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Background to the Scheme

On the 21 June 2018, Business Secretary Greg Clark today, unveiled a major new £900 million investment in the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme.

The inaugural UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme will receive £900 million over the next 11 years, with six funding competitions and at least 550 fellows awarded over the next three years.

The investment will provide up to seven years of funding for early-career researchers and innovators, including support for part-time awards and career-breaks, providing flexibility to researchers to tackle ambitious and challenging research questions.

For the first time ever, this type of scheme will now be open to businesses as well as universities. The scheme aims to help the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators get the support they need to develop their careers. The scheme is open to the best researchers and innovators from around the world, ensuring the UK continues to attract the most exceptional talent wherever they may come from.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“We are a nation of innovators, with some of the world’s greatest inventions created on British soil – from penicillin to the first computer programme. We want to retain our global reputation as a destination for world-class scientists and researchers, by providing opportunities to find and nurture the next Ada Lovelaces and Isaac Newtons.”

“I want the UK to remain the go-to destination for the best researchers and innovators and that is why we are investing in the rising stars of research and innovation to develop the new products and technologies of tomorrow.”

Previous investment in new talent has funded research into new cancer drugs and developed critical technology which will bring us driverless cars. Today’s announcement will build on this success and boost the pipeline of talent needed to build a Britain fit for the future. The money is part of the single biggest investment in research in 40 years, which will help ensure the UK invests 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027 and becomes the most innovative economy by 2030.

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Professor Sir Mark Walport said:

“Talented people are the energy and engine of new knowledge, new ideas and new opportunities.  The long-term investment announced today means the UK will continue to attract and grow the very best, supporting those who want to solve the most difficult questions whether they are in frontier science, our evolving society or our changing economy.”

Equality Impact Assessment

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed to promoting equality and participation in all their activities, whether this is related to the work we do with our external stakeholders or whether this is related to our responsibilities as an employer. As a public body, we are also required to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations when making decisions and developing policies. To do this, it is necessary to understand the potential impacts of the range of internal and external activities on different groups of people.

When developing a new scheme, or considering changes to an existing one, UKRI will carry out an equality impact assessment to review how it may affect particular groups or individuals and will take the findings into account. We expect that very rarely our actions will create barriers to participation. The assessment may however flag issues that are not of UKRI’s making but we will, where it is in our remit to do so, recommend actions and adjustments. Some impacts are not exclusive to the scheme or change that is being evaluated and need to be addressed throughout our organisation. In some cases we may not have enough expertise and we will consult with others.