The objectives of the Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships are to:
enable UK universities and research institutions to strategically recruit and attract outstanding research leaders to the UK from overseas by offering long-term support and flexible funding to conduct high-quality research
strengthen research and help build a critical mass of excellence in the UK’s best university departments and research institutions in fields considered to be strategically important by the institution
The Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships programme also now includes a new Visiting Fellowship strand.
The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.
The scheme is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society.
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.
Applicants can be of any nationality and those requiring a visa are eligible to apply for a Global Talent Visa under the fast-track process of endorsement.
This scheme supports the recruitment of a researcher from overseas to hold the grant in a UK institution who will contribute to the scientific strategy of the host institution. Therefore, the scheme is open to all nationalities. Award holders are expected to hold (the equivalent of) a full-time post at a UK institution.
Nominations will not be accepted for researchers wishing to move between UK institutions.
The Royal Society recognises that equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion 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.
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?
This scheme provides up to five years of funding.
Up to £300,000 can be requested. Funding can be used flexibly by the research fellow and as part of their start-up package to support their research programme and team.
Funding can cover:
- Salary Enhancement – The institution may include a salary enhancement for the researcher. This will be limited to a maximum of 20% of the total salary. The Host Organisation will be responsible for meeting the full costs of the award holder’s basic salary, including the employer’s national insurance and superannuation contributions for the salary enhancement payment. The Society expects the Host Organisation to continue employing the award holder at a level equivalent to that provided with the support of the Society’s funding during the award period.
- Research expenses (100%) – Flexible research expenses including consumables, travel, small pieces of equipment of up to £10k, access costs and undergraduate students.
- Research assistance – 80% of the full economic cost of a postdoctoral researcher/PDRA (salary costs and associated indirect and directly allocated costs, including estate costs) and can include contribution to technical support if appropriately justified.
- Four-year PhD studentship – The cost of PhD studentship may only be included if the host organisation will commit to underwriting the remaining cost of the studentship and appropriate alternative supervision for the student in the event that the RS Wolfson Fellow leaves the institution.
- Other – The funding is intended to be flexible, so other appropriate and justified research costs are also eligible.
The Society can provide financial support to research fellows for any additional care costs that arise when attending conferences, collaborative research visits or invited talks directly related to their fellowship. These requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
What is the application process?
Your application will go through the process detailed on the Making a grant application page overseen by the Wolfson Fellowship Panel.
The Vice Chancellor, Institute Director (or their nominated representative) will need to contact the Royal Society Grants Office by email (email@example.com), after which a weblink to a nomination form on the Royal Society’s Grants and Awards management system (Flexi-Grant®) will be provided. After the completed nomination form has been considered by the Royal Society, the nominated researcher (applicant) will be sent a link inviting them to complete and submit a full application in that current round on Flexi-Grant®.
There are normally three rounds per year.
Applications received by the application deadline will be considered at the Selection Panel meeting and the outcome is likely to be announced by the end of December 2023.
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 (see below for contact details). Adjustments can include, but are not limited to:
- extension of the deadline
- additional support to complete the application form
For more information regarding the scheme, please contact the Grants team on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact us page.
See the announcement of 2023 awardees.