Funding for biomedical research and innovation

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Transition to independence awards

Funding for individual postgraduate researchers, to lead their own research plans and establish their own research team to make the transition from postdoctoral researcher to independent investigator. These awards often include career development opportunities like training, mentorship and international placements.

Funding options available

Alzheimer’s Research UK: Senior research fellowships
These fellowships are for researchers who have the potential to become leading principal investigators, but have not attained tenure.
Funding: Salary, support staff and animal, travel and running costs
Duration: Up to fours years with the possibility of a one year extension

Alzheimer’s Society: Senior fellowships
A senior fellowship is for postdoctoral or other successful researchers who wish to build on a number of successful years of dementia research, and who demonstrate the ambition and potential to be a leader in their research field at the end of the award.
Career stage: You should be a minimum of five years from the date of PhD viva
Funding: Up to £400,000 to cover salary, consumables, technician/admin and conferences
Duration: Four years (or five part-time)

British Heart Foundation: Intermediate basic science research fellowships
These fellowships are for talented postdoctoral researchers hoping to become future cardiovascular research leaders.
Career stage: Usually at least three to six years successful postdoctoral work
Funding: Salary, technician/research assistant, consumables, equipment, allowance for overseas visits
Duration: Five years plus a possible two-year extension

Cancer Research UK: Career development fellowships
The career development fellowship supports new group leaders who do not have a salaried independent position to establish their own independent research group.
Funding: Salary, research staff, consumables, equipment
Duration: Six years

Cancer Research UK: Career establishment awards
These offer support for outstanding scientists to set up their first independent research group.
Funding: For research staff, consumables, equipment
Duration: Six years

MRC: Career development award
These provide support for postdoctoral researchers to transition to independent investigators
Career stage: There are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience
Funding: Salary, research staff, consumables, equipment
Duration: Five years with part time options

MRC: New investigator research grants
These provide support for postdoctoral researchers to transition to independent investigators. Career stage: There are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience
Funding: Up to 50% salary, research staff, consumables, equipment
Duration: Three years with part time options

National Institute for Health Research: Advanced fellowship
These are postdoctoral fellowships aimed at anyone with a PhD who hasn’t yet been awarded a chair.
Career stage: There are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience
Funding: Fully funded including salary
Duration: Two to five years, part time accepted 50-100% whole time equivalent

Wellcome Career Development Awards
This scheme provides funding for mid-career researchers from any discipline who have the potential to be international research leaders.
Career stage: You must have completed one or two substantial periods of research after your initial training.
Funding: Salary, research staff and research expenses
Duration: Eight years

Last updated: 14 September 2023

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