Grants policies and positions

The Royal Society has put in place measures to ensure that researchers follow the Royal Society's policies and positions for each grant and fellowship scheme.

1. Royal Society Grant Funding Guidance (costing policy)

The Society has a standardised costing policy for Research Fellowship programmes. This policy provides a consistent framework for applications for University Research Fellowships, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships, Newton International Fellowships, and Royal Society Research Professorships. The standardised costings policy follows the principles that Royal Society grant funding should be attractive, researcher-led, flexible and involve minimal bureaucracy. Applicants to the abovementioned Fellowship programmes should follow the standardised costing policy for all applications in 2023 onwards. 

For further information please see the Royal Society Grant Funding Guidance (PDF)

For all other Royal Society programmes please see the appropriate scheme guidance documents.

2. Animals in research

The Society maintains that a high regard for animal welfare should be adhered to in all research. The Society's expectations are set out in the Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research and the Non-human primate accommodation, care and use documents produced by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

These guidelines set out the expectations for the use of animals in research and is therefore also useful to ethics committees, referees and Panel/Committee/Board members involved in reviewing research proposals.

For further information, see our policy on animals in research.

3. Childcare Travel Policy

The Society can provide financial support to Research Fellows for any additional childcare costs that arise when attending conferences, collaborative research visits or invited talks directly related to their fellowship or award. This policy is also applicable to meeting organisers, Chairs and invited speakers when attending a Royal Society organised meeting or event.

For further information, see our Childcare Travel Policy (PDF).

4. Dignity and Respect Policy

The Royal Society has no tolerance for bullying, harassment, or exploitation of any kind, in any context and believes organisations that host researchers and activities funded by the Royal Society have a duty of care to safeguard all those involved in research against inappropriate behaviours, enabling all staff to work without fear. 

The Royal Society is committed to protecting from harm all those who benefit from its work, including staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. This policy forms part of our Terms and Conditions of Award for research and should be considered in parallel with the Policy on Research Misconduct.

For further information, see our Dignity and respect policy (PDF).

5. Equality and diversity

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 as necessary promotional materials and processes to ensure that all applicants have an equal chance to succeed. 

Funding decisions are made solely on the basis of the quality of the proposed science. Host organisations are expected to provide good practice workplace structures to support equality, inclusion and diversity. 

All panel members are given a briefing on unconscious bias in decision making to aim to address potential biases which can arise when making judgements on funding decisions.

Under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

6. Flexible working and paid leave policy

The Society allows for part-time and flexible working arrangements depending on the award holder’s personal circumstances across a number of schemes including University Research Fellowships, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships, Industry Fellowships, Newton International Fellowships and Research Professorships. For details please refer to the relevant scheme notes. 

All directly employed staff on Royal Society funded grants are entitled to take full periods of paid leave in line with their host organisation’s policies. This includes periods of parental, maternity, paternity, adoptive, sick or other long-term leave. For further information, see our leave policy (PDF).

7. PhD supervision

If an award holder is supervising a PhD student during the course of their award from the Society, they and their host organisation are expected to adhere to the current good practice guidelines surrounding administration and supervision as outlined in the Quality Assurance Agency’s publication, UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

8. Research misconduct

The Society’s fundamental purpose is to recognise, promote and support excellence in science. This includes advocating for the excellent conduct of research, and for a culture of research that sustains and rewards this. The Royal Society’s Fellowship and all those that receive grants from the Royal Society are expected to observe the highest standards of ethics and integrity in undertaking their research. Ethics and integrity are not an “optional extra” or a “regulatory burden” but an integral part of good research. 

The Society considers it the responsibility of the Host Organisation to investigate and report all allegations of research misconduct and poor behaviour, and accepts that such investigations must be aligned to its internal human resources policies and disciplinary procedures. 

For further information, see our Research Misconduct Policy (PDF).

9. Research misuse

The Society expects all award holders to observe the highest standards of ethics and integrity in undertaking their research. Award holders have responsibilities with respect to research misuse as detailed under clause 3.16.1 (e) of the UK Research Integrity Office Code of Practice for Research (PDF).

The Society encourages all funded researchers to follow the advice of the Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure on Trusted Research when entering into collaborations or partnerships with non-UK organisations.

The Society is a supporter of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity (PDF).

10. Research publication 

The Society is committed to the widest possible dissemination of research outputs through the awards it supports.

All recipients of a Royal Society award are encouraged to publish peer-reviewed accepted articles and conference proceedings in open access journals. As a minimum, award holders are expected to follow green routes for open access by publishing in a journal which allows deposit of the accepted manuscript version in an institutional or subject repository with no embargo period on access.

The Society’s preference is for the version of record of peer-reviewed publications to be freely accessible and re-useable on publication to ensure the widest reach and maximum benefit to the scientific community. We encourage award holders to practise due diligence to minimise their risk of using predatory outlets and avoid predatory journals and conferences. General guidance for researchers can be found in the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) 2022 report “Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences”.

To support award holders to achieve this, from 2023, the Royal Society’s Grant Funding Guidance includes open access charges as an eligible cost. Applicants to schemes covered by the Grant Funding guidance can include reasonable article processing charges (APCs) for articles published in journals or platforms with immediate open access under CC-BY licence explicitly in their grant application. Applicants to schemes not covered by the Grant Funding guidance may also be able to use grant funding for APC costs. For these schemes, please check the relevant costings guidance or scheme notes.

Existing award holders from before 2023 for the following schemes are also able to charge reasonable costs relating to APCs within their original grant funding allocation: University Research Fellowships, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships, Research Professorships, Newton International Fellowships, and Flair Fellowships. There will be no additional funding provided to existing award holders towards open access costs.

11. Signatories

The Royal Society is a signatory of the following:

12. The Royal Society's remit

The Royal Society funds researchers at the postdoctoral level and above in the UK and overseas. Undergraduate, Masters and PhD students cannot apply for Royal Society funding.

Research must be within the Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. For a full list, see our guidance page.

Submissions from clinically qualified scientists may be considered. The Society does not support clinical or interventional research on humans at the individual or group level, social sciences or humanities, unless otherwise stated.

If there is any doubt about the eligibility of a project, contact the grants team.

13. Use of generative AI tools in funding applications and assessment

The Society has aligned with other UK funders around the use of generative AI tools in funding applications. The Research Funders Policy Group joint statement sets out our expectations around the use of generative AI tools in applications and assessment. For specific requirements on the use of generative AI tools in preparing funding applications please also refer to the guidance outlined in scheme notes.