What a Fellowship can offer
Fellowship Schemes are generally designed to develop scientific leadership among the most promising scientists, by giving fellows x years’ support. Early career fellowships enable sufficient time for the fellow to develop their research plans and to gain international recognition. Many funders offer fellowship networking and training activities, working with host institutions, to support the development of future leaders in the funders remit. Established career fellows need a strong vision for the research proposed and the team delivering it. Most funders will provide greater support as the expectation is that ‘world-leading’ individuals will deliver high quality research. All fellowships are there to develop the next generation of researchers.
Dependent on the stage of career, most fellows will gain greater leadership and communication skills; act as ambassador and advocate for their research field; develop a research team around them, which should lead to greater research income; and build a reputation that will attract other top academics to join BU.
Applying for a Fellowship
The majority of fellowships awarded by external funders will provide the fellow with funding to concentrate on research, which can mean significantly reducing the fellows teaching load from 50% up to 100% of their time. Therefore, it is vital that any potential applicants discuss their plans with their Head of Department, Deputy Dean for Research and Professional Practice or Dean of Faculty before starting the application process. Applicants will need to provide their Faculty with details on how an awarded fellowship will affect their current workload, if any time will be spent away from the university, and whether any additional staff will need to be employed as part of the fellowship, including replacement teaching for the applicant.
Any applications that are given the initial go ahead by the Faculty will still need to go through the normal submission process at BU. Therefore, applicants will need to discuss with their RKEO Funding Development Officer their intention to bid for a fellowship as soon as they have agreement to apply from the Faculty.
If you wish to discuss with RKEO your research plans and/or the benefits of a fellowship then please contact your RKEO Research Facilitator in the first instance.
Types of Fellowship
There are many fellowship opportunities available for all stages of an academic career. Examples of the most popular are shown below:
EPSRC – Postdoctoral Fellowships: EPSRC expect that fellows have gained their PhD by the start date of the fellowship but consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a non-standard career path after their primary degree. Applicants can apply for up to three years for Postdoctoral stage award. Funding of up to 100% of salary, included is travel and subsistence, visiting researchers, small equipment items, consumables, access to facilities, and public communication training.
Medical Research Council – Clinical Research Training Fellowships: Clinicians in specialty training who want to embark on a dual academic-clinical career by undertaking a PhD. A post-doctoral arm of the scheme is available for clinicians who undertook a PhD early in training (usually 5 years ago or more) and who have not been research active since. Pre-doctoral fellowships: The CRTF provides a competitive personal salary up to but not including NHS consultant level, and funding of up to £20,000 per year. This may cover consumables, equipment, conference travel, PhD and other course fees. Post-doctoral fellowships: At the post-doctoral level, the fellowship provides a competitive personal salary, up to but not including NHS consultant level, research expenses, and travel costs at an appropriate level for the research, under full economic costs (FEC).
NIHR – Post Doctoral Fellowships: NIHR offer 3 years full time funding (or 4 or 5 years part-time) to individuals who are able to demonstrate their potential as researchers but do not, as yet, have sufficient experience to be fully independent. Applicants must show evidence of a clear commitment to a research career and success in the form of outputs from doctoral and post-doctoral research, where applicable. Applicants will not have more than 3 years WTE post-doctoral research experience at the time of applying.
NIHR – Clinical Lectureships: this scheme represents the early post-doctoral element of the ICA Programme. Applicants require support from both an English NHS / healthcare organisation and an English higher education institution, and should propose to divide their time equally between their clinical and academic commitments. A Clinical Lectureship should enable the award holder to make a significant contribution to clinical practice whilst supporting their development as a potential clinical academic leader. Posts are co-funded by the employing organisations, which will provide at least 50% of the Clinical Lecturer’s salary. The remaining portion of salary costs, a contribution towards research costs and a contribution towards training/development costs will be met by the award.
Early Career Fellowships
AHRC – Early Career Fellowships: The scheme is designed to build the capabilities of the research leaders of the future and equip individuals who have outstanding potential to develop the range of qualities they require to lead research agendas in the 21st century. The scheme provides opportunities for early career researchers who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Funding Guide. The scheme provides funding for a period of between 6 and 18 months. Proposals with a full economic cost of between £50,000 and £250,000 may be submitted.
EPSRC – Early Career Fellowships: Applicants can apply for up to 5 years of support for Early Career awards. Applicants can apply for up to five years for Early Career stage award. Funding of up to 100% of salary, included is travel and subsistence, staff, visiting researchers, equipment, consumables, access to facilities, and public communication training.
Leverhulme Trust – Early Career Fellowships: Offering fifty per cent match-funding for the salary costs of three-year academic research position, the scheme enables early career researchers to undertake a significant piece of publishable work. Applicants must have a track record of research, but should not have held an established academic appointment in the UK. Early Career Fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research. The expectation is that Fellows should undertake a significant piece of publishable work during their tenure, and that the Fellowships should lead to a more permanent academic position.
Medical Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council – Skills Development Fellowships: Applicants should normally hold a PhD (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline or expect to do so by the time they take up the award. All proposals must include development of new expertise and skills relevant to the priority areas highlighted on the scheme page. The fellowship provides three years’ support. The fellowship provides full personal salary costs, with support for consumables, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project.
Medical Research Council – Transition to Independence – Career Development Award: Applicants are normally expected to hold a PhD and should be seeking to transition to independence. The CDA provides up to five years’ support. The CDA provides full personal salary costs, together with support for research staff, consumables expenses, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project.
Medical Research Council – Transition to Independence – Clinician Scientist Fellowship: Clinicians who have gained a PhD/DPhil/MD who are looking to transition to independence. The CSF provides four years’ support. The CSF provides full personal salary costs, together with support for research staff, consumables expenses, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project.
NERC – Independent Research Fellowships: NERC IRFs are early career fellowships and provide support for five years, giving successful fellows time to develop their research, start to build a research group and become internationally recognised. Up to two years can be spent at a collaborative institution in the UK or overseas. There are no funding limits, but the fellowship applicant can be the only named researcher on the proposal and no equipment (costing more than £10,000 including VAT) can be requested.
NIHR – Career Development Fellowships: NIHR offer 3 years full-time funding (or 4 or 5 years part-time) to individuals who have significant and successful post-doctoral experience. Applicants should be able to provide evidence of a clear commitment to a research career, success in the form of outputs from doctoral and post-doctoral research and the likelihood that during a Fellowship they would become fully independent researchers. Applicants will not have more than 7 years WTE post-doctoral research experience at the time of applying. Applicants who have had a career break may be able to apply with up to 8 years WTE post-doctoral research experience.
Royal Society – University Research Fellowships: 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. It covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine. Initially funding is provided for five years with the opportunity to apply for an extension of three additional years. The scheme provides: 80% of the basic salary costs up to £39,389.64 in the first year, estates costs and indirect costs; Research expenses (up to £13,000 for the first year and up to £11,000 annually thereafter).
Wellcome Trust – Research Fellowships: This scheme supports humanities and social science scholars at all stages of their career but not in an established academic post, who wish to undertake a period of research in any area of human and animal health. Strong preference is given to applicants with a good prospect of achieving an academic career in the field. The maximum duration is three years full-time equivalent. The awards are full-time but may be awarded on a part-time basis if a case can be made that personal circumstances require this. Fellowships provide research expenses and a salary, plus appropriate employer’s contributions.
Established Career Fellowships
AHRC – Leadership Fellowships: The AHRC’s Leadership Fellows scheme provides time for research leaders, or potential future research leaders, to undertake focused individual research alongside collaborative activities which have the potential to generate a transformative impact on their subject area and beyond. The scheme provides opportunities for mid and senior career researchers who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Funding Guide. The Leadership Fellows scheme provides funding for a period of between 6 and 18 months. Proposals with a full economic cost of between £50,000 and £250,000 may be submitted.
EPSRC – Established Career Fellowships: Applicants can apply for up to 5 years of support for Established Career awards. Funding of up to 100% of salary, included is travel and subsistence, staff, visiting researchers, equipment, consumables, access to facilities, and public communication training.
Leverhulme Trust – Research Fellowships: Offering up to £50,000 over three to twenty-four months for experienced researchers to conduct a programme of research in any discipline. Research Fellowships are open to experienced researchers, particularly those who are or have been prevented by routine duties from completing a programme of original research.
Leverhulme Trust – Major Research Fellowships: Providing replacement teaching costs over two or three years, to allow academics in the humanities and social sciences to focus on a specific piece of original research. These awards enable well-established and distinguished researchers in the humanities and social sciences to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance, capable of completion within two or three years. Candidates should state explicitly what the proposed outcomes of the award will be. Fellowships are particularly aimed at those who are or have been prevented by routine duties from completing a programme of original research.
Medical Research Council – Transition to Leadership – Senior Clinical Fellowship: Clinicians who have gained a PhD/DPhil/MD who are looking to become research leaders. The SCF provides five years’ support. The SCF provides full personal salary costs, together with support for research staff, consumables expenses, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project.
Medical Research Council – Transition to Leadership – Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship: Applicants will hold a PhD/DPhil and be proven independent researchers with a track record of excellence in their scientific field. The SNCF provides up to seven years’ support. The SNCF provides full personal salary costs, together with support for research staff, consumables expenses, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project.
NIHR – Senior Research Fellowships: offer 5 years funding to undertake a programme of research and is aimed at outstanding individuals who are currently independent researchers and can demonstrate the potential to become academic and research leaders within the duration of an award. An NIHR SRF is expected to enhance existing career opportunities for both the award holder and others in health related research and support the development of collaborative partnerships within and between HEIs and the NHS in response to identified health needs.
NIHR – Senior Clinical Lectureships: this scheme represents the most senior level of the HEE/NIHR ICA career pathway. SCL awards are intended to support outstanding individuals who are currently independent researchers and can demonstrate the potential to become academic and research leaders within 5 years. Applicants require support from both an English NHS / healthcare organisation and an English higher education institution, and should propose to divide their time equally between their clinical and academic commitments. An SCL is expected to enhance existing career opportunities for both the award holder and others in health related research, and to support the development of collaborative partnerships within and between HEIs and the NHS. Applicants must have been awarded a research doctorate (PhD) and have at least 5 years’ experience of clinical practice at the time of application. Prospective applicants with fewer than 5 years’ WTE post-doctoral research experience are recommended to consider applying for a HEE/NIHR ICA Clinical Lectureship. Posts are co-funded by the employing organisations, which will provide at least 50% of the Senior Clinical Lecturer’s salary. The remaining portion of salary costs, a contribution towards research costs and a contribution towards training/development costs will be met by the award.
Other types of Fellowship
EC – Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions fellowships: Individual Fellowships fund researchers looking to enhance their career development and prospects by working abroad. There are two types: European Fellowships open to researchers either coming to Europe or moving within Europe; and Global Fellowships which fund secondments outside Europe for researchers based in the EU or associated countries. European Fellowships last from one to two years, Global Fellowships from two to three years. The grant provides an allowance to cover living, travel and family costs. The grant is awarded to the host organisation, usually a university, research centre or a company in Europe. The research costs and overheads of the host organisation(s) are also supported.
Leverhulme Trust – Emeritus Fellowships: Providing research expenses of up to £22,000 over up to two years to enable senior researchers who have retired from an academic post to complete a research project and prepare the results for publication.
Daphne Jackson Fellowships: This Fellowship is a unique fellowship designed to return STEM professionals to their careers after a break. Fellows normally carry out their research part-time over 2 years, in a university or research establishment in the UK. The Fellowships are flexible and include a tailored training programme designed to update skills and knowledge and support you in your return to research. Whilst the Trust provides the infrastructure and dedicated staff to recruit and retrain Fellows and administers the awards, financial support for salaries, bench fees, consumables and other costs is provided by external sponsors such as the host university, a research council, charity or relevant learned society.
NIHR – Transitional Research Fellowships: NIHR offer 18 months – 24 months funding (at 100%, 75% or 60%) to support researchers to make a transition from basic or experimental science research to an area of applied health or clinical research which is within NIHR remit. Applicants may also use a TRF to re-establish their career in applied health or clinical research, after a significant career break. Any proposed research component of the TRF application must be within NIHR remit. The NIHR TRF should allow successful applicants to develop the skills needed to be successful in future applications for both NIHR Fellowship Programmes and wider NIHR funding opportunities. A NIHR TRF is a personal award designed to buy out an individual’s salary costs and to fund an appropriate training and development programme, which may or may not include a research project component. Applicants will not have more than 5 years WTE post-doctoral research experience at the time of applying. You can hear from NIHR Transitional Research Fellow Matthew Hyde on his own experiences.
NIHR – Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowships: aimed at non-medical healthcare professionals requiring statutory registration, sited in England who have at least 1 years’ experience of clinical practice since graduating, have had sufficient research experience or research training to prepare them to undertake a PhD, and who wish to obtain a PhD by research whilst still developing their clinical skills. The CDRF is an individual training award and offers funding to cover the salary costs of the award holder, their PhD tuition fees, and the costs of an appropriate research project and training and development programme. A CDRF award will require that the individual has a contract of employment with the Host Employer for the duration of the Fellowship.
Health Education England – Wessex – internship and post-doctoral opportunities are available. Specifically:
- HEE/NIHR Clinical Academic Training Programme Internships (up to £10k on a full- or part-time basis within a six month period) – application process coming soon
- HEE Wessex Transitional Internships (up to £10k on a full- or part-time basis within a six month period) – application process coming soon
- HEE Wessex Post-doctoral Awards (up to £25K on a full- or part-time basis within the maximum funding envelope of £25k) – application process coming soon
- HEE Wessex Team Research Awards (up to £15k) – Closing date for applications: 12noon Monday 23 May 2016; Interviews: (Southern House, Otterbourne): Monday 13 June 2015
All call deadlines for specific fellowship opportunities will be in the links provided above. In addition, please view the Standard Calls for Major Funder’s research blog page for the latest deadlines for the majority of the above calls.
Do have a look at the Research Lifecycle on the blog to see how RKEO can support you with your research plans. You can also see what training and development opportunities are available to support you when applying for funding – visit the RKE Development Framework to find out more.