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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?

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. The Royal Society does not cover clinical medicine (such as patient orientated research and clinical trials), social sciences or humanities, other than when working in partnership with organisations.

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, at the time of application, of 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.

Applicants must play a major part and take a leading role in the project and not make its fulfilment more than marginally dependent on the services of postgraduate/doctoral students.

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.

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

The scheme provides a grant of up to £20,000 (incl. VAT) for the purchase of specialised equipment directly related to the proposal, essential consumable materials, and travel and subsistence for essential field research. The grant is for a period of 12 months.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system (Flexi-Grant). Applications are initially reviewed by two members of the Royal Society Research Grants panel and then shortlisted. The shortlisted applications are reviewed by the Panel Chair and the final decision is made.

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