Future Leaders Fellowships is a £900 million fund that is helping to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across UK business and academia. The latest funding round has just been launched, with a deadline of 8th October.

This cross-UK Research and Innovation scheme supports early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments including research councils’ institutes and laboratories.

The support will enable each fellow to tackle ambitious and challenging research and innovation and develop their own careers.

Fellows will benefit from:

  • A scheme that is committed to supporting excellent researchers and innovators regardless of their background.  Fellowships can be held on a part-time basis for personal commitments and/or as part of a job share.
  • Networking across their cohort of some of the UK’s most talented researchers and innovators from different disciplines and sectors, putting them at the forefront of modern, interdisciplinary research.
  • A career boost, including time and investment for training and professional development, providing a route to an open-ended contract for academically hosted fellows (in line with organisational policies and practices).

Academic hosts will benefit from:

  • Support for early career researchers and innovators on their route to independence, providing an opportunity for them to establish new research teams within their institution.
  • Funding available for up to seven years, on a 4(+3) basis, allowing long term focus on a particular research or innovation problem.
  • The opportunity to attract and retain the most talented international researchers to their institution.

Business hosts will benefit from:

  • Funding of up to £1.2 million over a four-year period, but with considerable flexibility available.
  • The ability to attract an individual, or develop an existing employee, who will help create innovative solutions for their business. This could include bringing the most talented international innovators to work in their business in the UK.
  • A new Reduced Hours Fellowship, in which fellows are able to spend up to 40 percent of their time focused on other activities within the business in order to enhance their career.
  • The option to collaborate with other organisations (business, academic,  public, and third sector)

Organisations can also be involved with Future Leaders Fellowships through collaborations and partnerships.

For full details of how a Future Leaders Fellowship could benefit you, see the call documents.

A number of changes to the scheme have been implemented for round 4 so please read the revised guidance for applicants.

Through these changes the Future Leaders Fellowships aim to provide increased flexibility, acknowledging the diversity of needs across different organisations and sectors.

To encourage business hosted applications additional flexibility and emphasis on flexibility are being trialed for rounds 4 and 5. This is in direct response to the feedback from business. The aim of the scheme remains developing a researcher or innovator and capability  that is nationally or internationally leading edge, and goes beyond what other, smaller project grants could support.

Scheme flexibility includes:

  • The fellowship may be made up of a single programme of work, or through multiple consecutive or concurrent interlinked projects led by the fellow (a ‘Portfolio Fellowship’). Where multiple shorter projects are spread over the 4 or 4(+3) years, applicants should ensure the proposed research/innovation is of sufficient scale and ambition to maximise the potential and career prospects of the fellow.
  • Flexibility where the direction of the fellow’s project changes part way through the grant, or the fellow is no longer able to continue the grant.
  • For business hosted fellows only, recognising state aid restrictions, business hosted fellows may spend up to 40 percent of their time on unfunded activities which are essential to their career, but are not directly relevant to the fellowship.
  • While we expect that the level of capability being aimed for will usually need sustained development over four years we recognise that a change in business circumstances may mean an award is relinquished early.

Applications that address programmes of innovation, are business led, collaborate with business or that encourage the movement of researchers between academia and business, are particularly encouraged to apply to round 4.

Before applying

If you have further queries, see the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 709KB) (please note this document will be updated regularly).

Outline proposal

Outline proposals are mandatory for each applicant intending to submit to round 4 of this scheme. The deadline for receiving these is 16:00 on 8 October 2019.

  • Applicants in host organisations that are not registered with Je-S (for example, businesses that have not previously applied for a grant from a research council) can submit their outline proposal through an online form. You will still need to register with Je-S later if you wish to proceed and submit a full application.
  • Applicants in host organisations that are already registered with Je-S (universities, research organisations and some businesses) will need to submit their outline proposal through that grant management system. You should ensure sufficient time to create Je-S accounts for both the fellow and any co-investigators.

The outline proposal will need to cover basic details about the proposal, including any co-investigators and project partners, a summary of the proposed fellowship and other information as appropriate. Full information on what information you will need to include in your outline proposal is in section two of the Guidance for applicants.

If you do not submit an outline proposal for round 4 before this deadline, then you will not be able to submit a full application to this round.

Full details here