3.2-3.2.9 The application: attachments


3.2.3 Case for support

The case for support should summarise the following important areas.


Explain the need for research in this area and the rationale for the particular lines of research planned.

Research Plan

Describe the aims and objectives of the proposed research. Give details of the general experimental approaches, study designs, and techniques you will use. It is not necessary to describe each experiment, but give enough detail to show why the research is likely to be competitive in its field by:

  • highlighting plans which are particularly original or unique
  • describing all human studies and animal experiments
  • explaining how new techniques or particularly difficult or risky studies will be tackled, and outline alternative approaches should these fail
  • identifying where access to facilities or resources will be required and giving sufficient detail to demonstrate the benefit to the project.

Research environment and development opportunities

Detail the specific training and scientific considerations which led to the choice of proposed host department (up to one page). Describe the special features/facilities of the research training environment in the host institution/s. If this is a department where the fellow has been based for a year or more, include details of the reasons for remaining. If the proposal involves a clinical trial please refer specifically to the training arrangements and benefits available/in place in the proposed department.

Second centres for work

Include any details of work that will take place as part of the proposed fellowship at a second UK or overseas centre.

References and citations

Key references must be included in the case for support within the specified page limit and may not be uploaded as a separate list of publications attachment. Citations must be in 11 point Arial font and include sufficient information for reviewers to easily locate the articles listed (for example, first author name, title, journal, year, volume, pages) but there is no house style which needs to be followed.

Page limits

The page limits for the case for support for each fellowship type are as follows:

Career stage Scheme Maximum length (A4 pages)
Training fellowships: training and consolidation Clinical research training fellowship (CRTF) 4
Transition to independence Career development award (CDA) 6
Transition to independence Clinician scientist fellowship (CSF) 5
Transition to leadership Senior clinical fellowship (SCF) 8
Transition to leadership Senior non-clinical fellowship (SNCF) 12

In general, for training and consolidation, early career and transition to independence fellowships, approximately 25% of the case for support should explain the importance of the project and detail preliminary data, 50% should outline the research plan, and 25% should describe the research environment, development opportunities and key references. For transition to leadership fellows, a larger proportion of the case for support should be dedicated to describing the research plan. Case for support: Reproducibility and statistical design (recommended annex)

A one page annex may be included in addition to the page limits above to provide additional detail of the methodology and experimental design aspects of the proposal (beyond that contained in the main case for support), or if the project includes a clinical trial to provide detail on the trial. This must be included as a clearly marked annex at the end of the main case for support, entitled ‘Reproducibility and statistical design annex’.

More detailed guidance is available in section of the guidance for applicants, including what not to include in the annex. Research disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic (optional annex)

The purpose of this annex is to provide additional information, of relevance to the application and the research case, when needed to explain specific disruptions to previous or current research caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example:

  • restricted access to facilities and normal research environment
  • impact on research and the production of preliminary data, development of collaborations, loss of research resources, restrictions to research approaches
  • impact on publications or other outputs.

An annex to the case for support may be included for this purpose, in addition to the page limits above. Although up to one page is allowed a short summary is preferred. You should not describe general disruptions that all researchers will have experienced or duplicate information presented elsewhere in the application, for example, your CV. Although we expect all researchers to have been affected, this annex is not a requirement.

This information may be provided as a clearly marked annex at the end of the main case for support, entitled ‘COVID-19 research disruption annex’ and should not be added as a separate attachment. Standard formatting guidance applies and applications not adhering to these conditions will be returned.

Last updated: 23 February 2023

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