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Royal Society Research Professorship

The Royal Society Research Professorships are the Society's premier research awards, which provide long term support to world-class researchers of outstanding achievement and promise:

  • who are currently prevented from achieving full research capability by competing duties (i.e. already based in the UK)

  • who wish to relocate to the UK to undertake their research.

The freedom provided by the Research Professorship will enable the best leading researchers to focus on ambitious and original research of the highest quality, in a UK academic institution.

Royal Society Research Professorship
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.



Changes to the scheme - 2024

As part of the Society's wider changes to our costing policy (PDF), applicants are now permitted to apply for up to a maximum award value of £1.4 million over five years.

Funding can cover:

  • A contribution to the award holder's basic salary of up to £90,000 per annum.
  • 80% of the award holder's indirect and estate costs.
  • Equipment costs and research expenses including consumables, travel etc. These costs will be paid at 100%.
  • 80% contribution towards research assistance salary and associated indirect and estate costs.
  • Support for a new four-year PhD studentship(s).
  • Relocation and visa costs for the applicant and their dependents (partner and children). The total grant cap may be exceeded in order to cover relocation/visa costs if this is well justified in the application.

Further detail on these changes is available in the scheme notes and in our Grant Funding Guidance (PDF).

What is the scheme’s value and tenure? 

Research Professors are appointed for up to ten years: five years in the first instance with the opportunity to renew the professorship for a further five years subject to satisfactory progress.

Am I eligible to apply?

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

Research must be within the Society's remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. For a full list, see our guidance page.

The scheme is open to applicants of all nationalities; applications are particularly welcomed from internationally renowned researchers currently residing outside of the UK. Royal Society Research Professors requiring a visa to work in the UK are eligible for the Global Talent visa under the fast-track process of endorsement. Other visa categories are available. In line with the highly prestigious nature of the award, the Global Talent visa is designed for people who are recognised as leaders and potential leaders in their field. Further details can be found on the Society's visa information page.

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

There will be up to two awards available.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s grant management system (FlexiGrant®). Applications are processed through a two-stage selection process.

  • The first stage will involve the submission of the applicant's CV and a lay summary of their proposed research. These applications will be assessed by the Royal Society Research Professorships Panel.
  • Applicants selected to proceed to the second stage will be invited to submit a full application.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview, scheduled for November 2023.

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, attending interviews, or for any other part of the application process, please contact the Grants team on or +44 20 7451 2666. Adjustments can include, but are not limited to:

  • extension of the deadline.
  • additional support to complete the application form.
  • technical support during interviews for candidates with hearing or visual impairments.
  • support during interviews for neurodiverse candidates and those with mental health conditions.
  • Additional costs to support those candidates requiring a chaperone during interviews.

If you have any enquiries about the submission of your application or about the Flexi-Grant® process, please contact the Grants Section Senior Fellowships team on or visit our contact us page.


Meet our Research Professors

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