You can apply if you are resident in the UK for at least 183 days in a tax year and hold a lecturer or lecturer-equivalent position at a UK higher education institution, research council institute or a UKRI-approved independent research organisation.
Principal applicants must be employed at the submitting research organisation at lecturer level, or equivalent, or due to move to the organisation before the start date of the grant. Or if not employed, applicants must have an agreement that the research will be conducted at the submitting research organisation as if they were an employee at lecturer level, or equivalent.
Co-applicants must be employed at an eligible organisation and meet the same employment criteria.
See the eligibility section in our research grants guide (PDF, 375KB).
Early career researchers
If you are an early career researcher who has:
- held a lecturer or equivalent-level position for no more than three years full time
- not obtained funding from any source as a principal investigator, including postdoctoral research assistant staff support costs
you can secure your first major element of research funding through the new investigator scheme.
You will be assessed following the same procedure as other applications, however research potential rather than track record will be taken into account.
Industrial partners are encouraged on all research grant applications. There are, however, two formal ways to seek support for your research if you are working with an industrial partner:
- Industrial partnership awards: academic-led research with significant industrial involvement and where an industry partner contributes in cash at least equivalent to 10% of the full economic costs of the project
- Stand-alone LINK: collaborative research with at least one company where at least 50% of the full project cost comes from industry either in cash or in-kind
We do not fund the work of your industrial partners. Industrial partners must agree ownership and exploitation of the intellectual property at the outset and clearly define the proposed scientific and commercial results in a management framework.
COVID-19 update: New investigator scheme
In recognising the level of disruption caused by COVID-19 restrictions to the progression of early career researchers, applicants submitting under the new investigator (NI) scheme to 21RM2 and 21RM3 with the closing deadlines of 28 April 2021 and 29 September 2021 respectively, are being informed that a slight relaxation on the time limit of NI’s employment at lecturer-level has been temporarily introduced.
Applicants who wish to submit their standard grant proposals under the NI scheme for the remainder of 2021, will need to have held a lecturer, or equivalent-level, position for no more than 3.5 years at the time of the closing date for submission to the grant round in which the application will be assessed. The other criterion that necessitates NI applicants to not have obtained funding from any other source, or funding body, as a principal investigator remains unchanged as it currently stands.
A subsequent review of this relaxation will take place later in the year, following the closing date of 21RM3 (29 September 2021), to ascertain whether further extension is still required. Any announcements with regards to changes beyond 2021 will be communicated accordingly on this page in due course.