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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. These long term fellowships provide the opportunity and freedom to build an independent research career in the UK or Republic of Ireland and pursue cutting-edge scientific research.

The scheme offers you:

  • the opportunity to build an independent research career
  • freedom, time and long term flexible support to pursue high-quality and innovative lines of scientific research
  • support to develop as a research leader by offering tailored, high-quality professional development, networking and engagement opportunities
  • flexibility to accommodate personal circumstances such as caring responsibilities or health related needs

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.

Applications in the biomedical science remit are not eligible for the University Research Fellowship. 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 duration?

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 £41,000 in the first year, estates costs and indirect costs
  • Contribution to research expenses of £13,000 in year one and £11,000 per year thereafter

Read the scheme notes for full value of award information.

University Research Fellows have the opportunity to access a range of training programmes covering topics including leadership, science communication and public engagement. Furthermore, opportunities arise throughout the year for University Research Fellows meet with other award holders and participate in activities coordinated by the science policy, public engagement, schools outreach and industry engagement teams at the Society. For further details relating to the additional benefits of holding a Royal Society Research Fellowship, read our summary page.

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 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.

The Society is committed to increasing diversity in STEM and will do everything it can to promote and encourage diversity. This includes looking at ways to attract a higher percentage of applications from underrepresented groups and regularly reviewing and revising processes to ensure that all applications have an equal chance to succeed. For example, all panel members are briefed on unconscious bias in decision making as part of the 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 hte application process, please contact the Grants team on urf@royalsociety.org 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 problems.
  

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

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.

Meet our University Research Fellows

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