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Research Grants

A scheme for scientists in the UK who are at an early stage in their career or returning from a career break and want to purchase specialised equipment and consumables.

The scheme provides ‘seed corn’ funding for new projects of timeliness and promise. The objective of the scheme is to increase the availability of specialised equipment and essential consumable materials, and to support essential field research.

Am I eligible to apply?

Your research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. For a full list, please see the breakdown of subject groups and areas supported by the Royal Society. This scheme does not cover clinical medicine (such as patient orientated research and clinical trials), social sciences or humanities.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • hold a PhD or equivalent qualification;
  • are based at an eligible UK organisation and a UK resident at the time of application;
  • are within the first five consecutive years of an independent research post, at the time of application. This can be either your first permanent independent academic research post or a named limited-tenured/fixed-term academic research post, obtained in open competition (note that tenure must cover the duration of the award);
  • are a fully independent researcher with access to your own lab space and with the ability to recruit and be registered as the primary supervisor of PhD students and research assistants (Career Development or Tenure Track Fellowship holders will be considered only if these requirements are met).

Additionally, applications may be considered from independent researchers (i.e. principal investigators) who have recently returned to academia (within the last six months at time of application), following a career break from research. The Society recognises there are diverse research career paths, as well as the challenges of managing a research career alongside other personal commitments. When reviewing applicants' eligibility and research experience, the Society will consider time spent outside the research environment.

The Society actively seeks applications from underrepresented groups to increase the diversity of our grant holders, with a focus on improved gender balance; greater representation from ethnic minority groups; and wider UK institutional reach.

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

The scheme provides up to £20,000 of funding for 12 months, covering:

  • Equipment
  • Consumables
  • Travel expenses and subsistence for essential field research

You can find more details about eligible costs in the scheme notes.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system Flexi-Grant®.

Your application will go through the process detailed on the Making a Grant Application page, overseen by the Royal Society Research Grants panel.

Applications are initially reviewed by two members of the panel and are then shortlisted. The shortlisted applications are then reviewed by the Panel Chair at which point the final decision is made.

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