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Foundation fellowship

Maximum duration: 3 years
Deadline: TBC
Contact: Clare Farmer and Julie Marsden at  

What do foundation fellowships provide?

Foundation fellowships are our first postdoctoral awards for basic scientists and non-medical PhD students (including nurse and allied health professionals, and veterinary surgeons). The awards aim to retain the best postdoctoral researchers in areas of research relevant to arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases and provide an opportunity for fellows to develop independent research ideas at an early stage in their career.

Who can apply for foundation fellowships?

Foundation fellowships are open to basic science and non-medical PhD students in the final year of PhD training, or within one year of completing their PhD at the time of application. These fellowships can't be taken up until the PhD has been awarded.

Foundation fellowships should be associated with an established sponsor, within a multidisciplinary research group in a UK university department, hospital or research institute. The proposed sponsor of the foundation fellowship must not be the applicant’s previous PhD supervisor. Arthritis Research UK will give preference to applicants who wish to move to another laboratory in the UK. If remaining at the same institution applicants will ideally move department, and additionally be expected to spend a period of time in another laboratory, preferably abroad. We reserve the right to reject applications that don't fully meet the eligibility criteria.

Please note, medically or surgically qualified individuals aren't eligible to apply for this scheme. Projects must demonstrate a clear relevance to our aims and we would like to encourage applications to this scheme which are aligned with our new 5 year strategic focus on improving the quality of life of people with arthritis.

What can you apply for?

Fellowships are normally awarded for three years and aren't renewable.

There's no formal limit on costs that can be applied for, however detailed justification of costs requested should be provided in the fellowship application.


  • Salaries should be requested according to experience on the appropriate scientific salary scale, including London weighting if relevant.
  • Salaries of support staff, such as technicians, won't be funded on foundation fellowships.


  • Reasonable running costs can be applied for (consumables, small pieces of equipment up to £30,000 in value).
  • Costs for the purchase and maintenance of laboratory animals can be applied for. Studies involving animals must provide adequate details on the number, species, strain and associated costs of animals to be used in the study. Justification for the use of animals and why a suitable alternative cannot be used must also be provided. Arthritis Research UK is a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research and supports the principle of the 3Rs.
  • Costs to cover travel to a collaborating institution can be requested.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted through our grants management system, Grant Tracker.

Applications should be submitted jointly by the candidate with their sponsor, outlining the proposed programme of research. Candidates will need to provide names of two people that can be contacted as referees (this should not include the proposed sponsor(s) on the grant).

The fellowship application is a one-stage process – a full application should be submitted by the deadline. As part of the full application you'll be asked to complete a short scientific summary which will be used by the awarding committee for the purposes of triage. Information on completing the scientific summary can be found within the online application form.

How foundation fellowships are awarded

These fellowships are awarded by Arthritis Research UK’s fellowship implementation committee (FIC). There are four stages to the assessment process:

  1. Triage – at this initial stage the scientific summaries of each application are assessed by the FIC panel. Applicants will be informed at an early stage if their proposal has been triaged and all other applications will undergo full peer review.
  2. Peer review – The full applications of those successful at triage are sent for external peer review by experts from the UK and abroad and of international standing in the field of the proposal.
  3. Shortlisting – the full applications and peer reviews are assessed by a panel of FIC members. Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend interview.
  4. Interview – the FIC awarding panel interview the shortlisted applicants and make funding decisions.

Awards are typically made 4–5 months after the deadline date.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.