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Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award

This scheme is for outstanding scientists who would benefit from a five year salary enhancement to help recruit them to or retain them in the UK.

Micro-patterning of liver cells in agar with nylon filters. Credit: Professor Jon Cooper, Wolfson Research Merit Award holder and Niall Macdonald, PhD student from the University of Glasgow.

The scheme provides universities with additional support to enable them to recruit or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential to the UK. It provides a salary enhancement which is paid by the university in addition to the basic salary.

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?

Applicants can be of any nationality.

To be eligible to apply you must:

  • hold a permanent post at a university in the UK or have received a firm offer to take effect from the start of the award.
  • have your basic salary wholly funded by the university.

The eligibility of the application must be discussed between the Vice Chancellor of the university or their elected representative (e.g. Head of Department) and the Royal Society Grants Office before an application can be made.

Please contact us about this scheme, after which a security code can be obtained for the nominated researcher to begin the application on e-GAP.

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?

The scheme provides up to 5 years’ funding after which the award holder continues with the permanent post at the host university.

The focus of the award is a salary enhancement, usually in the range of £10,000 to £30,000 per annum.

It is the responsibility of the host university to pay the basic salary. It is also the responsibility of the host university to meet the employer’s contributions towards pensions and National Insurance for both the basic salary and salary enhancement.

Research expenses for overseas applicants to support integration into the UK will also be considered.

Claims for administrative or research staff salaries as part of research expenses will not be considered.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system (e-GAP).

Applications are initially reviewed by members of the Wolfson Research Merit Awards Panel with the most appropriate scientific expertise. The applications are reviewed by two independent referees suggested by the panel members. The selection panel then meets to consider each nomination taking into account the nominated and independent references. Finally, the recommendations are sent to the Wolfson Foundation for approval, after which the applicants are notified of the result.

Case studies

Professor Giles Davies

Professor Margaret MacLean