Fellowships aim to facilitate research independence - some promote international mobility, some help people train or transition into a new area, and some support people returning to work after a career break or working part-time.

The tables below list early career fellowships under several categories with links to the funders’ web pages, deadlines and details about who is eligible to apply.
Once you have decided to apply for a fellowship, the PFDC’s ‘Preparing Successful Fellowship Applications’ workshop, Funders showcases, one-to-one support and mock interviews provide further support.

Using the tables

  • If you are calculating your eligibility and have had career breaks or have worked part-time at any point, remember to include this in your calculation.
  • You might be subject to additional criteria (such as nationality restrictions). Always check the funders’ websites for further details.
  • If interview dates are not listed, this means that the funder does not advertise this information or the information wasn’t available when the table was updated.
  • This list is not comprehensive but includes many UK and central EU fellowship funding sources. Ask colleagues in your department if they know of additional funding sources in your field. International colleagues might know of fellowships available in other countries.
  • In addition to this resource, you can use Idox GRANTfinder a website where you can search for international funding opportunities and sign up for tailored email bulletins. 
  • Always check the funders’ websites for further details – dates and information can change

Download the PDF version: Early Career Fellowship Categories‌‌

Early Career Fellowships Categories

1. Engineering

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

UKRI - Future Leaders Fellowships

  • Early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential.

New dates TBC

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Fellowships

  • No rules about years of postdoctoral experience.
  • Welcome applications from candidates who want to move back into research after any type of break from active research.
  • Choose Postdoctoral, Open or Synthetic Biology Fellowships.
  • See guidance on their website.

Ongoing – panel meets to discuss reviewed applications in October/December/February/
May/July/September.

 

ESA's postdoctoral Research Fellowship programme

  • Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD.
  • Be a citizen from one of the ESA Member States and European Cooperating States, or from Latvia and Slovenia as Associated Member States and Canada as a Cooperating State.
  • ESA job opportunities link, visit the recruiting website

To see open Research Fellowships, look for those positions titled Internal Research Fellow among the ESA job opportunities.

L’Oreal UK – Rising stars awards

 

 

  • Must identify as female.
  • No more than ten years' active full-time equivalent postdoctoral experience (discounting career breaks but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry).

31 May

Royal Academy of Engineering

  • The Academy welcomes applications from early-career researchers worldwide who have been awarded their PhD in the last four years. The scheme provides funding for five years.
  • See guidance on their website.

Applications will open early July-late September 2021.

 

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowships 

  • No more than three years' postdoc experience.

 

Applications open in October 2021. Deadline February 2022

Brunel Fellowship

  • No more than three years' postdoc experience.
  • Researchers in the core subjects of Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, or Aeronautical Engineering seeking to address the primary infrastructure needs of modern society.

Applications open in October 2021. Deadline February 2022

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Built Environment Fellowships

  • Specific themes will be advertised each year.

Applications open in June 2021

Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF)

  • Three-eight years of postdoc experience.
  • Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics.

Open - Tuesday 13 July 2021

Close - Tuesday 7 September 2021

 

Schlumberger Foundation

  • Preparing for postdoc, female, from developing country.

Opens in September, closes in November

2. Medicine Clinical

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

UKRI - Future Leaders Fellowships

  • Early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential.

New dates TBC

Alzheimer's Research UK Clinical Research Fellowship

  • Clinical Research Fellowships are intended for clinically qualified researchers, who ideally already hold a PhD.
  • For a detailed description of the skills and training you will be expected to demonstrate, please read our Early Career Researcher Framework.
  • Frequently asked questions on their website.

TBC

 

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Intermediate Clinical Research 

  • PhD/MD plus NTN & more than two years' specialist training but less than two years after CCT.  

Rolling, there are no closing dates – applications reviewed four times a year.

MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship (CSF)

  • Clinically qualified PhD/DPhil/MD or Vet Med (providing their project is of relevance to human health).
  • There are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience.

Opens - 12 February 2021

Closes - 7 April 2021

MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF)

  • Achieved PhD over five years ago but have not been research-active since, due to clinical commitments.
  • The CRTF supports clinicians, including (but not limited to) medics, surgeons, dentists, clinical psychologists, public health speciality trainees, allied health professionals, nurses, midwives and veterinarians, to undertake a PhD or other higher research degree.

Opens – 12 February 2021 

Closes – 7 April 2021

NIHR Advanced Fellowship

  • Hold a relevant PhD or MD, or have submitted your thesis for examination at the time of application (you must have been awarded a PhD or MD by the time you attend the interview).
  • Complete the relevant pre-registration training (for clinical academic applicants).

Opens – April

Closes – July

Interview – January

 

 

Opens – October

Closes – January

Interview - July

NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Award

  • be a current member of the NIHR Academy
  • have completed any relevant pre-registration training (clinical academic applications only).
  • hold a relevant PhD or MD, or have submitted their thesis for examination at the time of application – applicants must have been awarded their PhD or MD by the time they start.
  • ensure that any previous NIHR awards undertaken finished no longer than 12 months ago.
  • have not submitted a DSE application in the previous round.

Opens – January

Closes – March

Funding meeting – May

Opens – May

Closes – July

Funding meeting – September

Opens – September

Closes – November

Funding meeting - January

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Clinician Scientist 

  • Career level - Postdoc, Clinician, Health professional.

 

Preliminary submission –
1 April 2021

Full submission -
15 July 2021

Committee review - November 2021

Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowships

  • Want a clinical academic career and completed your thesis for a higher degree (preferably a PhD).
  • As a healthcare professional and you want to balance clinical work with a research career (clinical).

Final round in July 2021

 

Full application deadline – 6 July 2021

3. Medicine: non-clinical

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

UKRI - Future Leaders Fellowships

  • Early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential.

New dates TBC

Alzheimer’s Research UK Research Fellowship 

TBC

 

Alzheimer’s Society Junior Fellowship

  • Applicants will be within five years of their PhD viva. Allowances will be made for career breaks.

Currently on hold

Alzheimer’s Society Senior Fellowship

  • Applicants should be a minimum of five years from the date of PhD viva.

Currently on hold

Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellowship

  • More than three years of postdoc experience.

Opening: Wednesday 14 April 2021
Deadline: 16.00 Wednesday 14 July 2021

Versus Arthritis Foundation Fellowship

  • Within one year of completing their PhD at the time of application.

Opening: Wednesday 14 April 2021
Deadline: 16.00 Wednesday 14 July 2021

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Immediate Postdoctoral Basic Science 

  • Candidates should have no more than two years of postdoctoral research experience from the date of the PhD viva.

Rolling, there are no closing dates – applications reviewed four times a year 

Please submit the application when it is ready

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Intermediate Basic Science 

  • Usually at least three to six years of successful postdoctoral work.

Rolling, there are no closing dates – applications reviewed four times a year 

Please submit the application when it is ready

MRC Career Development Award (CDA)

  • There are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience.

Opens – 6 August 2021

Closes – 15 September 2021

Shortlisting date – 13 January 2022

Meeting dates: 16-17 February 2022

MRC Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship (SNCF)

  • There are no eligibility rules based on years of post-doctoral experience.

Opens – 6 August 2021

Closes – 15 September 2021

Shortlisting date – 13 January 2022

Meeting dates: 16-17 February 2022

MRC New Investigator Research Grant (NIRG)

  • There are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience.
  • Applicants can hold a lecturer appointment, a junior fellowship, or be in another research staff position.

Depends on the panel

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Career Development 

  • You should be able to demonstrate that you meet the range of skills and experience as outlined in the ‘establishing independence’ career stage in our Fellowships Competency Framework

Preliminary submission -

1 April 2021

Final submission -

15 July 2021

Committee review -

November 2021

 

 

 

 The Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Intermediate Research Fellowships

  • Should hold a PhD (or equivalent), there are no eligibility rules based on years of postdoctoral experience

Deadline - 1 July 2021 

Meeting - November 2021 

Interviews for shortlisted candidates are likely to be in October/November 2021

Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Junior Research Fellowships

  • One-four years of postdoc experience 

Deadline - 1 July 2021 

Meeting - November 2021 

Applications for the Junior Fellowships 2022 (ie any awarded are anticipated to start in 2022) 

Interviews for shortlisted candidates are likely to be in October/November 2021

Kidney Research UK Intermediate Fellowships (non-clinical)

  • Two-three years of postdoc experience to specialise in renal research.

December

Kidney Research UK Senior Fellowships (non-clinical)

  • Extensive postdoctoral experience and already has demonstrated a sustained ability to conduct independent research

December

L’Oreal UK – Rising stars awards

 

 

  • Must identify as female.
  • No more than ten years' active full-time equivalent postdoctoral experience (discounting career breaks but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry).

31 May

NIHR Advanced Fellowship

  • Hold a relevant PhD or MD, or have submitted your thesis for examination at the time of application (you must have been awarded a PhD or MD by the time you attend the interview)
  • Complete the relevant pre-registration training (for clinical academic applicants).

Opens – April

Closes – July

Interview – January

Opens – October

Closes – January

Interview - July

NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Award

  • be a current member of the NIHR Academy
  • have completed any relevant pre-registration training (clinical academic applications only)
  • hold a relevant PhD or MD or have submitted their thesis for examination at the time of application – applicants must have been awarded their PhD or MD by the time they start.
  • ensure that any previous NIHR awards undertaken finished no longer than 12 months ago.
  • have not submitted a DSE application in the previous round.

Opens – January

Closes – March

Funding meeting – May

Opens – May

Closes – July

Funding meeting – September

Opens – September

Closes – November

Funding meeting - January

Wellcome

Early-Career Awards

  • You must have a PhD and generally no more than three years of postdoctoral research experience.

Applications open August 2021

Deadline November 2021

 

Wellcome Career Development Awards

  • completed one or two substantial periods of research after your initial training.
  • made important contributions to your area of research.
  • You can already be a fellow.
  • You may have been appointed to your first permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract within the last three years. If this applies to you, you can’t ask for your own salary with this award.

Applications Open August 2021

Deadline November 2021

Prostate Cancer UK Travelling Prize Fellowships

  • Within four years of their PhD

 

Closing date 24 June 2021

4. Natural Sciences

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

UKRI - Future Leaders Fellowships

  • Early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential.

Future rounds TBC

BBSRC Discovery Fellowships

 

  • There is no limit on the number of years of postdoc experience. 
  • You must have completed a successful PhD viva by 30 November 2021

Opens - 9 February 2021

Closes - 6 May 2021

BBSRC David Phillips Fellowships

  • At least three years of postdoctoral experience

Temporarily paused

ESA's postdoctoral Research Fellowship programme

  • Preference will be given to applications submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD.
  • Be a citizen from one of the ESA Member States and European Cooperating States, or from Latvia and Slovenia as Associated Member States and Canada as a Cooperating State.
  • ESA job opportunities link, visit the recruiting website

To see open Research Fellowships, look for those positions titled Internal Research Fellow among the ESA job opportunities.

Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)

  • Have a PhD
  • Must have at least one lead author, full-length research paper (in an international peer-reviewed journal or published on a pre-print server such as bioRxiv)

Opens April – May 2021

L’Oreal UK – Rising stars awards

 

 

  • Must identify as female.
  • No more than ten years' active full-time equivalent postdoctoral experience (discounting career breaks but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry).

31 May

NERC Independent Research Fellowships

  • Up to eight years of postdoc experience 

Opens – TBC

Ramsay Trust Memorial Fellowship

15 November

RAS Research and Norman Lockyer Fellowships

  • Up to five years of postdoctoral experience.

October 

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowships 

  • No more than three years of postdoc experience.

Applications open in October 2021 – Deadline February 

Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF)

  • Three-eight years of postdoc experience.
  • Research must be within the Royal Society’s remit of natural sciences, which includes but is not limited to biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics.

Open - Tuesday 13 July 2021

Close - Tuesday 7 September 2021

Schlumberger Foundation

  • Preparing for postdoc, female, from developing country.

Opens in September 

Closes in November

Stephen Hawking Fellowships

  • Excellent researchers who will make significant contributions to the field of theoretical physics

TBC – Usually opens in September and closes in November

Wellcome

Early-Career Awards

  • You must have a PhD and generally no more than three years of postdoctoral research experience.

Applications Open August 2021

Deadline November 2021

Wellcome Career Development Awards

  • completed one or two substantial periods of research after your initial training.
  • made important contributions to your area of research.
  • You can already be a fellow
  • You may have been appointed to your first permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract within the last three years. If this applies to you, you can’t ask for your own salary with this award.

Applications Open August 2021

Deadline November 2021

5. Multi-disciplinary

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

UKRI - Future Leaders Fellowships

  • Early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential

Next rounds TBC

ESRC postdoctoral fellowships

  • Completed their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT and who are within 12 months of passing their viva voce.

See DTP/CDT preliminary rounds

Full applications March

Imperial College Research Fellowships

  • Up to four years of postdoc experience 

August 2021

Leverhulme Early Career Research

  • No more than four years from PhD viva
  • Not have a permanent academic position

February

Marie Curie Individual Fellowship

  • PhD or four years' research experience  

September

Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Ernest Rutherford 

  • PhD and some postdoctoral research experience (no years since PhD). 
  • Check department requirements

September

6. Support for specific groups

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

Daphne Jackson – scientists re-entering after a career break.

  • have had a career break of two or more years,
    taken for family, caring or health reasons.
  • have at least three years of research experience and/or a PhD
  • wish to return to a research-based career

Rolling (except sponsored calls) 

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin – scientists who need to work flexibly.

  • Up to six years of postdoc experience 

Opens - Wednesday 8 September 2021

Closes - Wednesday 10 November 2021

L’Oreal UK – Rising stars awards

  • Must identify as female.
  • No more than 10 years' active full-time equivalent postdoctoral experience (discounting career breaks but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry).

31 May

London Mathematical Society – Grace Chrisholm Young Fellowship

  • Have a PhD and be returning from a career break

31 December and 30 June

Schlumberger Foundation 

  • Preparing for postdoc, female, from developing country 

November

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) - Return to research support bursary
  • Usually returning from a break of two years or more 

 Rolling

Wellcome Sanger Janet Thornton Fellowship

  • At least one year of postdoctoral experience returning after a break of one year or more, for any reason 

TBC

7. Moving countries

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) – Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Up to two years of postdoctoral experience.
  • Must move between countries.

No deadlines (panels meet in February and August)

Marie Curie Individual Fellowship

  • PhD or four years of research experience  

September

Schlumberger Foundation

  • Preparing for postdoc, female, from developing country 

Opens – September

Closes - November

8. Training/Transitional

Fellowship name

Eligibility

Deadline

Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)

  • Have a PhD
  • Must have at least one lead author, full-length research paper (in an international peer-reviewed journal or published on a pre-print server such as bioRxiv)

Opens April – May 2021

Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowships

  • Want a clinical academic career and completed your thesis for a higher degree (preferably a PhD).
  • As a healthcare professional and you want to balance clinical work with a research career (clinical).

Final round in July 2021

Full application deadline – 6 July 2021