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Senior research fellowship

Maximum duration: 5 years

Costs: up to £1,000,000

Deadline: 16:00 on Wednesday 27 September 2017

Contact: Shereen Sabbah and Julie Marsden at


What do senior research fellowships provide?

Senior research fellowships are our most prestigious fellowship grants. They're awarded to outstanding medical, veterinary, nurse and allied health professional or science graduates committed to a research career in any discipline relevant to arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases who don't hold an established academic post.

Who can apply for senior research fellowships?

Senior research fellowships are open to postdoctoral basic scientists, clinicians, vets or nurse and allied health professionals, normally with 6–12 years' postdoctoral research experience.

Applicants should be based in a multidisciplinary environment in a UK university department or research institute and have proven ability in establishing an independent research programme, substantiated by publications in international journals and the award of peer-reviewed grants. We welcome applications from international candidates intending to move to a UK institution.

Projects must demonstrate a clear relevance to our purpose. We’d also like to strongly encourage applications to this scheme which are aligned with our strategic focus on improving the quality of life of people with arthritis.

What can you apply for?

Fellowships are normally awarded for 5 years and aren't renewable.

There is a maximum limit of £1 million for 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 or clinical salary scale, including London weighting if relevant 
  • costs for a supporting technician or junior post-doctoral research assistant can also be requested.


Reasonable research expenses directly related to your proposal can be applied for; such as small pieces of equipment up to £30,000 in value and consumables. Costs for the purchase and maintenance of laboratory animals can be applied for, a detailed breakdown must be provided.

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. We are a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research and supports the principle of the 3Rs.

Please note that we don't support the funding of a major or substantive clinical trial as a fellowship. However, we would support a feasibility/pilot clinical study within a fellowship, or methodological development work or supplementary analysis as a bolt on to an established or proposed trial.

For more information please see information for applicants. If you're unsure as to whether your study constitutes a clinical study/trial, please contact please contact the research office.

How to apply

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

Applications should be submitted by the candidate outlining the proposed programme of research. Applications should include a statement from the head of department agreeing to provide appropriate facilities and outlining, if possible, any commitment by the institution to the future career of the applicant. Clinical applicants will be asked to provide details of clinical commitments that would be continued during the fellowship.

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 senior research 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. 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 the fellowship funding panel. Shortlisted applicants are invited to attend interview. 
  4. Interview – the fellowshipawarding panel interview the shortlisted applicants and make funding decisions.

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

Submissions after 16:00 will not be accepted.

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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.