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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


Fellowships available for early career researchers and innovators looking to establish or transition to independent research careers.

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Apply (see below)

  • Internal deadline: 14th September
  • Funder deadline: 6th December
  • Total Fund: £100,000,000 (no minimum or maximum award vaule)
  • Duration: up to 4 years

*Please note: this call is being managed in accordance with the University of Cambridge restricted calls procedure.*

The UKRI have released their guidance for Round 7 of the Future Leaders Fellowships Scheme. 

This scheme aims to support early career researchers and innovators who are transitioning to or establishing research independence. 

More information on the scheme can be found in the General Scheme Overview and the Scheme Guidance for Round 7.  

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

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

We are offering funding to support ambitious research or innovation programmes across UKRI’s remit.

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

There is no minimum or maximum award value.

Your project can last for up to four years, with the option to apply to renew for a further three years.

Feedback from UKRI:

The UKRI has provided some feedback/guidance from previous rounds which might be useful:

  • Person specification
    • The scheme is aimed at candidates who are not already established and independent, though those who currently hold permanent/open-ended contracts can apply with specific justification (please see section 2.1 of the Scheme Guidance for more information). Previous feedback from UKRI panels suggest that the University is putting forward candidates that are not competitive, as they have levels of funding or responsibility normally indicative of research independence within their discipline/area. 
  • The UKRI have deliberately not restricted the definition of ‘early career’ to ensure that the scheme is open to candidates from non-traditional backgrounds and is accessible from a diversity of career paths and experiences within R&I. For example, if a candidate comes into a lecturer post from an established background in industry, but is new to academia, they could be considered early career. It is up to the applicant to explain how they fit into the ‘early career’ stage. Relatedly, the funder stresses that this is a flexible scheme that allows part-time working and job share. 
  • The profile of successful applicants to this scheme has evolved through each round, so for more information regarding competitive candidates, please refer to section 2.1 and Annex B of the Scheme Guidance. For the full list of awardees, see the database here.
  • EDI & disciplinary split
    • There is less diversity than expected in applications, which is reflected in the awards. UKRI has reported that overall, diversity rates improved for both awards and applications in round 6 relative to the previous 5 rounds. UKRI strongly encourages universities to review their internal selection criteria and processes to ensure that all potential applicants have a fair chance of being put forward through a transparent selection process based on ability and potential.
    • There are significantly more applications from STEM subjects compared to AHSS subjects, but there is not a difference in award rates. The UKRI encourages more applicants from AHSS subjects. 

Guidance on the open-ended position requirement:

Round 7 guidelines reiterate that in line with organisational employment policies and practices, academic host organisations should provide a commitment to an open-ended position for the individual at the end of the fellowship (please refer to section 1.7 of the Scheme Guidance). As School needs and circumstances vary, we will defer to each School to discuss this commitment internally, and make a decision on how they wish to interpret it.

University internal process:

Fellowships are structured as 4+3 years, and require the host organisation to provide tapering salary support for the Fellow from year 3 (see section 5.1 of the Scheme Guidance). The host organisation must also provide a route to an open-ended UK based independent research position. Please contact your School’s HR Business Manager for further guidance on this. 

Internal restriction:

UKRI have placed a cap on the number of applications per university to ensure funding decisions can be delivered in a reasonable timescale without overloading the research and innovation community with peer review. The UKRI have restricted the total number of applications to ten (10) for the University of Cambridge. Therefore, this call will be managed according to the University’s restricted calls policy. 

To take part in the internal process, all Departments are asked to discuss and agree potential applicants with their Schools. The Schools should then submit the following to by 14th September 2022:

  •  a ranked list of applicants that they wish to put forward for Round 7
  • a short statement summarising the School’s internal selection process. The statement should outline the process used, how decisions were made, and how diversity of candidates was addressed. 

If there are more applications put forward by the Schools for Round 7 than the UKRI limit of 10, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research will review the numbers and rankings, and we will contact the Schools to confirm the number of applications each School may submit. Departments will then submit the internally agreed Outline Proposals to the UKRI by 18th October 2022.

Please note that Outline Proposals from applicants that haven’t been approved by the host Department and School will not be accepted or included in the University of Cambridge submission for Round 7.

PVC Support Letter:

Outline Proposals are followed by a full application which requires a letter of support signed by both the PVC Research and relevant Head of Department from the University. Therefore, this will be coordinated according to the University’s Procedure for VC and PVC Research Support Letters. 

Further information regarding support letters will be circulated to the successful internal applicants and their Departments.

Overview of internal process: 

NB For ease of reference, internal deadlines are marked in red. 

  • 14th September 2022: Internal deadline for Schools to pass on ranked list of agreed applicants & summary of internal selection process to (following Department/School discussions)
  • 18th October 2022Funder deadline for submission of outline applications via Je-S
  • 8th November 2022: Internal deadline for draft support letters and request forms to be sent to
  • 29th November 2022ROO deadline for full applications (5 working days prior to the funder deadline)
  • 6th December 2022: Funder deadline for submission of full applications

If you have any queries, please contact


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Originally published by the University of Camrbidge Research Strategy Office: and UKRI