1-1.3 Who can apply and how to apply - MRC


1.2 Research organisations

The lead organisation is responsible for administering the grant and must be one of the types of organisations listed below. The MRC are supportive of fellows who wish to spend part of their fellowship carrying out research at a second academic centre, either within the UK or overseas, or with an industrial partner. See section 2.3 for further details.

Higher education institutions (including MRC units)

All UK higher education institutions (HEIs) that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies are eligible to receive funds for research, postgraduate training and associated activities.

These bodies consist of Research England (RE), Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy (DfE).

MRC units apply as a department of the HEI.

Independent research organisations

A number of independent research organisations (IROs) are eligible to apply for funding. Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding and find out how to apply. To submit a fellowship application an IRO must be eligible to apply for responsive mode funding. For MRC applications, IROs encompass NHS bodies with research capacity (the Board, NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Special Authority, NHS Trust, NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Local Health Board).

MRC institutes

Applicants may apply for fellowships to be based at one of the MRC units or institutes if they are not currently employed by UKRI.

Applicants should justify their choice of host institution as part of their application.

Applicants currently employed by UKRI in one of MRC’s units or institutes and proposing to hold their fellowship within the same MRC unit or institute will only be considered under exceptional circumstances. Individuals in such cases are only eligible to apply if given prior written permission by the MRC head office. Applications without prior approval will not be considered further. Permission must be sought by the institute director (or a nominated deputy) on the applicant’s behalf by emailing fellows@mrc.ukri.org at least two months prior to the submission deadline. The case for exception should:

  • demonstrate that a fellowship would lead to a substantial change in the role of the applicant, with significant potential for research and career development
  • confirm the source of funding for the applicant’s current post within the unit (permission to apply for a MRC fellowship will normally only be granted if the applicant’s current post is supported by a grant or is a non-core funded supernumerary post – normally for at least twelve months).

1.2.1 Responsibilities of research organisations

By submitting a proposal to the MRC, a research organisation indicates their formal acceptance of the proposal, UKRI terms and conditions for funding, MRC additional terms and conditions (and any other terms and conditions specified in the award letter), and their approval of the salaries and resources sought.

Administrative authorities have responsibility for ensuring that the salaries and resources cited in the proposals are sufficient to undertake the proposed research, to attract sufficiently experienced and skilled staff, and represent good value for money. The salary requested should be in line with the level the research organisation would provide were the fellow appointed within their own pay structure.

Research organisations are expected to act in accordance with the expectations of MRC fellowships.

Last updated: 15 November 2021

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