Future Leaders Fellowships

The UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) will grow the strong supply of talented individuals needed to ensure that UK research and innovation continues to be world class. 

Who can apply

This cross-UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) scheme will support early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments including research councils' institutes and laboratories.

The FLF scheme welcomes applications from both UK and international applicants and individuals should use the person specification to assess and justify their suitability for the scheme. The support of the institution will be a critical component of all fellowships which will enable the fellow to transition to or establish their research/innovation independence in any area supported by UKRI.

The objectives of the scheme are:

  • to develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK 
  • to foster new research and innovation career paths including those at the academic/business and interdisciplinary boundaries, and facilitate movement of people between sectors
  • to provide sustained funding and resources for the best early career researchers and innovators
  • to provide long-term, flexible funding to tackle difficult and novel challenges, and support adventurous, ambitious programmes.

These Fellowships support applicants from diverse career paths, including those returning from a career break or following time in other roles. We also encourage applications from those wishing to work part-time in order to combine the fellowship with personal responsibilities. Review panels will take into account time spent outside an active research or innovation environment, whether through career breaks, flexible working or as a consequence of working in other roles. 

Length of support

The support offered will be long-term and flexible and will provide comprehensive package of support, including the fellow's salary and justified research, staff and training costs, with seven years of support available on a 4+3 model, with a review in year four. The case for support should make clear the long-term aims of the programme, and why they matter – while providing more specific plans and costings for the first four years.

For business applicants, those in the user community or other applicants, four years' support may be sufficient and there is no need to apply for a further three years of funding if this is not required. Successful applicants will have the intellectual and financial freedom to develop and change direction over this period. 

How to apply

There will be six calls for these fellowships; two calls per year between 2018-19 and 2020-21 (financial years), typically awarding at least 100 fellowships per call across UKRI's remit (with the initial round being smaller, aiming to award ~50 fellowships).

This is a single scheme across the entire UKRI remit, with no ringfenced budgets for specific areas and no barriers to interdisciplinary or cross-sector research.

Timing of First and Second rounds

Applications to the first round of the call are now closed.

Outline Proposals (Expressions of Interest) are mandatory for each applicant intending to submit to the second round of this call. Host Organisation support for the submission of the Outline Proposal must be sought and agreed before the Outline Proposal is submitted. The call for Outline Proposals for the second round is now closed.

  • Outline Proposals for applicants to be based at academic host organisations or business host organisations who are Je-S registered should be submitted via the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) (available from 1st September 2018).
  • Outline Proposals for applicants to be based at business host organisations who are not currently Je-S registered should be submitted via an online form (available from 1st September 2018).
  • Creating the Je-S outline proposal form:
    1. From the applicant’s Je-S account home page, select ‘Documents’ from the left-hand menu list, then select ‘New Document’ from the functions section near the top of the page
    2. Select Council: MRC (MRC are hosting the FLF proposals on behalf of UKRI)
    3. Select Document Type: Outline Proposal
    4. Select Scheme: UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships Outline
    5. Select Call: UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships Outline Oct 2018
    6. Select ‘Create Document’

Host organisations will receive confirmation of receipt of the Outline Proposals, either via Je-S or via Smart Survey.

Full applications must be submitted via Je-S by 16:00 on 31st October 2018 for the second round of this call. Full details are available in the ‘Overview of the scheme’ and ‘Completing the application form’ documents below.

Planned timing / deadline

Round 1 (~50 fellowships)

Round 2 (~100 fellowships)

Round 3 (~100 fellowships)

Je-S opens for mandatory outline proposals

N/A

1 Sept 2018

2 April 2019

JeS opens for full applications

3 April 2018

w/c 17 Sept 2018

w/c 15 April

Mandatory outline proposal closes on JeS

7 June 2018

10 October 2018

2 May 2019

JeS full application deadline

3 July 2018

31 October 2018

30 May 2019

Shortlisting meetings

w/c 26 November 2018

w/c 13 May 2019

w/c 25 Nov 2019

Interview panels

w/c 21 January 2019

w/c 17 June 2019

w/c 27 Jan 2020

Decisions communicated

w/c 11 February 2019

w/c 18 July 2019

w/c 10 Feb 2020

Mandatory latest start date for all awards

1 May 2019

1 February 2020

1 Nov 2020

Call documents

Updates for Round Two:

  • Revised the ‘Completing The Application Form’ document: This includes minor changes and clarifications with changes highlighted in a table at the start of the document.
  • Updated the ‘CV template’: removal of unnecessary duplication of personal data. 
  • Updated the ‘Finance for Business Costs form’ so that the format is more user friendly.
  • Published a Salary calculator for part-time applicants.

Further information

Queries not addressed by the guidance documents can be sent to fellows@ukri.org. The team can also be reached on (01793) 416409. However, UKRI cannot confirm eligibility prior to application, applicants must demonstrate how they meet the person specification as part of their submitted proposal.