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£900M Future Leaders investment will sustain the UK as global home of research talent

£900M Future Leaders investment will sustain the UK as global home of research talent

Business Secretary Greg Clark today (21 June) 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.”

Complementing the Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme, the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, British Academy, and Academy of Medical Sciences will collectively receive £350 million for the prestigious fellowships schemes. This funding will enhance the research talent pipeline and increase the number of fellowships on offer for high skilled researchers and innovators.

Over the next five years, £50 million has been allocated through the National Productivity Investment Fund for additional PhDs, including 100 PhDs to support research into Artificial Intelligence (AI), supporting one of the Grand Challenges within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and ensuring Britain is at the forefront of the AI revolution.

There will be six calls for the Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme, with two calls taking place each year over the next three years. Applications can be submitted in any area of research or innovation covered by UK Research and Innovation.

For further information please visit the Future Leaders Fellowships call page.

Details on the launch of the Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme Panel College applications process for FLFs.

A new film demonstrating the impact of fellowship schemes is now available