Career Pathway Tracker

Early career research fellowships such as the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship and the University Research Fellowship are at the heart of the Society’s grant funding. The Royal Society carries out a major survey every five years to help determine the longer-term impact of these fellowships on the career pathways and scientific achievements of their alumni.

This page currently contains the findings from the 2018 career pathway tracker. The new survey is being carried out in late 2023 and is reaching out to about 1,300 of our alumni. Findings from the new survey will be available in 2024.

“Our goal with the URF and DHF schemes has been to identify the most promising early career researchers and give them the freedom to pursue new and more innovative lines of research. This support, at a challenging career stage, has helped them build independent research careers.” Venki Ramakrishnan PRS

Two reports are available to download: a data report written by Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC), and a commentary written by the Royal Society.

The survey aimed to:

  • Determine the long-term impact and contributions of these two fellowships to the wide scientific landscape
  • Identify the career choices and pathways of alumni, and the factors influencing these choices across the natural sciences
  • Inform how we can improve the support we offer to Research Fellows
  • Help us understand current challenges and opportunities facing different groups of researchers
  • Help us continue to make the case for funding to support researchers at a pivotal early stage in their career.

This work would not have been possible without the contributions of our alumni. We had a high response rate of over 900 respondents (over 80% of contacts) and we would like to thank all of the alumni who have taken part in the survey. The findings are now available to download.

The Royal Society commissioned the Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) to conduct this piece of research. The survey was conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) who were working with CRAC on the project.

The Society has a programme of evaluation whereby schemes are typically evaluated every five years, leading to some changes to schemes over time. The Royal Society Career Pathway Tracker is intended to be part of a longitudinal study and will be the first of its kind. The Society aims to survey alumni approximately every five years to monitor the diverse career pathways of scientists and engineers across the natural sciences.