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How to apply

Applicants must apply to the scheme with the support of their host organisation. This page provides information for the applicants and their host on how to apply.

There will be six calls for these fellowships between 2018 and 2021, awarding around 100 fellowships per call.

Updates to Round 4

A number of changes to the scheme have been implemented for Round 4 and we would encourage all applicants to read the revised guidance for applicants.

Through these changes the Future Leaders Fellowships aim to provide increased flexibility, acknowledging the diversity of needs across different organisations and sectors.

To encourage business hosted applications additional flexibility and emphasis on flexibility are being trialed for rounds 4 and 5. This is in direct response to the feedback from business. The aim of the scheme remains developing a researcher or innovator and capability  that is nationally or internationally leading edge, and goes beyond what other, smaller project grants could support.

Scheme flexibility includes:

  • The fellowship may be made up of a single programme of work, or through multiple consecutive or concurrent interlinked projects led by the fellow (a ‘Portfolio Fellowship’). Where multiple shorter projects are spread over the 4 or 4(+3) years, applicants should ensure the proposed research/innovation is of sufficient scale and ambition to maximise the potential and career prospects of the fellow.
  • Flexibility where the direction of the fellow’s project changes part way through the grant, or the fellow is no longer able to continue the grant.
  • For business hosted fellows only, recognising state aid restrictions, business hosted fellows may spend up to 40 percent of their time on unfunded activities which are essential to their career, but are not directly relevant to the fellowship (a ‘Reduced Hours Fellowship’).
  • While we expect that the level of capability being aimed for will usually need sustained development over four years we recognise that a change in business circumstances may mean an award is relinquished early.

Applications that address programmes of innovation, are business led, collaborate with business or that encourage the movement of researchers between academia and business, are particularly encouraged to apply to Round 4.

Contact the team

The Future Leaders Fellowships Team can be contacted at fellows@ukri.org or on (01793) 416409 to answer any queries not addressed by the guidance and documents below. However, UKRI cannot confirm eligibility prior to application and applicants must demonstrate how they meet the person specification as part of their submitted proposal.

Before applying

If you have further queries, see the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 709KB) (please note this document will be updated regularly).

Outline proposal

Outline proposals are mandatory for each applicant intending to submit to Round 4 of this scheme. The deadline for receiving these was 16:00 on 8 October 2019.

  • Applicants in host organisations that are not registered with Je-S (for example, businesses that have not previously applied for a grant from a research council) can submit their outline proposal through an online form. You will still need to register with Je-S later if you wish to proceed and submit a full application.
  • Applicants in host organisations that are already registered with Je-S (universities, research organisations and some businesses) will need to submit their outline proposal through that grant management system. You should ensure sufficient time to create Je-S accounts for both the fellow and any co-investigators.

The outline proposal will need to cover basic details about the proposal, including any co-investigators and project partners, a summary of the proposed fellowship and other information as appropriate. Full information on what information you will need to include in your outline proposal is in section two of the Guidance for applicants.

If you did not submit an outline proposal for Round 4 before this deadline, then you would not have been able to submit a full application to this round.

Full application

Full applications for Round 4 must have been submitted by all organisations via Je-S by 16:00 on 7 November 2019.

If you submit an outline proposal via the web form, you will need to create an account on Je-S in order to submit a full application. You should allow sufficient time to do this.

Full details of how to complete the application form, and the information you will require in order to do this, are contained in the Guidance for applicants. (PDF, 841KB) Links to other scheme documentation and templates are under Documents, below.

Planned timing / deadline


Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Je-S opens for mandatory outline proposals


1 September 2018

2 April 2019

2 September 2019

Je-S opens for full applications


w/c 17 Sept 2018

16 April 2019

12 September 2019

Mandatory outline proposal closes on Je-S


10 October 2018

2 May 2019

8 October 2019

Je-S full application deadline


31 October 2018

30 May 2019

7 November 2019

Latest possible PI response invite

(Please note: 5 working days to respond)


28 March 2019

25 October 2019

24 April 2020

Shortlisting meetings


w/c 13 May 2019

26-27 November 2019

w/c 1 Jun 2020

Interview Panels


w/c 17 June 2019

29-30 January 2020

w/c 13 July 2020

Decisions communicated


w/c 15 July 2019

w/c 17 February 2020*

w/c 10 August 2020

Mandatory latest start date for all awards


1 February 2020

1 November 2020

1 February 2021

*date amended from w/c 11 February 2020

Expected closing dates for future rounds:                 

  • Round 5: Jun 2020 (tbc)
  • Round 6: Jan 2021 (tbc)


Call Documentation:


Assessment Information: