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About our grants

We provide grants to support high quality UK science and foster collaboration between UK-based and overseas scientists.

About 1,500 researchers are currently funded by the Royal Society, including approximately 700 Research Fellows. Our funding sources include a grant from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as well as donations from individuals and organisations. 

Postdoctoral research across the sciences

The Society’s grants are for postdoctoral researchers at UK universities and not-for-profit research organisations. We do not provide funding to undergraduate, Masters or PhD students.

We welcome applications from all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine (patient-oriented research and clinical trials). Applications for research in psychology may be made as long as they are based on the rigorous methods of experimental psychology and include appropriate statistical analysis of data.

Application and assessment

The application and assessment process varies between the schemes but may include a shortlisting process, peer review and interview. Funding decisions are made by the relevant appointment panel, which is usually chaired by a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Read more about making a grant application.

Equality and diversity

The Society is committed to increasing diversity in STEM and will do everything it can to promote and encourage diversity amongst its grant schemes. This includes looking at ways to attract a higher percentage of applications from underrepresented groups and regularly reviewing and revising as necessary promotional materials and processes to ensure that all applicants have an equal chance to succeed. Funding decisions are made solely on the basis of the quality of the proposed science but host institutions are expected to provide workplace structures which support equality and diversity (PDF).

Under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Flexible working and leave

Part-time working arrangements are possible under University Research Fellowships, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships, Sir Henry Dale FellowshipIndustry Fellowships and Royal Society Research Professorships.

Grant-holders are entitled to take the full period of maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave as provided by their employing institution (other care-related leave is also considered). For more information, see our policy on leave

Moving institutions

Candidates are not required to move institutions for the proposed Fellowship, however those wishing to remain at their current organisation should clearly explain their planned route to independence and reasons for staying.

Animals in research

The Royal Society believes that all research should be carried out with a high regard for animal welfare. At present the use of animals remains the only way for some areas of research to progress. The Society believes that where this research offers considerable benefits, it should go ahead under rigorous review to ensure it is absolutely necessary and there are no alternatives. At the same time steps must be taken to replace the use of animals, reduce the numbers used and refine procedures so the degree of suffering for animals is kept to the absolute minimum (the 3Rs). Applicants should read our policy on animals in research.

Support for grant holders

The Royal Society is a signatory of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research. We run a range of training schemes to support our Research Fellows.