Eighth Round of UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships to Open Soon

Fellowship scheme for early career researchers and innovators looking to establish or transition to independence, or to develop their own ambitious plans within a commercial setting.

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) scheme seeks to develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK. It supports early career researchers and innovators in UK universities, businesses and other institutions to enable them to:

  • Establish or transition to independence.
  • Develop their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting.

Applications can be submitted in any area of research or innovation covered by UKRI. There are no ringfenced budgets for specific areas and no barriers to interdisciplinary or cross-sector research. Successful applicants will have the intellectual and financial freedom to develop and change direction over this period.

The Fellowships support applicants from diverse career paths, including those returning from a career break or following time in other roles. Applications are also encouraged from those wishing to work part-time in order to combine the fellowship with personal responsibilities.

The support offered is long term and flexible and provides a comprehensive package of support, including the fellow’s salary and justified research, staff and training costs, with seven years of support available, with a review in year four. For business applicants, those in the user community or other applicants, four years’ support may be sufficient and there is no need to apply for a further three years of funding if this is not required.

The fellowship may be made up of a single programme of work, or multiple consecutive or concurrent interlinked projects, led by the fellow. In all cases, the work must allow the fellow to fully develop their leadership potential and result in high quality research or innovation, or both.

Applicants are expected to hold a doctorate by the start date of the Fellowship or to be able to demonstrate equivalent research experience and/or training. There are no eligibility rules based on years since PhD or whether the applicant currently holds a permanent/open-ended academic position or job role.

Fellowships can be held at any UK-based organisation currently registered as eligible to apply to the research councils (eg higher education institutes, research council institutes and eligible independent research organisations) or eligible to receive funding from Innovate UK, including businesses. Applicants must have significant backing from their host organisation to apply.

There is no limit to the amount of funding that can be requested under this scheme, but requests must be appropriate to the project and should justifiably be required to meet the objectives of the proposal.

The FLF scheme has funded fellowships from £300,000 to over £2 million, and there is no preference for lower or higher cost proposals.

Applications should be submitted between 27 March 2023 and 4 July 2023.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)