October 26, 2012

Medical Research Council (MRC) Fellowships (Funding Opportunities) for clinical and non-clinical researchers

Medical Research Council (MRC) Fellowships (Funding Opportunities) for clinical and non-clinical researchers

Study Subject: Clinical / non-clinical medicine, Health / health-related
Scholarship Level: Predoctoral, Postdoctoral, Research, Internship, Fellowship
Scholarship Provider: MRC
Scholarships can be taken at: Any country

Scholarship Description
The Medical Research Council (MRC) funds a range of fellowship award schemes for both clinical and non-clinical researchers. Opportunities in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies are provided by Strategic Skills Fellowship Schemes.

Eligibility Criteria
Use the 'MRC Fellowships Eligibility Checker' (see link below) to find out which is the most appropriate fellowship for you.

Applicants for senior fellowships:
In assessing your application the MRC will be looking for evidence of the following:
  • That you have demonstrated your scientific independence and your ability to lead a research team.
  • That you have the potential to become a leader in your field. Your application should indicate your medium and long-term career goals.
  • That the centre you are proposing to host your work is the best place for your research.
  • What the centre will provide to help you succeed in your goals.
Intermediate schemes include Career Development Awards and Clinician Scientist Fellowships
This information covers Career Development Awards and Clinician Scientist Fellowships. When assessing your application the MRC will be looking for evidence that:
  • You have demonstrated potential as a high calibre researcher.
  • You are committed to a research career. The interview panel will be interested in your long-term career aspirations. Hospital doctors should explain how they plan to combine their research and clinical training.
  • Your proposed project and the training environment will provide you with valuable experience. There should be a clear training element in your application aimed at helping you to become a fully independent researcher. A continuation of existing work that would fail to add new skills is unlikely to be successful.
Applicants for junior schemes
The junior schemes include: Clinical Research Training Fellowships, Population Health Scientist Fellowships, and Special Training Fellowships in Biomedical Informatics. Please ensure that you, your proposed supervisor(s) and head of department read this section before completing the application form. In assessing your applications the MRC will be looking at:
  • The applicant
  • The project
  • The research centre
  • The training programme and plans for supervision
Eligible groups
Clinical and non-clinical researchers and Scientists

Range of Fellowship awards
Assessment criteria for MRC fellowships
There are three stages to the assessment process:
  • External peer review
  • Shortlisting
  • Interview
The referees and interview panel members are asked to consider the:
  • Standing and potential of the person
  • Suitability and scientific merit of the research project
  • Excellence of the place where the research will be based
Where pre-to-postdoctoral fellowships incorporate doctoral research training, interview panels will additionally draw on the assessment criteria for studentships

Overseas applicants
All applicants for MRC fellowships must comply with the Department of Employment requirements and hold a valid work permit where appropriate. Candidates from outside the UK must establish with their proposed host research organisation prior to application that they may reside and work in the UK and it is the responsibility of the research organisation to ensure that all necessary permits are in place for the fellow.

Applicants for MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowships are required to have completed their relevant Royal College examinations to be eligible for the competition. Overseas applicants must confirm equivalent status to relevant UK Royal College qualifications in their application.

In addition to the above, overseas applicants for pre-doctoral fellowships must have residence eligibility to hold an MRC award in the UK. Further guidance for applicants and research organisations on residence requirements can be found here. Applicants should direct their enquiries concerning residence eligibility to their proposed host research organisation in the first instance.

Submission and assessment of fellowship applications
For fellowship assessment criteria, submission, terms and conditions and more (including What makes a good application, Assessment criteria, Overseas applicants, Professional development - guidance for institutions, Submission and assessment of application, and Terms and conditions): see 'MRC Fellowships Handbook' (link below)

Applications for other fellowships or grants.
Simultaneous applications for more than one type of MRC fellowship, or for a fellowship and an MRC grant application involving the same research project, cannot be accepted.

Applications proposing the same or significantly similar research should not be submitted to more than one research council or NIHR at any one time. Applications that are considered to be closer to the field of another research council will be referred to that council, and applicants will be informed accordingly.

Similar applications may be made to other funding organisations, such as charitable bodies, but you must mention them in your application to the MRC.

Assessment of applications
All applications for MRC fellowships are assessed by independent scientific experts in the relevant fields. They assess the quality of the proposed research environment, the potential of the applicant, and the scientific excellence of the proposal.

Applications are short-listed and candidates are invited to interview by the relevant Training and Career Development Panel. Comments from the expert referee are used to assist the panel’s decision-making. If a research proposal does not fall within the scientific expertise of the existing panel members, we co-opt new members specifically for the interview.

Interviews are most likely to take place at MRC Head Office London. The MRC makes a contribution towards the costs of interviewees' return travel by the most economic route. The MRC cannot pay for meals during journeys, nor for taxis unless our Research Career Awards group agrees this taxi travel in advance of the interview date.

Applicants will be informed as soon as a final decision has been made about their application. Successful candidates are asked to confirm whether they wish to take up the award within two weeks of an offer being made.
Feedback is provided to all applicants that are declined at the short-listing stage, in the form of a letter and copies of comments from referees at the peer-review stage.

Candidates who are unsuccessful at interview also receive copies of referees' comments, plus any additional feedback identified by the panel. The MRC’s shortlisting and interview decisions are final and not open to appeal.

Unsuccessful fellowship applicants may submit one re-application only, which will be assessed in open competition with first-time applicants. As competition will be strong, we recommend that re-applicants pursue alternative funding options as well.

Submission deadlines for grant applications, annual competitions, call for proposals, studentships and fellowships: For MRC fellowships the short listing and interview dates have been agreed with each panel, but may vary slightly; do not call the office on or around these dates as you will be notified of the outcome via email as soon as possible after a decision has been made (which may not be on the day of the meeting). Please note that all applications must be received by 4pm on the closing date in Je-S.

Fellowships team
Telephone: 01793 867 017
Email: MRCFellows@ssc.rcuk.ac.uk

Scholarship Application Deadline: Varies / Ongoing (annually)
Scholarship Open to International Applicants: Yes

Most appropriate fellowship for you: MRC Fellowships Eligibility Checker
Fellowship Handbook Summary: MRC Fellowships Handbook

More Scholarship Information and Application


  1. Thank you so much for sharing nice and interesting stuff. I like this very much. Awesome post...

  2. Thanks so much for this weblog.
    Am a young African clinical scientist in one of the Nigerian teaching hospitals, and I've been looking all over to how to fund my research in the neurosciences. I'll now apply to the Medical Research Council.
    This is truly a great site. Please, keep up the good work !!