Students working on audio experiments in a laboratory

How to apply for independent research fellowships

Are you ready to direct a research programme independently?

Do you want to establish your own group in a highly dynamic and collaborative bioengineering department?

We are keen to support independent research fellowship applications from exceptionally strong candidates whose bioengineering research programmes will bring synergy with ours. We are a dynamic, collaborative, and international community that welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds!

Independent Research Fellowships are career development grants for promising future leaders of a given field to start their first independent research group. There are many schemes in the UK (for a partial list, please see below), and they tend to be open to candidates from any country. Most fellowships are externally funded and last for 4-8 years; the packages vary depending on the schemes, but they cover the applicant's salary and additional research funds (sometimes including costs for other group members).

There are many independent fellowships suitable for new group leaders in Bioengineering, for example:

Each scheme has unique criteria for selection, and each candidate is expected to consider their eligibility and suitability carefully. 

Please note that there are some schemes that we don’t support. The department will not call for standard Imperial College Research Fellowship applications in the foreseeable future. 

Details on the application process

What we offer

  • Mentorship and admin support for the preparation of the applications
  • Academic mentorship and career development support during the fellowship
  • Lab and office space suitable for your research
  • Access and support to appropriate research facilities and resources
  • Opportunity to host research students (PhD, MRes) and student projects (MEng, MSc, undergraduate)
  • Some exposure and training in academic responsibilities besides research teaching and admin
  • Additional career development support by Imperial’s highly regarded Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre.

Pathway to an independent research fellowship in the Department of Bioengineering

We are committed to supporting independent research fellows well, so we cannot support all applications. We have set a streamlined and clear process in place to consider expressions of interest in a timely manner. In May-June, we go through the expressions of interest to apply for the year, with the decision for host support clarified in time for the upcoming fellowship application cycle (summer to summer). In this process, we will ask the shortlisted candidates to give a seminar and discuss the plan with a selection committee.

Expression of interest deadline: Thursday 29th February 2024
Please submit the following materials in one PDF document via e-mail to

  • A cover letter
    Please include details on the following:
    1) Your readiness to become an independent researcher
    2) Which schemes you are interested in applying to
    3) Why the Department Bioengineering is the best host for your group
    4) Name(s) of potential mentors in our department
    5) Names and e-mails of two academic references who we may contact upon shortlisting
  • A research vision and plan statement
    This should be up to two pages including references. While we are not expecting a fully formed proposal, we would like to know enough about your plans to recognise the significance and the fit to your track record and our department’s research portfolio. 

  • A full-length CV (including a full publication list)

Any questions?

Please contact Dr Naomi Nakayama, the Departmental Fellowship Support Coordinator, by sending an e-mail to: