Funding Opportunities

This is a list of some of the funding opportunities available for Early Career Researchers. Basic information about each grant is available below. 

For more detailed information, click on the name of the award which links through the relevant page on the funder’s website.

 

Early Career Specific Funding Routes

  • AHRC Leadership Fellows Early Career Route

    Scope: Arts and Humanities

    Deadline: Open Call

    Duration of Award: 6-18 months

    Funding:

    • £50,000-£250,000
    • Cost of mentoring (one hour per month)

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants must be actively engaged in postdoctoral research and be of postdoctoral standing
    • University will need to confirm it has identified the applicant as a research leader or potential research leader

    Applicants must have at least two years of post-doctoral experience in an academic/research environment and a track record of research publications and/or other research outputs as appropriate.

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  • AHRC Research Grant Early Career Route

    Scope: Arts and Humanities

    Deadline: Open Call

    Duration of Award: up to a limit of 60 months

    Funding:

    • £50,000-£250,000
    • Cost of mentoring (one hour per month)

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants must be within 8 years of the award of PhD or within 6 years of first academic appointment

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  • BBSRC Future Leader Fellowships

    Scope: Biological Science

    Deadline: Applications in response to time-limited call

    Duration of Award: 3 years

    Funding:

    • Up to £375,000
    • Cost of mentoring (one hour per month)

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants should have a PhD or be expecting to have undergone successful PhD viva prior to the start of the project
    • Applicants should not exceed five years in active postdoctoral research employment prior to announcement of the awarded FLFs.

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  • British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Scope: Humanities and Social Sciences

    Deadline: Two stage call – usually October and March deadlines

    Duration of Award: 3 years

    Funding:

    • No fixed amount (varies depending on host institution)
    • Covers full-time Post-Doctoral Fellow salary; small-scale research expenses (maximum £6000); costs towards mentor time (one hour per month) and host institution’s estates and indirect costs

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants must be supported by the UK host institution in which they wish to hold the Fellowship
    • Applicants must be within three years of the award of a doctorate

    Applicants must be a UK or EEA national, or have completed a doctorate at a UK university.

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  • ERC Starting Grants

    Scope: Any field of research

    Deadline: Grants can only be submitted in response to a yearly Call for Proposals

    Duration of Award: Up to 5 years

    Funding: Up to €1.5 million

    Eligibility:

    • Researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD
    • Applicants must have a scientific track record showing great promise and an excellent research proposal.

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  • ESPRC New Investigator Award

    Scope: Engineering and Physical Sciences

    Deadline: Open Call - assessment panels meet in March, July and November

    Duration of Award: No cap on duration

    Funding: No cap on funding

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants should not have previous experience of leading an academic research group or grant
    • Applicants with fixed-term appointments are eligible providing their contract extends beyond the end date of the proposed research

    Applicants in a staff post on a research grant are not eligible unless they hold an academic fellowship. 

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  • ESPRC Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Scope: Engineering and Physical Sciences

    Deadline: Open call but projects have to link to current thematic priority areas.

    Duration of Award: Up to 3 years

    Funding:

    • 100% salary costs
    • Other non-staff costs associated with the research
    • No staff costs covered

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants are expected to hold a PhD by the start date of the fellowship or have equivalent research experience
    • There are no eligibility rules based on years of post-doctoral experience or whether the applicant holds a permanent academic position
    • Applicants have to meet the Fellowship person specification

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  • ESPRC Early Career Fellowship

    Scope: Engineering and Physical Sciences

    Deadline:Open call but projects have to link to current thematic priority areas.

    Duration of Award: Up to 5 years

    Funding:

    • 100% salary costs
    • Other staff and non-staff costs associated with the research

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants are expected to hold a PhD by the start date of the fellowship or have equivalent research experience
    • There are no eligibility rules based on years of post-doctoral experience or whether the applicant holds a permanent academic position

    Applicants have to meet the Fellowship person specification

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  • ESRC New Investigator Grant

    Scope: Social Sciences

    Deadline: Open Call - assessment panels meet in March, July and November

    Duration of Award: up to 5 years

    Funding:

    • £100,000-£300,000
    • Cost of mentoring has to be met by the applicant’s institution

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants should have a maximum of four years’ academic research experience following the submission of their PhD
    • Applicants cannot be current or former PIs on ESRC or other Research Council grants

    The call is open to applicants with or without a permanent academic post.

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  • Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship

    Scope: All disciplines except medicine

    Deadline: Usually 1st March of each year. Lancaster University runs an internal competition for prospective applicants.

    Duration of Award: 3 years

    Funding:

    • The Trust will contribute 50% of each Fellow's total salary costs up to a maximum of £25,000 per annum and the balance is to be paid by the host institution
    • Each fellow may request annual research expenses of up to £6,000

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants must not yet have held a full-time permanent academic post in a UK university.
    • Candidates must hold a doctorate
    • Applicants must either hold a degree from a UK HEI or must hold an academic position in the UK for which the contract duration at the time of appointment was no less than 9 months.

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  • MRC Career Development Award

    Scope: Medical Research

    Deadline: The competition is held twice a year and application deadlines can be found on the website

    Duration of Award: Up to 5 years

    Funding:

    • Full personal salary costs, support for research staff, consumables expenses, travel costs and capital equipment

    Eligibility:

    • There are no eligibility rules based on years of post-doctoral experience
    •  To be considered suitable for the scheme, applicants should be able to clearly demonstrate that their skills and experience at the time of their application match those of the transition to an independent career stage

    Applicants are normally expected to hold a PhD.

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  • MRC New Investigator Research Grants

    Scope: Medical Research

    Deadline: Research board application deadlines are usually around January, May and September. 

    Duration of Award: 3 years

    Funding:

    • MRC salary contribution commensurate with the time attributed to the NIRG, capped at a maximum of 50% of the applicant’s total contracted working time
    • Salary for hours directly attributable to the project of and Co-Is
    • Support for additional research or technical posts
    • Consumables and equipment
    • Travel costs
    • Data preservation, data sharing and dissemination costs

    Eligibility:

    • There are no eligibility rules based on years of post-doctoral experience
    • The minimum formal qualification required is a graduate degree e.g. PhD or MD
    •  Applicants should be able to clearly demonstrate that their skills and experience at the time of their application match those of the transition to independence career stage
    • Applicants can hold a lecturer appointment, a junior fellowship, or be in another research staff position. 

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  • NERC Independent Research Fellowships

    Scope: Environmental Science

    Deadline: Call with deadline - 2017 call opened in June and closed in October

    Duration of Award: 5 years

    Funding: No funding limit but applications generally request £500,000 total funding

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants must hold a PhD or have their PhD awarded before the start of the project
    • Applicants for NERC IRFs must have a maximum of eight years of full-time postdoctoral experience

    Applicants should not have a permanent academic position. 

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  • NERC Standard Research Grant, New Investigator Route

    *Please note that NERC has introduced demand management measures on this funding strand which are administered at an institutional level.

    Scope: Environmental Science

    Deadline: Annual closing dates in late January and July

    Duration of Award: Up to 5 years

    Funding: £65,000-£800,000

    Eligibility:

    • Eligibility is restricted to those Investigators at the outset of their independent scientific career
    • Applicants must be within five years of first becoming eligible for NERC funding as a Principal Investigator and must not have received competitive research funding from any source

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  • NERC Standard Research Grant, New Investigator Route

    *Please note that NERC has introduced demand management measures on this funding strand which are administered at an institutional level.

    Scope: Environmental Science

    Deadline: Annual closing dates in late January and July

    Duration of Award: Up to 5 years

    Funding: £65,000-£800,000

    Eligibility:

    • The Principal Investigator on the proposal must be resident in the UK and be employed by an eligible UK Research Organisation at lecturer (or equivalent) level or above. 

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  • STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship

    Scope: Astronomy, physics, technology and research infrastructure

    Deadline: Annual call with specified deadline

    Duration of Award: 5 years

    Funding: Provides funds to cover salary, personal travel and minor equipment costs

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants must have a PhD and a minimum of five years’ research experience including a minimum of two years’ postdoctoral experience. 

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  • Wellcome Trust Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Sciences

    Scope: Health-related humanities and social sciences

    Deadline: Applications twice a year with preliminary application deadlines in early January and July

    Duration of Award: Up to 3 years

    Funding: Salary costs and research expenses

    Eligibility:

    • Applicants should have been awarded a PhD before they apply

    Applicants should be a postdoctoral researcher who wants to carry out an extended period of research on their own project

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Standard Grant Funding Routes for Early Career Researchers

  • British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant

    Scope: Primary research in the humanities and social sciences

    Deadline: One call per year usually in early September

    Duration of Award: Up to 24 months

    Funding:

    • Costs of expenses arising from a defined research project (salary payments, computer kit or teaching replacement costs are not funded)

    Eligibility:

    • Awards are open to postdoctoral scholars (or equivalent)

    Applications require the approval of the applicant's employing institution

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  • Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant

    Scope: All disciplines except medicine

    Deadline: Open call

    Duration of Award: Up to 5 years

    Funding:

    • Maximum grant value of £500,000

    Eligibility:

    • Eligible applicants will already be employed by the eligible institution
    • Applications can be submitted by those holding contract research posts provided that their appointment continues for a period at least equal to the span of the requested award

    Up to three co-applicants from the same or different institutions may also be included.

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