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Future Leaders Fellowships: round eight

Fund Name

Future Leaders Fellowships: round eight

Project Length

Up to 4 years

Project Value

No min or max



Apply for funding to support ambitious research or innovation across UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) remit.

You must be an early career researcher or innovator who is either:

  • looking to establish or transition to independence
  • developing their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting

You must be based at, and have the support of, an eligible academic or non-academic institution.

There is no minimum or maximum project cost. Your project can last for up to four years, with the option to apply to renew for a further three years.

Check Your Eligibility

Fund details

UKRI looking to fund fellowships of up to seven years to support talented researchers and innovators who are transitioning to research or innovation leadership.

Fellowships will be funded for four years in the first phase, with the option to apply to renew for a further three years later on.

The scheme aims to:

  • develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK
  • foster new research and innovation career paths including those at the academic, business and interdisciplinary boundaries, and facilitate the movement of people between sectors
  • provide sustained funding and resources for the best early career researchers and innovators
  • provide long-term, flexible funding to tackle difficult and novel challenges, and support adventurous, ambitious programmes

UKRI welcome and encourages applicants from remits including the arts, humanities and social sciences and the seven technology families, as launched in the UK’s innovation strategy.

Fellowships can also lead and develop innovation. UKRI define innovation as the practical translation of disruptive ideas into novel, relevant and valued products, services, processes, systems or business models, making them readily available to markets, government and society, creating economic or social value from ideas.

Future Leaders Fellowships are personal awards to support fellows to develop as impactful and influential research or innovation leaders.

You are encouraged to think broadly about the type of activities you may pursue as part of your research or innovation objectives. This could include:

  • time for work in other environments
  • developing international links
  • developing new skills (for example, in policy or commercialisation)


This scheme is for early career researchers and innovators who are either:

  • are transitioning to or establishing independence
  • may be developing their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting

You do not need to hold a PhD and there are no eligibility rules based on the number of years since your PhD. However, if you do not hold a PhD, you must be able to demonstrate equivalent research or innovation experience or training.

There are no eligibility rules based on whether you currently hold a permanent or open-ended academic position or job role.

Applicants who have already achieved research or innovation independence (for example, by securing funding aimed at this career stage, or by already managing their own significant programme of work within a business) should not apply. Senior academics and innovators are not permitted to apply.

There is no limit to the amount of funding you can request under this scheme, but requests must be appropriate to the project and you must be able to justify the amount you need to meet the objectives of your proposal.

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme has funded fellowships from £300,000 to over £2 million, and there is no preference for lower or higher cost proposals.

The fellowship will provide salary support. For academic and Catapult-hosted fellows in partnership with the host, this is tapered throughout the fellowship, with host organisations required to commit to funding an increasing percentage of the applicant’s salary as the fellowship progresses.

The host organisation’s supporting letter should commit to the salary of the fellow. For academic applicants, it should confirm an open-ended UK-based independent research or innovation position to be taken up during or on the completion of the fellowship (in line with organisational employment policies and practices).

Talk to us today if you would like to apply for this opportunity.

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