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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.

Research Grants

Changes to the round

This scheme provides ‘seed corn’ funding for up to 12 months for independent researchers. The amount offered through the rounds opening in January and August 2024 is the standard £20,000 to enable researchers to purchase consumables and essential pieces of equipment. Any changes to future rounds will be based on the availability of funding.

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.

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

The scheme provides up to £20,000 of funding for up to 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.

The Royal Society recognises that diversity is essential for delivering excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Society wants to encourage applications from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences to maximise innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity. We regularly review and revise processes to help ensure that all talented applicants have an equitable chance to succeed as per the assessment criteria. This includes ensuring all panel members are briefed on unconscious bias in decision making as part of our assessment process.

Support for applicants with disabilities

The Royal Society welcomes applications from scientists with disabilities and provides adjustments to ensure that they can participate fully in the selection process. If you need an adjustment when accessing the application form, or for any other part of the application process, please contact the Grants team on or visit our contact us page

  • extension of the deadline
  • additional support to complete the application form

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