The Transition Support award is specifically designed for fellows whose research momentum has been impacted by multiple issues that have affected their productivity and subsequent outputs. They will have progressed their research and met many of the criteria for research leadership already (see assessment criteria), however due to genuine mitigating circumstances they will not yet be competitive for the next funding stage.
Financially, the MRC will support 50% of the fellows’ salary, salary costs of key staff members and a small consumables budget for the duration of the award; the expectation is that most of the consumable and animal costs required could be absorbed by underspend of their fellowship incurred by delays. The host research organisation will need to provide the other 50% salary commitment for the duration of the award. This reflects our expectation of a commitment from research organisations to support talented researchers at this level. The expectation remains that 100% of the fellow’s contracted working time is focussed on their research, training and development, as per MRC’s standard fellowship terms and conditions.
Candidates will need to demonstrate the added value that a Transition Support award will offer them, providing evidence of their research potential, clearly articulating how their proposed plans for the resources and time requested would provide a platform towards research leadership.
A Transition Support award is NOT, in isolation, seed funding for new research projects or outputs not related to the overall aims of the MRC Fellowship award. Individuals who have already achieved the outputs required for being competitive in applying for the next funding stage, are unlikely to be successful.
The MRC already has a Post-Award Amendment (PAA) mechanism which allows costed or no-cost extensions to existing MRC awards. In addition to covering statutory requirements such as parental leave and sick leave, this mechanism supports requests for non-recruitment of staff and to cover exceptional unforeseen delays which were out with the control of the fellow. The PAA route tends to provide like-for-like no-cost extensions for discrete delays and in exceptional circumstances additional funding. Candidates who have previously had a PAA are still eligible to apply for Transition Support, but candidates should highlight why this support was insufficient and demonstrate why additional support via a Transition Support award is required.
Beyond a like-for-like extension, candidates should evidence the added value of a Transition Support award in regaining their research momentum, including factors such as research continuity (for example, retention of key staff, job security).
Candidates whose delays could be directly addressed by the Post-Award Amendment (PAA) process are unlikely to be competitive and candidates may be redirected to the PAA process.
A Transition Support award is not intended to cover delays or impacts solely due to COVID‑19. Candidates should ask their research organisation about access to the UKRI COVID-19 grant extension allocation instead.