UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships Open for Seventh Round

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.

Applicants must demonstrate how the FLF award will support and enable their long-term career goals and clearly demonstrate that their skills and experience at the time of application match those expected. The support of the institution will be a critical component of all fellowships, which will enable the fellow to transition to or establish their research/innovation independence in any area supported by UKRI.

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.

A total of £100 million has been allocated to the seventh round. The resources requested should reflect the needs of the research/innovation project proposed. The FLF scheme has funded fellowships from £300,000 to over £2 million, and there is no preference for lower or higher cost proposals. Applicants must include justification for costs over £1.5 million total UKRI contribution.

Mandatory outline proposals should be submitted by the 18 October 2022 deadline.

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