The Transition Support award is specifically designed for fellows whose research momentum has been impacted by multiple issues that have affected their productivity and subsequent outputs. They will have progressed their research and met many of the criteria for research leadership already (see assessment criteria), however due to genuine mitigating circumstances they will not yet be competitive for the next funding stage.
Financially, MRC will support:
- 50% of the fellows’ salary
- salary costs of key staff members
- a small consumables budget for the duration of the award.
The host research organisation will need to provide the other 50% salary commitment for the duration of the award and will be expected to commit to a secure open-ended position for the fellow by the end of the award, in line with their institutional policies.
This should be clearly outlined in a letter of support from a senior authority within the host research organisation. This reflects our expectation of a commitment from research organisations to support talented researchers at this level.
The expectation remains that 100% of the fellow’s contracted working time is focused on their research, training and development, as per MRC’s standard fellowship terms and conditions.
Candidates will need to demonstrate the added value that a Transition Support award will offer them, providing evidence of their research potential, clearly articulating how their proposed plans for the resources and time requested would enable them to regain research momentum and provide a platform towards research leadership.
Fellows will not be permitted to transfer underspend from their current fellowship to the Transition Support award. Applicants should take this into account when requesting research costs for activities that will take place during the Transition Support award period and when choosing a start date for their Transition Support award.
If there is significant funding remaining on the fellowship, candidates should consider a no-cost extension through the MRC Post-Award Amendment (PAA) process instead.
A Transition Support award is not, in isolation, seed funding for new research projects or outputs not related to the overall aims of the MRC fellowship award. Individuals who have already achieved the outputs required for being competitive in applying for the next funding stage, are unlikely to be successful.
The MRC already has a PAA mechanism which allows costed or no-cost extensions to existing MRC awards. In addition to covering statutory requirements such as parental leave and sick leave, this mechanism supports requests for non-recruitment of staff and to cover exceptional unforeseen delays which were out of the control of the fellow. Candidates whose delays could be directly addressed by the PAA process are unlikely to be competitive and candidates may be redirected to the PAA process.
Candidates who have previously had a PAA are still eligible to apply for transition support, but candidates should highlight why this support was insufficient and demonstrate why additional support via a Transition Support award is required.
A Transition Support award is not intended to cover delays or impacts solely due to COVID-19. This should be requested via the PAA process. However, it is recognised that COVID-19 is likely to have exacerbated the impact of other factors which have affected research momentum. In these cases, fellows should apply for transition support.
Candidates who have accessed the UKRI COVID-19 grant extension allocation (CoA) can still apply, but they should demonstrate why further support via a Transition Support award is required as a result of delays or impacts other than COVID-19.
Candidates who are unsure whether transition support or a PAA would be more suitable for their individual circumstances are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice