches and the wider public.’

It has an income in the order of £40-50,000 per year, which is currently spent on projects in line with proposals submitted by applicants, with grants ranging from about £10,000 for periods of supported leave to about £50,000 for one-year (or two-year part-time) postdoctoral fellowships.

After a review conducted in 2019-20 by the Management Committee it was agreed that it would be good to explore whether there was any scope for a slightly different way for maximising the benefits from the funding made available by the Trust.

 A Centre for Theology and Community for the North East?

One possibility the Management Committee would like to explore is whether the Leech Research Fund could act as a partner towards a possible North-Eastern equivalent to the London-based Centre for Theology and Community.

The CTC ( arose out of Citizens UK, and aims to equip churches to transform their communities, through community organising and missional enterprise, rooted in theological reflection and prayer. It is involved in projects of congregational development, provides consultancy services, produces reports and other resources.

While the Leech Research Fund may of course only be involved in funding research projects which match its own charitable objects, we would like to investigate whether there might even in principle be other partners we could work with who are already working in the North East and with whom our resources could be used to leverage match funding. It might end up looking rather different than the CTC, but the whole might be more than the sum of the parts.

To take this forward we need to do a scoping exercise to see whether there is any appetite out there for possible partnerships, so as to develop our capacity for future grant-making: the present paper is a call for proposals for such a scoping exercise.

For applicants

Applicants are invited to submit applications detailing how you will go about carrying out the scoping exercise, indicating your suitability for the post, costs, timescale, etc. You may address this in any way you think appropriate, but a successful application is likely to include the following aims:

  • to research the CTC and other possible models, including their aims, organizational structure, funding sources, etc.;
  • to network within the North East and beyond, consulting sympathetic organizations or individuals who understand the region;
  • to research potential partners and/or donors;
  • to work with members of the Management Committee outside of formal meetings;
  • to consider, in the light of your findings, whether there is scope for any kind of future shared enterprise;
  • to show how your proposal is consistent with the objects of the Trust (as described in the first paragraph above);
  • to report back to the Management Committee within six months.

Applications should be costed at no more than £12,000, including all fees and expenses, and should be submitted in Microsoft Word format to by 5 p.m. on Friday 4th September. Interviews will be held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne or by video conference call on the afternoon of Tuesday 29th September.

Any questions about the application process should be addressed to the Chair of the Management Committee, Professor Robert Song (