University Research Fellowship

This scheme is for outstanding scientists in the UK who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field.

University Research Fellowship Protein crystals of a pro-phage encoded polysaccharide lyase by Dr Edward Taylor, University Research Fellow.

The scheme provides the opportunity to build an independent research career. Those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships.
The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine and any researcher addressing a direct biomedical research question.

Eligibility requirements
The applicant must:

  • have a PhD (note we will not consider applicants who have just submitted their PhD)
  • be in the early stages of their research career and must have between 3 to 8 years of research experience since their PhD by the closing date of the round
  • not hold a permanent post in a university or not-for-profit organization in the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • be a citizen of the EEA or a be a Swiss citizen (or have a relevant connection to the EEA or Switzerland)

The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the European Union (including the UK) plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

Applicants should ensure that they meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

Value and tenure
The scheme provides funding for 80% of the basic salary costs up to £38,759.20 in the first year, estates costs and indirect costs. Under the full economic costing model, 80% of these costs will be met by the Royal Society. Research expenses (up to £13,000 for the first year and up to £11,000 annually thereafter) will also be provided.

Initially funding is provided for five years with the opportunity to apply for an extension of three additional years. The University Research Fellowship provides researchers with maximum flexibility and can be held part-time, and allows sabbaticals, secondments or international experience.

The basic salary requested should be at a level commensurate with the applicant’s skills, responsibilities, expertise and experience, up to a maximum of £38,759.20 per annum

An annual spine point increase of 3% may be applied to the salary.

No indexation should be applied to the salary, indirect and estates costs; the Society will apply an annual inflationary increase to these budget headings of successful awards. The level of inflation applied will be determined by HM Treasury’s GDP deflator. This will be reviewed on an annual basis and the value of awards amended in line with increases or decreases in the GDP deflator.

Application process
Applications are initially reviewed and then shortlisted by members of University Research Fellowship Selection Panels. Applicants are notified if they have reached the shortlisting stage by December.

The shortlisted proposals are reviewed by three independent referees suggested by the panel members and successful applicants are shortlisted for interview. Applicants are informed of the result of this stage in February/March and interviews take place in early to mid April.

The final decision is made at a meeting of the panel Chairs in April, and applicants are notified of the result in early May.

Please note that interviews for the fellowships are held at the Royal Society. Applicants are asked to keep April free. Only applicants that pass the other stages of assessment will be invited.

Applying for this scheme

The current round is now closed to applications.

Approximately 35 Fellowships will be available each year. The success rate from the 2013 round was 12%

Case studies

Read about researchers who have been awarded a University Research Fellowship:

See all the case studies.

Early career schemes

University Research Fellowship
For outstanding scientists in the UK at an early to mid-stage of their research career who have the potential to become leaders in their field.

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship
For outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.

Sir Henry Dale Fellowship
For outstanding post-doctoral scientists wishing to build their own UK-based, independent research career addressing an important biomedical question.

Newton International Fellowship
For non-UK scientists who are at an early stage of their research career and wish to conduct research in the UK.

We also provide the Education Research Fellowship for early-career academics in the UK researching physics and mathematics education and the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for early-career scientists in the UK who want to conduct research in Japan.

See all the grant schemes.

Contact us

If you have a question about this scheme, please first read the scheme notes which contain more information. If the answer is still not available, you can contact the grants team here.