Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Senior clinical fellowship

Apply for funding to help you become an internationally recognised research leader in your field.

Your research can focus on any area of MRC’s remit to improve human health.

You must:

  • be a registered healthcare professional
  • have a PhD or equivalent
  • have previous experience leading research funded by a UK or international funding organisation
  • be managing your own independent research group.

Your proposal must include plans for how you would develop into a leader in your field at an international level.

There’s no limit on the amount of funding you can apply for. We will fund project costs and 50% of your salary for up to five years.

MRC is preparing the transition of our funding opportunities to the new UKRI Funding Service.

You may need to apply to the next round of this opportunity using the new service. Check this opportunity at the time the next round opens for confirmation on how to apply.

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
  • veterinarians

Who is eligible

To be eligible for the senior clinical fellowship you must:

  • have completed a PhD or equivalent
  • have the skills and experience that match those of the ‘transition to leadership’ career stage in the MRC applicant skills and experience criteria, such as leading nationally competitive research and clear plans to develop into an internationally recognised leader in the field
  • be leading your own independent research group, as demonstrated by a strong track record of original and productive independent research and success in securing research funding
  • have the support of an eligible research organisation.

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

You are not eligible to apply if you have previously held a comparable senior fellowship from any organisation.


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

Your proposed project must be relevant to human health.

International applicants

Proposals are welcomed from applicants of all nationalities, including those not currently based in the UK.

This is subject to the fellowship being hosted by an eligible research organisation.

You will need to be registered with a regulatory body, such as the General Medical Council or the Health and Care Professions Council or have plans in place to hold the required registration by the proposed award start date.

Career breaks and flexible working

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 how to assess career breaks and flexible working.

MRC is supportive of applicants wishing to combine their research training with caring responsibilities.

All our fellowship awards may be held on a part-time basis or within flexible working arrangements.

Read our policy on part-time and flexible working.

Find out more

Further information can be found in guidance for fellowship applicants.

If you’re unsure whether you are eligible to apply, email before beginning your application.

What we're looking for

The aim of the scheme is to support internationally competitive independent investigators to:

  • lead an ambitious research programme
  • pursue research training opportunities to develop their career
  • make the transition to research leader.

You must be able to:

  • explain why a fellowship is the best way to support your long-term career goals and chosen career path to become a research leader, for example by identifying career development opportunities such as management and leadership training
  • show ambitious and credible ideas for using the fellowship to enable a step-change in your career
  • describe your experience of managing your own independent research group, including influencing and supporting others to maximise their potential
  • show how your skills and experience match those of the transition to leadership career stage in our applicant skills and experience criteria

A senior fellowship is not merely a large personal grant.

We welcome applications from across all areas of MRC’s remit to improve human health. This may range 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.

MRC science areas include:

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

Explore MRC’s areas of scientific remit.

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

What the fellowship gives you

The senior clinical 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, or 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-oriented 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.

Funding available

For the senior clinical fellowship, you can request a salary contribution of 50% of your total contracted working time. The expectation remains that 100% of your contracted working time is focused on your research, training, and development. Salary for the remaining 50% must be underwritten by the research organisation.

These awards are made under the full economic costing framework, with MRC funding 80% of the full economic cost. This will result in a total salary contribution of 40% from MRC and 60% from the research organisation.

The fellowship will also provide funding 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 the industry, whichever is most appropriate.

We encourage successful applicants to take advantage of these opportunities to establish collaborative networks and cross-sector development.

There is no limit to the amount of funding you can request under this scheme, however awards do not typically exceed £2 million (80% full economic cost).

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.

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 1 of our grant funding opportunities instead.

Search MRC grant funding opportunities.

Joint funders

MRC collaborates with royal colleges and charity funders to offer jointly-funded senior clinical 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.

We are inviting applications for the following jointly-funded senior clinical 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,

Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK is leading the fight against the UK’s biggest and growing health crisis. Our vision is a world where diabetes can do no harm and we fight diabetes through support, information, campaigning and research. As part of our research ambitions, we’re committed to attracting new research talent and retaining expertise so that we are growing the next generation of the future leaders.

We are partnering with MRC on a suite of research training fellowships to help grow investment in diabetes research careers. These include:

  • clinical research training fellowship
  • clinical scientist fellowship
  • senior clinical fellowship
  • career development award
  • senior non-clinical fellowship

We will jointly fund up to 1 fellowship annually across these funding schemes. We will consider high quality applications into any aspect of diabetes and its related complications.

For further information regarding the charity’s work, including the research strategy, please visit the Diabetes UK website.

How to apply

Before applying, you should read the information on the application process in the guidance for MRC fellowship applicants.

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

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: senior clinical fellowship (SCF) Apr 2023

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

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

The senior clinical fellowships award opens once a year, closing in April.

If you need advice on your suitability for an MRC fellowship scheme, email your CV using the fellowship CV template, to You must also include:

Resubmissions and other applications

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

You are allowed to apply for fellowship funding from other funders or research organisations at the same time. However, you may not have simultaneous fellowship applications under consideration by MRC and UK Research and Innovation fellowship schemes.

You must list any current applications in the ‘other support’ section of the Je-S form and mention your MRC application in any applications to other funders. For further information, see section 2.8 of the guidance for MRC fellowship applicants.

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 fellowship

To apply for joint funding, your application must include the jointly-funded fellowship 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.

Industrial partner information

If you want to include one or more industry partners as a project partner, you must also complete the project partner section in Je-S.

Each project partner must provide a project partner letter of support, a maximum of 2 pages on headed paper or a PDF of an email. The letter must:

  • be an integral part of the application
  • focus on the application it accompanies, which includes the requirement to include a project partner letter of support

Full details of the content the project partner should include in their letter of support, are provided in section 2.2.6 of the MRC guidance for applicants.

MRC industry collaboration framework

If your application involves the collaboration of one or more industrial partners, you should review the information published within the MRC industry collaboration framework (ICF) to decide if you should submit your application under the ICF.

After reading the ICF information, if you decide that your application will include industry collaboration, you will need to include the following within your application for each collaborating industry partner:

The completed ICF form should be uploaded to the Je-S attachments section using the ‘MICA form’ document type. Please type ‘Industry Collaboration Framework form’ in the description box.

The company letter of support must use the available template and be uploaded to the relevant project partner entry you are required to add to your Je-S application.

Further guidance

For more information on the application process, see:

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 or we 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.


We will assess the importance of the questions, or gaps in knowledge, that are being addressed.

Scientific potential

We assess what the prospects are for good scientific progress.

Resources requested

We will consider whether the funds requested are essential for the work, and whether the importance and scientific potential justify funding on the scale requested.

We will also assess whether the proposal represents good value for money.

Further information related to our assessment criteria

For more information about our assessment criteria read our detailed assessment criteria for each fellowship type.


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 the greatest 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 45 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 the MRC fellowship assessment process.

Read an overview of the MRC peer review process.

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help and advice on costings and writing your application please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity


Include ‘SCF’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 10 working days.

Get help with applying through Je-S



01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

The Global Talent visa

Senior clinical 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.

Supporting guidance

Guidance for MRC fellowship applicants
Guidance for reviewers on career breaks and flexible working
Guidance on NHS costs

Supporting documents

MRC fellowships CV template
Jointly-funded fellowship form
MRC data management plan template

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