MRC Board and Panel Associates Scheme

We recruit new associates to our boards and panels every year. We will open again for applications in early 2025.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) Board and Panel Associates Scheme provides researchers the opportunity to gain experience of peer review, serve on an MRC funding board or panel and benefit from mentorship as part of a two-year programme. It is aimed at researchers from underrepresented groups who are actively transitioning to independence and leadership.

The scheme aims to nurture diverse talent and support the development and retention of researchers needed for the future research and development workforce. It is part of the objectives in our strategic delivery plan.

MRC also has a board and panel observer’s scheme. Find more information about the scheme.

What the scheme offers

The scheme offers valuable experience that is an integral part of building a successful research career. Benefits include:

  • increasing insight into best practice in biomedical research
  • enhanced understanding of how we make funding decisions and ensure we fund the best quality science
  • developing insight into strategic considerations of funding and requirements for publicly funded research
  • gaining insight into the qualities of successful applications to help improve future grant submissions and competitiveness in the application process
  • developing skills as peer reviewers
  • using your expertise to contribute towards research funding decisions
  • receiving mentorship and training in peer review
  • networking with peers

MRC will monitor the impact of the scheme over the course of a three-year pilot, and seek regular feedback from associates. We will make any necessary changes to ensure that our approach remains responsive to our data and the needs of the research community.

How to apply

This scheme is currently closed. It will open again for applications in early 2025 for selected boards and panels. Details will be available on this page.

UK Research and Innovation is Disability Confident Committed. We will do our best to support any particular requirements to enable you to apply, and participate fully as a board or panel associate if you are successful.

Selection process

We may lawfully prioritise applicants from underrepresented groups to:

  • mitigate disadvantage linked to certain characteristics in the wider research and innovation sector
  • address disproportionate levels of participation and disparities in award rates identified in our data

We strive for representation from research organisations across the UK. When shortlisting, we will consider geographical location and institution type along with the areas of expertise that would be complementary to our existing board and panel memberships. A limited number of two places per board or panel are available.

We will also consider applicants from other countries if their full participation is practical (able to travel to attend meetings in the UK or participate virtually during UK business hours). The Applied Global Health Research Board particularly encourages applicants based in low and middle-income countries.

Time commitment for associates

For board and panel associates we anticipate that the average amount of time would be one day a month going up to two days in the second year. Meetings and preparatory work need to take place at specific times across the year.

Research boards currently meet three times a year. Each meeting lasts one to two full days depending on the size of the agenda. Panels and the Applied Global Health Research Board meet two or three times a year.

We continue to hold some meetings virtually, as well as in person where possible, to improve engagement and networking. Attendance at in-person meetings is expected, with hybrid and flexible options available for people with particular requirements such as reasonable adjustments.


We will reimburse travel (standard class) and subsistence expenses (including family care costs) as appropriate for attendance at in-person meetings.

Ask a question about the scheme


Further information

Equality impact assessment

Last updated: 31 May 2024

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