Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowship

The Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowships provide an opportunity for talented international research leaders to undertake a flexible 12-month period of sabbatical leave in a UK university or research institution, to foster international collaborative links and enriching scientific research in the host organisation as well as the wider UK science base.

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

The Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships enable UK Universities and not-for-profit Research Institutions to attract and recruit internationally leading researchers (and their teams) to their organisation. The objectives of the Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowships are to:

  • enable UK universities and research institutions to attract outstanding international researchers in key strategic areas to the UK from overseas
  • enable the Visiting Fellow and the host UK organisation to develop ongoing collaborative research links, share ideas and practice

The Wolfson Foundation

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?

These awards can be held for up to 12 months full time (with a minimum stay of three months) or flexibly over two years. Candidates can request up to £125,000.

Funds can cover:

  • Bursary for Visiting Fellows – up to £80,000 per annum full time, although this could be supplemented at the discretion of the host organisation
  • 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).
  • Relocation and visa costs for Royal Society Wolfson Visiting 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

If the candidate’s salary is already covered by their overseas host organisation, then the Visiting Fellowship funding should not be used to supplement existing salary, as any overheads associated with the Visiting Fellowship should be covered by the UK host organisation as part of its commitment to the appointment.

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

Full funding details can be found in the scheme notes. 

This scheme is for you if: 

  • You are an established scientific research leader or a talented international researcher at the peak of your career with proven track record for high quality, independent scientific research and experience of working collaboratively
  • You are currently based overseas and have received a firm offer from a UK university or research institution to take effect from the start of the appointment. 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 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 Head of Department (or their nominated representative) 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 Head of Department (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 at the Selection Panel meeting.

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 assessment 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 contact details below). 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 contact the Grants team on seniorfellowships@royalsociety.org or visit our contact us page