Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship

The five-year Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships enable UK universities and not-for-profit research institutions to attract and recruit talented internationally-leading researchers to their organisation.

Status: Open Deadline: 07 August 2024
Career Stage: Senior career
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About the scheme

The objectives of the Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships are to:

  • enable UK universities and research institutions to strategically recruit and attract outstanding research leaders to the UK from overseas by offering long-term support and flexible funding to conduct high-quality research
  • strengthen research and help build a critical mass of excellence in the UK’s best university departments and research institutions in fields considered to be strategically important by the institution

The Wolfson Foundation

The Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships programme also includes a Visiting Fellowship strand.

There are normally three rounds per year.

The scheme is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society. 

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. 

What does the scheme offer?

This scheme provides up to five years of funding. Up to £300,000 can be requested. 

Funds can cover:

  • Salary Enhancement – The institution may include a salary enhancement for the researcher. This will be limited to a maximum of 20% of the total salary
  • Research expenses – Including consumables, travel, small pieces of equipment of up to £10,000, and other appropriate and justified costs (including visa costs and fieldwork)
  • Research assistance
  • PhD studentship(s)
  • Relocation and visa costs for Royal Society Wolfson Fellows and their dependents (partner and children). The total grant cap may be exceeded to cover relocation/visa costs if this is well justified in the application

Full funding details can be found in the scheme notes.

We provide flexibility to accommodate personal circumstances including part-time working for health reasons or caring responsibilities. There is provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave, as well as financial support for childcare costs that arise from attending conferences and research visits. 

Royal Society Research Fellows also have the opportunity to access a range of career development and engagement opportunities including training on leadership, science communication and public engagement, and activities coordinated by our science policy and schools engagement teams. For further detail on these additional benefits, read our opportunities page

This scheme is for you if: 

  • You are a mid- or senior career researcher, with a proven track record for high-quality scientific research, which may include, as appropriate: a strong publication record, being invited to conferences as keynote speaker and evidence of scientific leadership and/or supervising or mentoring junior researchers
  • You are currently based overseas and have received a firm offer of employment from the UK host organisation. Nominations will not be accepted for researchers wishing to move between UK institutions
  • 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.

Applicants can be of any nationality and those requiring a visa are eligible to apply for a Global Talent Visa under the fast-track process of endorsement.

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

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.

Researchers must be nominated by a representative of the host institution before they are able to apply for the Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship: 

  • The Vice-Chancellor, or their representative (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research) or Institute Director will need to contact the Royal Society Grants Office by email on seniorfellowships@royalsociety.org and will be sent a link to a nomination form
  • After the completed nomination form has been considered by the Royal Society, the Vice Chancellor, or their representative (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research) or Institute Director (nominator) will be sent a link to invite the nominated researcher (applicant) to complete and submit a full application on Flexi-Grant. 
  • Applications received by the application deadline will be considered by the Selection Panel.

Assessment of your application will be overseen by the Wolfson Fellowships panel.

Following eligibility checks, applications are initially reviewed and assessed by two panel members who have the most appropriate scientific expertise. A longlist is drawn up, with longlisted applications subject to independent review. Following completion of independent peer review, a shortlist is finalised with oversight of the Panel Chair. Shortlisted applications are then discussed at a Panel meeting where recommendations for funding are made. 

Further detail on the application and review process is available in the scheme notes.

The Royal Society welcomes applications from disabled scientists 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 the application process, please contact the Grants team (see below for contact details). Adjustments can include, but are not limited to:

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

If you have further questions regarding the scheme, please see the FAQs, contact the Grants team on seniorfellowships@royalsociety.org or visit our contact us page