Research grants

A scheme for scientists in the UK who are at an early stage in their career or returning from a career break and want to purchase specialised equipment and consumables.

Status: Closed Opening: 07 August 2024
Career Stage: Early career
  • Open date

  • Close date

  • Decision by

  • Open date

  • Close date

About the scheme 

This scheme provides ‘seed corn’ funding for up to 12 months for independent researchers. 

The objectives of the scheme are to:

  • Enable newly independent researchers to gather preliminary data, develop their research ideas and strengthen applications for further funding
  • Support researchers returning after a career break to enable them to develop new ideas and research questions
  • Increase the availability of equipment and consumables for researchers at the beginning of their career and those returning from career breaks

The Royal Society recognises that diversity is essential for delivering excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Society wants to encourage applications from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences to maximise innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity. We regularly review and revise policies and processes to embed equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles in all aspects of the grant making process and ensure all talented applicants have an equitable chance to succeed as per assessment criteria. 

See below for details of adjustments we can provide for disabled applicants. 

Changes to the scheme

This scheme provides ‘seed corn’ funding for up to 12 months for independent researchers. The amount offered through the rounds opening in January and August 2024 is the standard £20,000 to enable researchers to purchase consumables and essential pieces of equipment. Any changes to future rounds will be based on the availability of funding.

What does the scheme offer?

The scheme provides up to £20,000 of funding for up to 12 months.

Funds can cover:

  • equipment
  • consumables
  • travel costs and subsistence for essential field research

Full funding details can be found in the scheme notes.  

This scheme is for you if: 

  • You hold a PhD or equivalent qualification
  • You are within the first five consecutive years of an independent research post, at the time of application. This can be either your first permanent independent academic research post or a named limited-tenured/fixed-term academic research post, obtained in open competition (note that tenure must cover the duration of the award)
  • You are based at an eligible UK organisation and a UK resident at the time of application
  • You are a fully independent researcher with access to your own lab space and with the ability to recruit and be registered as the primary supervisor of PhD students and research assistants. 
  • Your research is within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research and biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. For a full list, please see the breakdown of subject groups and areas supported by the Royal Society. 

Read the scheme notes for further information on eligibility. Please ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements before applying. 

You will apply through our application and grant management system, Flexi-Grant®.  

See the ‘Application and assessment process’ page for a general overview of the application and selection steps and see below for details specific to this scheme. Full details of the application and review process are available in the scheme notes. 

Assessment of your application will be overseen by the Royal Society Research Grants panel. Following eligibility checks, applications are initially reviewed and assessed by a minimum of two panel members who have the most appropriate scientific expertise.  Following completion of the panel assessment, a shortlist is drawn up. Shortlisted applications are reviewed by the Panel Chair and the recommendations for funding are made. 

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, or for any other part of the application process, please contact the Grants team on or visit our contact us page. 

  • extension of the deadline
  • additional support to complete the application form

If you have further questions regarding the scheme, please contact the Grants team on or visit our contact us page