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Royal Society Research Professorship

These are the Society’s premier research awards and the aim of this scheme is to release the best leading researchers from teaching and administration allowing them to focus on research.

Saturn at its equinox. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. Professor Michele Dougherty was Principal Investigator for the magnetometer instruments for two major outer planetary space missions.


Am I eligible to apply? 

This scheme is open to world-class researchers (scientists and engineers) of outstanding achievement.

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. 

Applications are particularly welcomed from internationally renowned researchers currently residing outside of the UK. The Scheme is open to applicants of all nationalities. Royal Society Research Professors requiring a visa to work in the UK are eligible for the Research and Innovation Talent Visa, i.e. the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, under the accelerated process of endorsement. Other visa routes are available.

In line with the highly prestigious nature of the award, the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route is designed for people who are internationally recognised as research and innovation leaders and enables the holder to be both adaptable and flexible during their research in the UK. Further details can be found on the Research and Innovation Talent Visa web page.

Under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

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? 

  • Contribution to the award-holder’s salary costs (including on-costs) of £82,664 (basic salary) per year, which can be supplemented at the discretion of the host organisation
  • Award holders will receive research expenses of up to £100,000 per year, confirmed until the end of March 2021 (and £16,000 per year for the remainder of the award)

The Society will fund research expenses at 100% of the Full Economic Cost, excluding staff costs (i.e. PDRA which will be provided at 80% FEC). Further details are available in the scheme notes.

Research Professors are appointed for up to 10 years: five years in the first instance with the opportunity to renew the professorship for a further five years subject to satisfactory progress. After 10 years, all responsibility for the post, financial and otherwise, will pass to the host organisation alone.  A representative of the host organisation will be asked to agree in principle to make this commitment when an application is submitted to the Society. 

There will be 5 awards available including 4 Royal Society Research Professorships supported through the “Research Talent Fund” as well as 1 Royal Society Noreen Murray Research Professorship restricted to neurological sciences.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s grant management system FlexiGrant®.

Your application will go through the process detailed on the Making a grant application page overseen by the Research Appointment Panels.

We are committed to supporting applicants with disabilities. If you require a reasonable adjustment during the application process, please contact the team to let us know.

The assessment criteria for this scheme is based on:

  • the outstanding research track record of the applicant and international standing in their field
  • the high quality and originality of the proposed research vision and programme and how it will advance their field
  • the suitability of the research environment (UK university or research institution)

All proposals submitted are initially reviewed and assessed by at least two members of the selection panel who have the most appropriate scientific expertise. Following initial assessment, a shortlist is drawn up, with shortlisted proposals subject to high quality peer review. Following completion of independent peer review a final shortlist for interview is drawn up with oversight by the Chair.

Please be assured that the Royal Society specifically requests anyone involved in reviewing applications to consider them in confidence.

For more information regarding the scheme, please contact the Grants team on or call us on +44 20 7451 2666.

Meet our Research Professors

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