UKRI individual merit promotion (IMP) scheme

The IMP scheme aims to recognise researchers who have made an outstanding personal contribution in their field. Scientists with an excellent track record in research or in the development of new techniques or instrumentation can apply for promotion to senior grades (Band G and above), without additional administrative responsibilities.

The scheme provides a means of retaining key staff at the cutting edge of their fields, in a very competitive national and international market for leading scientists. There are currently 89 IMP scientists in post.

Who can apply

Applicants will be senior scientists with an excellent track record in research or in the development of new techniques or instrumentation. Along with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), there are several other government-funded bodies who participate in the scheme. Currently, these are:

  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC):
    • British Antarctic Survey
    • British Geological Survey
  • National Oceanography Centre
  • UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Natural History Museum
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

How to apply

The IMP process is an annual cycle with a nomination deadline of 1 October, followed by a paper board in November-December and final interviews scheduled for March-April.

Individuals submit their nominations using the IMP nomination form. Nominations must be supported by a relevant director within the applicant’s organisation.

There are three different grades within the scheme (level 1 to 3), depending on degree of skills, experience and scientific contributions:

  • IMP level 3: candidates must have a good international reputation
  • IMP level 2: candidates should be established leaders in their field with an excellent international reputation
  • IMP level 1: candidates should be of pre-eminent international standing and acclaim, and world leaders in their subject and specialism

See more details about requirements in the IMP procedure document.

How your application is assessed

The nominations are assessed by the IMP panel, a group of independent members with relevant knowledge and expertise overseeing the scheme. The panel will identify experts to assist them with the final interviews, once the initial sift has been completed.

Decision-making authority rests with the panel, who determine that the scheme is operating as intended and that decisions are consistent and reasonable.

Periodic review

Candidates hold an individual merit promotion only as long as they continue to meet the criteria for the scheme, and continue to maintain the standards for which it was awarded.

Periodic reviews are held to ensure that the overall and individual standards of the scheme are being rigorously maintained. Each holder of an IMP will be fully reviewed within a maximum of five years from the initial promotion.

If the application for review does not appear to meet the required standards, the holder will be offered an interview. Please see the IMP periodic review submission form.​​​​

Ask us about the individual merit promotion scheme

Angela Roythorne, UKRI IMP Manager


Last updated: 20 July 2023

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