Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award

This scheme is for outstanding scientists who would benefit from a five year salary enhancement to help recruit them to or retain them in the UK. 

Sir Isaac Wolfson FRS (1897-1991) Sir Isaac Wolfson FRS (1897-1991) was a businessman who distributed most of his fortune to good causes.

The scheme provides universities with additional support to enable them to recruit or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential to the UK. It provides a salary enhancement which is paid by the university in addition to the basic salary.

The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.

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

Eligibility requirements

Applicants can be of any nationality.

The applicant must:

  • hold a permanent post at a university in the UK or have received a firm offer to take effect from the start of the award.
  • have their basic salary wholly funded by the university.

The eligibility of the application must be discussed between the Vice Chancellor of the university or their elected representative (e.g. Head of Department) and the Royal Society Grants Office before an application can be made. Please contact us about this scheme, after which a security code can be obtained for the nominated researcher to begin the application on e-GAP.

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

Value and tenure

The scheme provides up to 5 years’ funding after which the award holder continues with the permanent post at the host university.

The focus of the award is a salary enhancement, usually in the range of £10,000 to £30,000 per annum.

It is the responsibility of the host university to pay the basic salary. It is also the responsibility of the host university to meet the employer’s contributions towards pensions and National Insurance for both the basic salary and salary enhancement.

Research expenses for overseas applicants to support integration into the UK will also be considered.

Claims for administrative or research staff salaries as part of research expenses will not be considered.

Application process

Applications are initially reviewed by members of the Wolfson Research Merit Awards Panel with the most appropriate scientific expertise. The applications are reviewed by two independent referees suggested by the panel members. The selection panel then meets to consider each nomination taking into account the nominated and independent references. Finally, the recommendations are sent to the Wolfson Foundation for approval, after which the applicants are notified of the result.

Applying for this scheme

This scheme is currently closed to applications.

The Vice Chancellor of the university or their nominated representative (e.g. Head of Department) must discuss eligibility with our Grants Office before an application is made.

Senior career schemes

Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award
For outstanding scientists who would benefit from a five year salary enhancement to help recruit them to or retain them in the UK.

Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship
For scientists who would benefit from a period of full-time research without teaching and administrative duties for a period of up to one year.

Royal Society Research Professorship
For world-class scientists who would benefit from long-term support to allow them to focus on research and collaboration based at an institution in the UK.

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.