Many UK funding opportunities are open to international researchers and research team members.
If you’re not based in the UK or you need a visa to stay, you may still be able to apply for funding to work on a research project in the UK.
You could be eligible:
- for individual funding – for example, a fellowship
- as part of a research team applying for a grant.
Eligibility is different for each funding opportunity. For example, for some grants, the principal investigator must be based in the UK, but you could be part of the bid as a co-investigator or another team member.
If you get funding, you’ll usually need a visa before you can start your research project or fellowship in the UK.
Get a Global Talent visa to do research in the UK
If you’re an international researcher, you’ll need a visa before you start your fellowship or research project in the UK.
It’s quicker and easier to apply for a Global Talent visa if both the following are confirmed:
- your research has funding – either a grant or fellowship from UKRI or another approved funder
- you’ll be based at a UK research organisation.
If you’re not already part of funded research, you can still apply for a Global Talent visa.
You can apply for a Global Talent visa from outside the UK, or you can switch to this visa if you’re already in the UK.
If you already have a fellowship
Your application will be fast-tracked if you have a fellowship on the approved list.
This list is approved by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and British Academy – but it includes UKRI fellowships offered by UKRI.
Find out how to apply as a fellow (GOV.UK).
If you’re already part of a funded research project
Your application will be endorsed by UKRI and fast-tracked if you’re part of a research grant awarded by either:
- UKRI or one of its councils
- a funder endorsed by UKRI.
UKRI can endorse you if you (or your role) was named on the grant application. This can be as the principal investigator, co-investigator or other role at graduate level or above. For example, you could be a post-doctoral researcher, research assistant or specialist.
The organisation employing or hosting you in the UK must be approved by UKRI.
Before you apply, you’ll need a copy of the grant award letter. It must confirm that the grant:
- is for at least £30,000 in total
- lasts at least two years.
If your project has already started, and there’s less than two years left, you can still be endorsed by UKRI.
You’ll also need a dated letter from the director of human resources at the organisation hosting your research project.
The letter must be on the organisation’s letterhead and confirm:
- your role and department in the organisation
- you’ve accepted the grant
- you’re essential to the grant and you’ll be spending at least half your time on it
- there’s at least two years left on your employment contract with the organisation.
If you’re part of coronavirus research
You can apply for a Global Talent visa under relaxed criteria until 31 July 2021 if you’re part of a coronavirus research project.
Find out more about the visa requirements for COVID-19 research projects.
If you’re not part of funded research
You could still be eligible for a Global Talent visa if you don’t have a fellowship or a role on a funded research project.
Check GOV.UK to find out if you’re eligible to apply for a Global Talent visa – this can be:
- fast-tracked because you have a job offer as an eligible academic or researcher
- endorsed by peer review if you’re a researcher but you’re not eligible any other way
- based your work in arts and culture or digital technology.
Holders of certain prestigious prizes can apply for a visa without going through the initial endorsement stage. The list of eligible awards and further information is available on GOV.UK.
If you’re not eligible for a Global Talent visa, there are other ways to work in the UK.
Ask a question about the Global Talent visa
Last updated: 5 May 2021