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Are you a Future Leader? UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships: Insights

In this blog post, Rosie Maccagnano, UK Research Funding Manager in Edinburgh Research Office shares insights about the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships scheme and what to do if you are interested in applying.

About the scheme

UKRI are about to announce Round 7 of their cross-council flagship initiative.  The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships scheme aims to develop and support research and innovation talent with one of the most generous fellowship packages currently available, offering funding of up to £1.5M for 4 years and the possibility to extend for another 3 years.

Is this for you?

The fellowship is a transformational opportunity for early career researchers and innovators transitioning to or establishing independence.  It provides funding at a crucial career stage where a significant step-change is proposed.  The scheme has provision for career breaks, flexible working arrangements and job share. If you’re thinking of applying, consider the following:

  • Are you an early career researcher ready for research independence? (check the scheme’s eligibility criteria)
  • Why is this fellowship the most appropriate funding for you and your programme of research? What will you gain from a long-term, flexible fellowship rather than, for example, a standard grant?
  • What would be the demonstrable impact if you gained an FLF award? Why you?  Why now?  Think about the added value the fellowship allows.
  • Leadership: what would a tailored programme of training, mentorship and support look like which you and your team would need to ensure you maximise your potential?

What are UKRI looking for?

Four factors are considered in assessing the application:

  • Research and innovation excellence:  what makes your project outstanding?
  • Applicant and their development: These fellowships support individuals who are in the early stages of establishing themselves as leaders in their field or sector.  How will the research contribute to research landscape at national/international level? Evidence your independence and leadership potential.  Detail training and development plans for you and your team, and the support/mentoring which will be put in place.
  • Impact and strategic relevance:  the importance and potential impact of the research for society and/or the economy.
  • Research and innovation environment and cost: why is this host institution the best place for you as the applicant, and how will it support your programme of work.

What your host School/Institute would commit to   

  • Tapered salary commitment from year 3, with the aim of offering an open-ended position during or at the end of the Fellowship (please check with your intended host School/Institute).
  • A supportive research/innovation environment by providing relevant training, mentoring, support and (if relevant) access to specialist research facilities.


If you are interested in applying for an FLF, please work with your School/Institute Research Office and your Edinburgh Research Office Research Funding Specialist in the first instance.  Schools/Institutes have an internal selection process so please check before you start your application.


Future Leaders Fellowships – UKRI

Edinburgh Research Office


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