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Grants

University Research Fellowship

This scheme is for outstanding scientists who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field.

Crystals of the phage tail fibre protein Hylp1. Credit: Dr Edward J Taylor, University Research Fellow from the University of Lincoln.

The scheme offers you the opportunity to:

  • build an independent research career
  • focus on your own research, with a limit on administrative and teaching duties
  • hold your fellowship on a part-time basis to suit personal circumstances

This scheme is highly flexible to accommodate for part-time working, sabbaticals and secondments. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave (PDF).

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.

Researchers addressing a direct biomedical research question should apply for a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship. Those applying from Ireland (ROI) are funded by Science Foundation Ireland and will need to read the eligibility requirements in the specific scheme notes.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • have between three to eight years of research experience since your PhD by the closing date of the round. Career breaks are taken into account, please refer to the scheme notes for further detail
  • do not hold a permanent post in a university or not for profit research organisation
  • do not hold, or have not previously held, an equivalent fellowship that provides an opportunity to establish an independent research group and therefore independent researcher status

For further information about how to apply, read the FAQs (PDF).

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements laid out in the scheme notes.

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

Funding is initially provided for five years with the opportunity to apply for an extension of an additional three years.

The scheme provides:

  • Research Fellows salary: 80% of the basic salary costs up to £40,681.46 in the first year, estates costs and indirect costs
  • Research expenses: 
    - Contribution to research expenses of £13,000 in year one and £11,000 per year thereafter
    - Additional research expenses of up to £40,000 in 2020/21 will also be awarded
  • Research assistance: 
    - Contribution to a postdoctoral research assistant and/or a four-year PhD studentship
    - Equipment costs
    - Support for public engagement activities
    - Funding for training and professional development for the Research Fellow and any staff or students supported by the grant

Read the scheme notes for full value of award information.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Society’s grant management system Flexi-Grant®.

Your application will go through the process detailed on the Making a grant application page overseen by the one of four research appointment panels based on your research area:

  • Ai: Astronomy, cosmology, physics, earth sciences, environmental physical sciences & geosciences 
  • Aii: Chemistry and engineering
  • Aiii: Pure and applied mathematics, computer science, statistics, communications and computer engineering; the mathematical aspects of astronomy, physics, cosmology, gravitation, theoretical physics
  • B: Molecular and cellular biology, zoology, plant sciences and physiology

Interviews will be held in late March to mid-April at the Royal Society - you are advised to keep this period free. You will be notified of the result of the application process in May.

We are committed to supporting applicants with disabilities. If you require a reasonable adjustment during the application process, please contact the team on urf@royalsociety.org.

Below, you can read case studies from our University Research Fellows. You can also read an in-depth report on the career pathways of our alumni on the Career Pathway Tracker page.

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

Meet our University Research Fellows

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