Skip to content

Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowship

The Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowships provide an opportunity for talented international research leaders to undertake a flexible 12 month period of sabbatical leave in a UK university or research institution, to foster international collaborative links and enriching scientific research in the host organisation as well as the wider UK science base.

Melting icebergs in front of snow capped mountains
Melting icebergs with snow capped mountains

The objectives of the Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowships are to:

  • enable UK universities and research institutions to attract outstanding international researchers in key strategic areas to the UK from overseas
  • enable the Visiting Fellow and the host UK organisation to develop ongoing collaborative research links, share ideas and practice

The fellowship can be held full time for one year or flexibly over two years.

The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.

The Wolfson Foundation

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.

To be eligible to apply you must be currently based overseas and have received a firm offer from a UK university or research institution to take effect from the start of the appointment.

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?

These awards can be held for up to 12 months full time (with a minimum stay of three months) or flexibly over two years.

Candidates can request up to £125,000. Funding can be used flexibly by the Visiting Fellow during the sabbatical and can cover:

  • Bursary for Visiting Fellows – up to £80,000 per annum full time, although this could be supplemented at the discretion of the host organisation
  • Research expensesIncluding consumables, travel, small pieces of equipment of up to £10,000, and other appropriate and justified costs (including for travel and subsistence).

If the candidate’s salary is already covered by their overseas host organisation, then the Visiting Fellowship funding should not be used to supplement existing salary as any overheads associated with the Visiting Fellowship should be covered by the UK host organisation as part of its commitment to the appointment.

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 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 Departmental Head from the proposed UK host institution will need to contact the Royal Society Grants Office by email (, 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 (see scheme notes for dates).

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 contact details below). 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 or or visit our contact us page.

See the announcement of the 2023 awardees.

Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.