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Senior research fellowship 2019

Maximum duration: 5 years
Costs: up to £1,000,000
Deadline: 16:00 on Wednesday 28 November 2018
Contact: Clare Farmer and Julie Marsden at

What are senior research fellowships?

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 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, who don't hold an established academic post.

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. We also welcome proposed partnership funding for these awards.

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.

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 an add-on to an established or proposed trial. For more information on this please see the senior research fellowship application form guidance (PDF 240 KB) document. If you're unsure as to whether your study constitutes a clinical study/trial, please contact the research office.

What can you apply for?

Fellowships are normally awarded for five years and are not 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. Further information on eligible and ineligible costs can be found in the associated guidance document (PDF 240 KB).


  • 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.


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

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 the commitment by the institution to the fellowship and the future career of the applicant.

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.


Please note

Due to a planned upgrade of our grants management software applicants wishing to apply to the November 2018 deadline will not be able to open an application in Grant Tracker. Applications must initially be prepared offline. Please see the senior research fellowship application form guidance (PDF 240 KB) document for detailed instructions on the application process for this round, and the tools and support available to you.


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. Applications are also reviewed by our patient insight partners.
  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 fellowship awarding panel interview the shortlisted applicants and make funding decisions.

Submissions after 16:00 will not be accepted.

For further information please refer to the senior research fellowship application form guidance (PDF 240 KB).

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