Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Clinician scientist fellowship: Jan 2022

Apply for funding to support your move to independent investigator. Your research can focus on any area of MRC’s remit to improve human health.

You must be a registered healthcare professional with a PhD.

You must be able to show:

  • evidence of career progression
  • clear plans to develop leadership in your own specialist area of research.

You may also choose to apply for joint funding from one of the collaborating organisations.

We will fund your salary and project costs for five years.

Who can apply

You can apply if you are a registered healthcare professional. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • nurses
  • midwives
  • allied health professionals
  • healthcare scientists
  • pharmacists
  • clinical psychologists
  • doctors
  • dentists
  • general practitioners.

We also invite veterinarians to apply if they have equivalent qualifications, providing their proposed project is relevant to human health.

The aim of this scheme is to support talented clinically active healthcare professionals who have gained a higher research degree to:

  • lead their own research plans
  • establish their own research team
  • make the transition to independent investigator.

To be eligible for the clinician scientist fellowship, you must:

  • have completed a PhD or equivalent, or expect to have done so by the time you take up the award
  • be able to describe why a fellowship is the best way to support your long-term career goals and chosen career route
  • be able to demonstrate how your skills and experience match those of the ‘transition to independence’ career stage in the MRC applicant skills and experience table, such as showing evidence of career progression and clear plans to develop your own research niche
  • have the support of an eligible research organisation.

Medical or dental graduates should have specialty registrar or consultant status, or be at the equivalent level in general practice. If you have not completed your specialty training, you must have plans in place for doing so and have consulted your deanery before applying.

For non-medical healthcare professionals, you must have completed your professional training.

If you are a veterinarian, you may apply if you are a registered vet and a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

We will take into account any career breaks, flexible working and changes in discipline when assessing your research experience and current track record.

Read our guidance for reviewers on career breaks and flexible working (PDF, 40KB).

There are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience.

You are not eligible to apply if:

  • you want to continue research that you are undertaking in your current position, if this is the same as ongoing research by your current group or group leader
  • you have previously held a comparable intermediate fellowship from any organisation.

You can find out more in our guidance for fellowship applicants. Our frequently asked questions page also has further details on eligibility.

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, email us before beginning your application:

Global Talent visa

Clinician scientist fellowship holders are eligible for a Global Talent visa under the ‘exceptional promise’ category for future research leaders.

Find out about the Global Talent visa.

What we're looking for

We welcome applications from across all areas of MRC’s remit to improve human health, ranging from basic studies with relevance to mechanisms of disease, to translational and developmental clinical research.

We expect your clinical work will help to inform and strengthen your research work.

Explore MRC’s areas of scientific remit.

Science areas include:

  • infections and immunity
  • molecular and cellular medicine
  • population and systems medicine
  • neurosciences and mental health
  • translation
  • global health
  • methodology
  • public health.

We also welcome proposals for interdisciplinary approaches or research which will address global health issues and be of benefit to those living in low and middle-income countries.

The clinician scientist fellowship provides support for up to five years. We expect you to take advantage of the full five years’ funding available. If you are intending to apply for a shorter period, you should contact the programme manager ( before submitting a proposal. These periods are based on full-time equivalents.

Awards may be held on a part-time basis to meet personal commitments but not because of other professional commitments.

We expect you to take up your fellowship no more than six months after the date of the review meeting.

This fellowship scheme provides a competitive salary, giving you the chance to concentrate fully on your research, training and development. You may:

  • spend up to six hours a week (pro-rated for part-time fellowships) on other commitments such as teaching, demonstrating, other funded projects
  • undertake up to two clinical sessions a week.

Read MRC’s guidance on research staff development.

For surgeons and fellows undertaking patient-orientated projects where the clinical sessions will be of direct relevance to the research, applicants may undertake up to four clinical sessions a week.

We may allow greater flexibility on the time dedicated to non-fellowship activities (for example, those detailed above or obtaining grant support) during the second half of a fellowship. Email the programme manager at to discuss your plans.

Find out more about what to expect as an MRC fellow.

The clinician scientist fellowship award will cover the full cost of your salary, as well as:

  • support for research staff costs
  • consumables expenses
  • travel costs
  • appropriate capital equipment.

This award will also support a period of research overseas, at a second UK institution or within industry, whichever is most appropriate. We encourage successful applicants to take advantage of the opportunities this will provide to establish collaborative networks and cross-sector development.

There is no limit to the amount of funding you can request under this scheme, but requests must be appropriate to the project and you must be able to justify the amount you need to meet the objectives of your research proposal. Awards are made under the full economic costing framework.

MRC will typically fund 80% of the full economic cost. The research organisation must agree to find the balance of full economic cost from other resources.

You cannot hold a salaried position and a fellowship at the same time. If you are awarded a fellowship, you will need to give up the permanent position for the duration of the fellowship or change to a proleptic appointment.

If you want to retain an existing position and combine this with research funding, we recommend you look at one of our grant scheme funding opportunities instead.

Search funding opportunities.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

We recommend you start your application early. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

When applying select ‘new document’, then:

  • council: MRC
  • document type: fellowship proposal
  • scheme: fellowships, FEC
  • call: Clinician Scientist Fellowship Jan 2022.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

If you need further help, you can contact the Je-S help desk on 01793 444164 or by email

Your host organisation will be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.

The clinician scientist fellowship award opens three times a year, closing in:

  • January
  • April
  • September.

Find dates for future funding opportunities.

If you need advice on your suitability for an MRC fellowship scheme, email your CV using the CV template (DOCX, 57KB), to including:

  • a one-page project outline
  • a list of your publications
  • a description of how you meet the skills and experience for this scheme.

You may apply to any MRC fellowship scheme no more than twice even if your proposal changes. You should allow at least a year between submissions whether applying to the same or a different scheme.

If you want to reapply within a year you should request permission from the relevant programme manager before resubmission by emailing

Applying for a jointly funded clinician scientist fellowship

MRC collaborates with royal colleges and charity funders to offer jointly funded clinician scientist fellowships.

These awards offer the prestige of having the relevant organisation co-fund your fellowship and may offer additional opportunities to report on your project, present your work at meetings and take part in professional networking.

To apply for joint funding, you must include the joint funding form as part of your cover letter. Download the joint funding form.

Joint-funding does not alter the assessment process. We will offer all jointly funded fellowships under standard MRC terms and conditions, except where the co-funder has specified extra terms and conditions. If you apply for a jointly funded award which is not available for any reason, we will automatically consider you for a standard MRC fellowship instead.

Joint funders

We are inviting applications for the following four jointly funded clinician scientist fellowship schemes.

MRC-Motor Neurone Disease Association Lady Edith Wolfson Fellowships

These awards support clinicians who want to pursue research into the pathogenesis and treatment of motor neurone disease. The Motor Neurone Disease Association and MRC will co-fund successful applicants.

If you have any queries about this fellowship or your proposed research area, contact Dr Brian Dickie, Director of Research Development:

For more information on the application process, read the:

If you need further information, you can email us:

How we will assess your application

When we receive your application, we will check it to make sure it is within remit. It will then be peer reviewed by at least three independent experts from the UK and overseas.

You can nominate up to three independent reviewers. We will invite only one to assess your application and may decide not to approach any of your nominated reviewers.


Peer reviewers will assess your application and provide comments. They will also score it using the peer reviewer scoring system against the following criteria.

Read the detailed assessment criteria for each fellowship type.


How important are the questions, or gaps in knowledge, that are being addressed?

Scientific potential

What are the prospects for good scientific progress?

Resources requested

Are the funds requested essential for the work? And do the importance and scientific potential justify funding on the scale requested?

Does the proposal represent good value for money?


A sub-committee of members of the clinical training and career development panel will review these scores and comments at a shortlisting meeting. We continue with the highest-quality applications with potential to be funded.

If your application passes the shortlisting stage, we will invite you to interview and send you copies of the external reviewers’ comments.

Interviews with the clinical training and career development panel will usually last 30 minutes. We will contribute towards the cost of your return travel, modest subsistence costs and reasonable additional family care costs.


We will let you know as soon as possible after we have made a final decision about your application. This is usually within five working days of your interview.

If you reach the interview stage, we will send you feedback and let you know the reasons for the panel’s decision. If you are not invited to interview we will send you copies of the external reviewers’ comments.

We aim to make a decision within six months of receiving your application.

Find out more about:

Contact details

Ask about this funding opportunity


Get help with applying through Je-S

Telephone: 01793 444164

Opening times

The Je-S helpdesk is:

  • open Monday to Thursday 8:30 to 17:00
  • open Fridays 8:30 to 16:30
  • closed on weekends, bank holidays and other holidays.

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