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Foundation fellowship

Maximum duration: Three years
Deadline: Wednesday 11 April 2018 at 16:00
Contact: Shereen Sabbah and Julie Marsden at

What do foundation fellowships provide?

Foundation fellowships 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 other non-medical (including nurse and allied health professionals and veterinary surgeons) 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 that are practising medicine, aren't eligible to apply for this scheme.

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.


  • Should be requested according to experience on the appropriate scientific scale (including London weighting if relevant)
  • salaries of support staff, such as technicians and research assistants, will not be funded.


You are permitted to apply for reasonable research expenses directly related to your proposal, including:

  • Consumables
  • small pieces of equipment (up to £30,000 in value)
  • purchase and maintenance of laboratory animals (see below)
  • travel to a collaborating institution.

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.

Conference attendance should not be included in the application form. A travel support fund for presenting outputs arising from the fellowship at national and international conferences will be allocated to the grant if successful.

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 fellowship funding panel for the purposes of triage. Information on completing the scientific summary can be found within the online application form.

How foundation fellowships are awarded

There are four stages to the assessment process:

  1. Triage: at this initial stage the scientific summaries of each application are assessed by the fellowship funding panel. They will evaluate the scientific merit of the project, the track record and future potential of the applicant and the suitability of the proposal for a Foundation Fellowship. 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 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 applications and peer reviews are assessed by the fellowship funding panel members. Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend interview.
  4. Interview: the fellowship awarding panel interview the shortlisted applicants and make funding decisions.

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

For more information, go to
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.