UKRI Talent Panel College (TPC)

Closing date
8 February 2023 4:00pm UK time
Time commitment
Up to 4 days of meetings (2 days per sift panel, 2 days per interview panel) per funding round, if your expertise is required
£160 per day plus any travel and subsistence incurred for panel attendance
Outcomes communicated date
Mid-February 2023

We are looking for business panel members who are industry-leading experts in their fields to join the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Talent Panel College.
Panel assessment of applications is a cornerstone of UKRI peer review. As we are seeking to fund more researchers and innovators based in business, we are also looking to grow our pool of members from the industrial sectors to support our panel assessment process.

Our business panel members are often leaders in their sectors, having developed new innovations, processes or research projects, and are often based in organisations within the UK’s innovation ecosystem.

Who we're looking for

We are now recruiting members to the UKRI Talent Panel College (TPC) from the industrial sectors (non-academic) to support our panel assessment of applications. Prospective members may include senior individuals from innovative companies and organisations within the UK’s innovation ecosystem (for example, Catapult centres).

TPC exists to support the application sift (shortlisting) and interview of applications into UKRI Talent opportunities, through the formation of bespoke assessment panels.

TPC membership reflects the breadth of disciplines, sectors and subjects across UKRI. Members take on a fundamental role in the peer review (assessment) panel process. They ensure that the highest quality research and innovation proposals receive funding in accordance with robust and transparent decision-making processes.

Previously, membership has been invite-only. However, for this round we are welcoming applications from individuals who wish to nominate themselves for involvement in future UKRI Talent schemes.

Applications can be made via SurveyMonkey (see the ‘How to apply’ section below), which must be submitted by the deadline of 8 February 2023 4:00pm UK time.

We are looking for business panel members who are industry-leading experts in their fields. Our business panel members are often business leaders in their sectors, having developed new innovations, processes or research projects. Members should have demonstrable experience in supporting the career development of colleagues. For example, mentoring early and mid-career researchers and innovators, and contributing to business processes or bodies that support early career researchers and innovators.

We welcome applications from international applicants, but please note that any international TPC members would be required to attend virtual panel meetings at UK times.

Business panel members may have had previous experience of the peer review system through written reviews, participation in assessment panels or both. They may have had experience through advisory groups for UKRI or other funders.

Many of our panel members also have experience with collaboration within and across sectors, nationally and internationally.

Person specification

We are looking for applicants who:

  • are committed to career development of early career researchers and innovators, and participate in career development activities of your colleagues
  • have deep knowledge and understanding of the research and innovation landscape in the UK and internationally (both broadly and in your own area of expertise)
  • can contribute creatively, constructively, and strategically
  • have knowledge or experience of policy or strategy development
  • understand the interface between academia, industry and other relevant sectors, as well as awareness of end user and developer perspectives
  • have demonstrable track record of leadership in your field of expertise

UKRI is committed to the principles of fair and transparent decision-making and promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion. We welcome applications from everyone and particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented, including women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

We welcome applications to join the TPC from business and innovation individuals in all sectors, and particularly encourage those from our underrepresented areas of expertise:

  • architecture
  • artificial intelligence and image processing
  • banking, finance and investment
  • bioinformatics
  • biomedical imaging
  • cardiorespiratory medicine and haematology
  • civil engineering
  • electrical and electronic engineering
  • infectious disease
  • medical microbiology
  • musculoskeletal
  • nanotechnology
  • oncology and carcinogenesis
  • psychology

What you'll be doing

Panel member role

We will require you to participate in up to 4 days of panel meetings per funding round, should your expertise be required for both sift and interview panels.

The role of panel members at both sift and interview is to assess a number of proposals and act as introducing members. Each proposal has 3 introducing members, thus your assessments will be given along with the views of others, and the panel chair will guide the panel to reaching a consensus score.

Typically, at sift you may be asked to assess about 12 proposals, and at interview, 3 to 5.

We expect you to:

  • be able to commit the necessary time and attention to your appointment
  • have the full support or the necessary permission of your employer

The time commitment for a single round will be up to 4 days of meetings (2 days per sift panel, 2 days per interview panel). You will also attend pre-panel briefings (usually 1 hour, delivered on Zoom) and review allocated applications, peer review reports and principal investigator responses in line with the Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) assessment criteria in preparation for sift and interview meetings.

Other points:

  • you will receive a remuneration fee of £160 per day, plus any travel and subsistence incurred for panel attendance
  • the longest our virtual meetings are timetabled for each day is about 9:00am to 5:00pm, with several breaks
  • not all panel college members will be invited to all meetings. Expertise areas and balance of equality, diversity and inclusion are both factors we take into consideration when forming our panels
  • we aim to make any reasonable adjustments panel members may need. Please inform us of any disabilities, specific needs or caring responsibilities that may impact on your involvement. Also, we are able to pay costs incurred (such as for childcare) to support panel members to attend

The position also offers members the opportunity to:

  • play a key role in growing the strong supply of talented individuals and leaders needed to ensure a vibrant research and innovation environment in the UK
  • gain insights into a broad range of industries and disciplines, and cutting-edge research and innovation
  • meet and work with other senior researchers and innovators to support next generation research projects with potential for career-defining impact

How to apply

Please apply using SurveyMonkey.

Please note you are able to save your responses and return to the form, which will also ask you to upload your CV, along with the answers to the following survey questions.

Survey questions

Please provide:

  • summary of the peer review panels, boards, Innovate UK funding assessments, business competitions, investment partnerships, advisory or strategy panels you have participated in (state whether panel chair, deputy chair, panel member or other)
  • brief statement on your motivation to join the UKRI Talent Panel College
  • brief summary of your experience in supporting the career development of early career researchers and other colleagues (if relevant)
  • brief summary of any equality, diversity and inclusion activities you are involved in
  • short narrative on your main achievements and impact

If there are any other details that we have not mentioned or included that you wish to tell us, please click ‘yes’ and add any comments into the box.

We do however advise using the survey questions to prepare your responses and submitting the form in one sitting.

How we'll assess you

Assessment criteria

Essential experience

We require applicants that:

  • have demonstrable business, innovation and investor experience, including the development of new products, processes and services, patents and business awards
  • have participated on committees, boards or within assessment for UKRI, Innovate UK or other funders or organisations
  • have experience of activities related to supporting skills and careers. This may include doctoral training, researcher or staff development and research, or innovation support for teams

Desirable experience

You have:

  • expertise in broad multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary working
  • experience of working internationally, particularly in the context of global challenges
  • experience of working in a policy development environment
  • experience of the development of research outputs into real-world value, for example in the form of:
    • infrastructure
    • people
    • technologies
    • new commercial products
    • software
    • data management
    • standards

Assessment process

Step 1

Applications will be assessed against the stated eligibility criteria based on the evidence provided within application forms. Individual equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data will not be provided to assessors. Assessment will be completed by UKRI operational and programmes staff, in consultation with subject specialists in all UKRI research councils.

Step 2

Assessment outcomes will be reviewed by UKRI. They will consider the balance across Talent Panel College membership. Individual EDI data provided by applicants will only be used for monitoring purposes.

Step 3

A list of recommended appointments will be provided to council leads for each research council and Innovate UK, who will be asked to ratify decisions and seek assurance that appropriate processes have been followed.

Step 4

Once ratification has taken place, successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of UKRI’s decision. This is expected to be by mid-February 2023. Please note, individual feedback on applications will not be provided.

Further information

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email:

Annex 1: Future Leaders Fellowships and background on role and format of the panels

Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF)

FLFs support talented people in universities, businesses, and other research and innovation environments. They also allow universities and businesses to develop their most talented early career researchers and innovators or to attract new people to their organisations, including from overseas.

The aim of the scheme is to develop the next wave of world-class research and innovation leaders across academia and business. FLFs fund research and innovation projects in all areas supported by UKRI, with many interdisciplinary fellowships meeting the remit of 2 or more councils.

Funding is available for 4 years in the first instance and can be renewed for a further 3 years through our fellowship renewal scheme (all fellows are invited to apply for this in year 3 of their fellowship).

Find out more about Future Leaders Fellowships.

Next meeting dates

The FLF round 7 panel dates are as follows:

  • sift panel meetings: week commencing 10 July 2023
  • interview panel meetings: week commencing 11 September 2023

Role and format of the panels

UKRI FLF panels take place in 2 stages, enabling the allocation of FLF funding to individuals who show outstanding potential to become world-leading innovators and researchers.

Our panels strike a balance between the use of expert information (provided through written, expert reviews), and deploying generalist understanding to moderate and score proposals.

Rather than focusing on narrow or specialist disciplines, FLF panels are cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral and reflect the interdisciplinary nature and open remit of the scheme. Crucially, the role of a sift panel is to form conclusions based on interpretation of the specialist peer review reports, the applicants’ response to these reports, and panel members’ broad sectoral expertise.

Panels are bespoke and formed for every meeting. Expertise required on the panels is determined by the applications we receive, and the applications that progress to interview (meaning, your expertise may be required at the sift panel stage, but not at the interview should no proposals in your area be taken forward).

Currently, applications from academia and from business are assessed separately at the interview.

The purpose of the FLF sift panels is to shortlist competitive proposals which will be prioritised for interview. For round 7, we anticipate a maximum of 500 proposals. This will be assessed in multiple simultaneous 2-day sift panels over a period of 4 days (approximately 10 to 13 sift panels).

At the end of the 4 days, each sift panel will produce a scored and prioritised list of proposals. These lists will then be tensioned to produce a list of up to 200 candidates who will be considered for an interview.

The interview panels are the final assessment stage for the FLF awards. At the end of the interview stage there will be ranked and recommended lists of applications for funding.

The approach taken to FLF panels is likely to be different from other UKRI interview panels you may have experienced previously. Therefore, if invited to participate it is essential all panel members also participate in panel briefing sessions.

Annex 2: panel member testimonials

Dr Alison Burdett (Sensium-Healthcare)

Being a member of the FLF review panel has been an incredibly enjoyable experience. The applications are generally of a very high standard and so are a pleasure to review, while the breadth of topics means that you learn a lot about subjects that are tangential to your specific area of expertise.

The review panel membership itself is also broad. I found myself (an engineer) alongside clinicians, historians, physicists and social scientists, who all brought different perspectives and insights to the topic under discussion. The panel was one of the most constructive and collaborative I have served on, and I have formed new colleagues and collaborations with people I met on the review panel.

Jan Wolber (GE Healthcare Ltd)

Firstly, I was very pleased to see this scheme being launched. I thought, and I still think, that this is exactly what the UK needs to offer a long-term perspective to ambitious and excellent early career researchers who wish to establish themselves.

The FLF scheme should be able to retain talent in the UK and attract talent from elsewhere. I believe that those expectations have been fulfilled, judging from some of the applications that I have seen.

Secondly, I also want to give some of my time to the community of researchers that I collaborate with in order to sustain and possibly enhance the quality of research and innovation in the UK.

I have enjoyed reading a variety of highly interesting applications, some of which contain fascinating science.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the panels, I have learned about aspects of science that I might not normally interact with. I have also enjoyed being part of the FLF reviewer community and have had great conversations with other panel members during some of the face-to-face panel meetings.

Another aspect I have enjoyed very much is the mentoring of a FLF who is now getting to the point of renewal after 4 years.

FLF applications are unique in that they ask the applicant to think very broadly about a scientific programme of work but also about themselves, their own development and how to assemble a group and look after their team members and educate them. As such, they truly deserve being labelled with the possibly overused term ‘leadership’. The philosophy at the heart of the FLF scheme has influenced my approach when coaching junior colleagues in my work environment.

Firstly, the FLF scheme has broadened my understanding of the scientific community in the UK. It has influenced my thinking about career trajectories and leadership. It has also allowed a younger colleague and former PhD student to obtain a FLF award, which will ensure continuity in the research field that I joined 25 years ago.

It is positive that the FLF scheme is also available to applicants from industry. I am under the impression that the number of applications and the number of awards to industry applicants are still significantly below those from an academic background.

But I hope that with some successful industry FLF awards and possibly more people from industry joining the review panels, there will be an increased awareness of FLF across industries, better recognition of what makes an excellent industrial FLF applicant, and a higher success rate of those applications.

Professor John Stairmand (Jacobs)

I have supported peer review and panel meetings for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council for some time.

The FLF scheme follows a similar process, and I have always found that my engagement with it gives me excellent state-of-the-art insights into methods and approaches that are being taken by the best innovative research talent in the country.

In addition, I can establish connections with fellow panellists, many of whom are current technical leaders. The insights into early researcher career development are also useful for informing internal staff development. I have been involved in the FLF Panel College since its inception and have always found it to be a rewarding and motivating experience.

Dr Su Varma (NSG European Technical Centre)

I was invited to join the FLF Panel College in late 2018 and have been involved in several rounds over the past 4 years in various roles and stages of the process.

As I have stated at cohort meetings and publicly, it has been and continues to be one of the best experiences of my career, as it’s not often one gets to read about, assess, engage, and interact with globally leading young talent in so many different fields of research activities!

It really is very rewarding and incredibly useful to learn about new topics, some of which I didn’t even think existed! I’m constantly blown away by the depth of quality of the applicants. It is also so nice to come across highly articulate and confident young researchers who, no doubt, will be leading many of their chosen fields in the future.

I have used this experience in providing advice to as many young talented scientists, in and outside my own area of expertise, to encourage them to be ambitious and apply for rewarding fellowships like the FLF to sustain their holistic development.

My membership in the FLF Panel College within my company is highly regarded due to the prestige it is seen to bring to the organisation.

In conclusion, I feel very privileged to be part of the world’s leading talent recognition scheme and highly impressed by the diversity of research topics and of applicants too. It is even more encouraging to see businesses engaging with their best talent! UKRI should be highly commended for developing this unique FLF scheme.

Last updated: 16 March 2023

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