MRC removes PhD eligibility criteria for fellowships and launches career framework

Until now, the period within which someone could apply for an MRC fellowship has been different for different fellowships. The restrictions will be removed on 18 March, coincident with the launch of the career framework.

The MRC Interactive Career Framework was constructed following broad consultation with medical research groups and a review of medical research careers comprising interviews with nearly 400 non-clinical medical researchers, the MRC said. 

The interviews were conducted with MRC award winners, and focused on the ten to 20 years following their receipt of funding. One finding of the review was that 44 per cent of interviewees finished their PhD “with either no idea or only a general idea of what they wanted to do next”, the MRC said. In addition, 60 per cent said they had not received enough careers advice. 

The removal of the restriction on when researchers can apply for a fellowship was an outcome of the review. “Many of those who contributed to the review spoke of the lack of flexibility in making research career choices resulting from the fact that researchers have only a certain number of years after their PhD in which to apply for fellowships, after which point they’re ineligible,” the MRC said. 

The MRC is seeking feedback on the framework, which it says will be developed further with additional career routes, case studies and tools.