Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Transition support for MRC intermediate fellows

Apply for funding for up to 2 years. The scheme is for current fellows whose research has been affected by several issues. It will allow you to:

  • regain research momentum
  • achieve the objectives of your fellowship

You can apply if you:

  • currently hold an MRC career development award or clinician scientist fellowship
  • are in the final 18 months of your fellowship

We will fund:

  • half of your salary
  • salaries of existing staff members
  • a small consumables budget

This is an ongoing annual scheme. The single application round opens once every year in September, closing 6 weeks later in October.

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for an MRC transition support award, you must:

  • be a current MRC career development award holder or MRC clinician scientist fellowship award holder
  • be in the final 18 months of your fellowship

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

MRC is committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants, and encourages applications from a diverse range of researchers from all backgrounds.

We support individuals and research teams to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Read MRC’s guidance on flexible working and career breaks. Applicants can also find out more about MRC’s current EDI initiatives and read UK Research and Innovation’s draft equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.

What we're looking for

A transition support award provides funding of up to 2 years to intermediate MRC fellows whose research momentum has been impacted by multiple issues.

You must have made extensive progress and demonstrated productivity. However, due to genuine mitigating circumstances, you will not yet have achieved the outputs that will enable you to be competitive for the next funding stage.

You will need to demonstrate the added value that a transition support award will offer you, clearly articulating how your proposed plans for the resources and time requested would enable you to regain research momentum and provide a platform towards research leadership.

What we will fund

We will fund 80% of the full economic costs of your project. You can request funding for the following:

  • 50% of your salary
  • salary costs for existing staff members on your fellowship
  • a small consumables budget

There is no limit on the level of resource you can apply for, however we expect you to justify the funds you are applying for. The typical value of funded applications is around £400,000.

If you have previously been granted a post award amendment (PAA) for your current MRC fellowship award, you are still eligible to apply for transition support. However, you should highlight why this support was insufficient and demonstrate why additional support via a transition support award is required within your case for support.

If you have accessed the UK Research and Innovation COVID-19 grant extension allocation, you can still apply for transition support funding. However, you will be required to demonstrate why further support via the transition support scheme is required as a result of delays or impacts other than COVID-19.

What we will not fund or allow

The host research organisation will need to provide the other 50% of your salary for the duration of the award. We will not provide further funding for your existing MRC fellowship award through this scheme.

You will not be permitted to transfer underspend from your current fellowship to the transition support award. Applicants should take this into account when requesting research costs for activities that will take place during the transition support award period and when choosing a start date for their transition support award. If there is significant funding remaining on your fellowship, you should consider a no-cost extension through the MRC PAA process instead.

Support from your host institution

Your host research organisation will contribute 50% of your total salary for the duration of the award. This contribution reflects MRC’s expectation of the host research organisation commitment to support talented researchers at this level. This commitment should be clearly outlined in a letter of support from a senior authority within the host research organisation.

The host research organisation is expected to commit to an open-ended position by the end of your award, in line with their institutional policy.

The expectation remains that 100% of your contracted working time is focused on your research, training and development, as per MRC’s standard fellowship terms and conditions.

What we are not looking for

MRC does not expect to receive applications from you if you:

  • have already achieved the outputs required for being competitive in applying for your next career stage
  • require seed funding for new research projects or outputs not related to the overall aims of the MRC fellowship award
  • require funding to cover delays or impacts solely due to COVID-19. This should be requested via the MRC PAA process. However, it is recognised that COVID-19 is likely to have exacerbated the impact of other factors which have affected research momentum. If you have experienced delays due to COVID-19 as well as other factors, then you can apply for transition support

If you are unsure whether transition support or a PAA would be more suitable for your individual circumstances, please contact fellows@mrc.ukri.org for further advice.

How to apply

Transition from Je-S to the Funding Service

From January 2024, research council opportunities will be launched and managed through the new UK Research and Innovation Funding Service.

Responsive mode opportunities (such as this) will gradually transition from the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system to the Funding Service during 2023.

Please revisit this opportunity page during August 2023, when we will be able to confirm how you are able to apply.

How we will assess your application

When we receive your application, it will be assessed in a 2-step process:

  • clinical and non-clinical training and career development panel members will firstly expertly review your application
  • your application will then be assessed further by a sub-group of these panels, at a meeting where a funding decision will be made

Assessment criteria

Research achievements

We will carefully consider if you have clearly made progress with your fellowship, against the key deliverables and objectives of your intermediate award.

For example, we will consider if your current outputs provide evidence that your career trajectory is on the path towards research leadership.

We will consider all your achievements and outputs in evaluating your productivity. For example:

  • innovative collaborations or networks
  • an ability to identify and maximise potential in others
  • invitations to seminars or conferences
  • opportunities to access career development support, such as mentoring and professional training development, and relevant training courses
  • presentation at scientific conferences and public science fairs
  • influence in their research field such as participation in peer review, committee membership or contribution to publications

We will also assess the following:

  • if there is clear evidence you have been unable to consolidate your fellowship due to mitigating circumstances
  • if you have clearly evidenced your productivity to date and any mitigating strategies to counter these circumstances and if these circumstances are distinct from those covered by the current MRC post-award amendment route for additional support
  • whether you have made a strong enough case that without a transition support award, you will not be able to fully establish yourself as an independent researcher and be competitive at the next funding stage
  • whether your application provides evidence that additional funding will enable you to maximise your potential and competitiveness by consolidating and expanding existing work
  • whether your outputs can be achieved within the timeframe requested

Leadership, profile and influence

We will assess the following:

  • if you have clearly articulated and evidenced your research leadership potential
  • if you have established your research niche
  • if there is evidence of building collaborations and networks and recognition of your research in the community and on an international level
  • if there is evidence you have learnt new skills or spent time within industry or in a second research centre, as described in the original award
  • if you have demonstrated awareness of your research field and provided evidence of how you have influenced the field and the wider agenda
  • if you have clearly demonstrated that you have maximised the potential of staff employed on your award

Institutional support

We will assess if your host research organisation has adequately supported you with the following:

  • a strong letter of support, which clearly outlines how the support you have received from your host organisation has assisted you with the objectives of your current MRC funded fellowship to date (if applicable)
  • a committed approach to supporting you with your research leadership goals, whilst continuing to provide the appropriate support and mentorship to you
  • protection of your research time, to allow 100% of your contracted working time to be used solely for research, training and development
  • a commitment to provide you with a 50% salary contribution that matches the MRC contribution for the duration of the award
  • a commitment to offering you a secure open-ended position at the end of the award, in line with your institutional policies

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

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

Ask a question about this opportunity

Email: fellows@mrc.ukri.org

Include ‘Transition Support’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 10 working days.

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