Deadline: September 6, 2022

The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. This scheme is for outstanding scientists who are in the early stages of their research careers and have the potential to become leaders in their fields. These long-term fellowships provide the opportunity and freedom to build an independent research career in the UK or the Republic of Ireland and pursue cutting-edge scientific research. Until this point, the University Research Fellowship (URF) has been a five-year fellowship, with the option to apply for a three-year extension. From the current round onwards, applicants will have the opportunity to submit a research proposal and costs for an eight-year fellowship. Costs for years six to eight will be subject to satisfactory progress and completion of a mid-fellowship checkpoint review at the start of year four. In addition to the change regarding the duration of the fellowships, the award value has also been updated with respect to previous rounds. From now on researchers can apply for up to £90,000 in research expenses per annum to support the research program proposed in their application.

These changes have been introduced to increase the stability of funding available to URFs, support them to develop their research group and give them the opportunity to focus on their research aims with a reduced administrative workload.


The scheme offers you:

  • The opportunity to build an independent research career
  • Freedom, time and long term flexible support to pursue high-quality and innovative lines of scientific research
  • Support to develop as a research leader by offering tailored, high-quality professional development, networking and engagement opportunities
  • Flexibility to accommodate personal circumstances such as caring responsibilities or health related needs.
  • This scheme is highly flexible to accommodate for part-time working, sabbaticals and secondments. There is also provision for maternity, paternity, adoptive or extended sick leave (PDF).
  • Research Fellow’s salary: 80% of the basic salary costs up to £41,675 in the first year, estates costs and indirect costs
  • Contribution to research expenses of £90,000 per annum.


You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • have between three to eight years of research experience since your PhD by the closing date of the round. Career breaks are taken into account; please refer to the scheme notes for further detail
  • do not hold a permanent post (including proleptic or rolling contract of employment) in a university or not for profit research organization
  • do not hold, or have not previously held, an equivalent fellowship that provides an opportunity to establish an independent research group and therefore independent researcher status
  • Research must be 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.


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