If you have a PhD (or equivalent) and significant postdoctoral research experience then you may be ready to lead, or already be leading, your own independent research programme. 

During this career stage 

In this career stage, you’ll:

  • develop your research ideas and vision
  • train and develop less experienced researchers
  • build collaborations eg with other researchers, in industry or with policy makers
  • develop and maintain an international reputation for your research.

Qualifications, skills and experience you'll need 

To be eligible for our funding at this level, you must have a PhD or equivalent, and significant postdoctoral research experience. 

You must have a compelling research vision that is original and has impact.

In the early stages of your independent research career, you should have made important contributions to your research area eg publications, patents, software development or an impact on policy.

To apply for more senior funding, you’ll already be leading your own independent research programme. In addition:

  • you should have led internationally recognised contributions to your research area eg publications, patents, software development or an impact on policy
  • you should have a track record of sustained research support from major funding bodies
  • you will have established an international reputation as a research leader in your field, eg through awards, invitations to present your work, membership of professional bodies, advisory or editorial boards
  • you will have experience of developing and mentoring less experienced researchers.

Researcher stories 

Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.

Our funding in biomedical science and population health research 

Early stages of an independent career

Collaborative Awards in Science

Funding teams of researchers, consisting of independent research groups, to work together on the most important scientific problems that can only be solved through collaborative efforts.

Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowships

Offering short-term funding for biomedical researchers to travel between the UK and the Middle East to learn new techniques and develop academic collaborations.

Innovator Awards

Supporting researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health.

Research Career Development Fellowships

Providing support for postdoctoral researchers at academic organisations in the Republic of Ireland who aim to become independent scientists leading their own group.

Research Career Re-entry Fellowships

Offering postdoctoral research scientists the opportunity to re-establish their scientific careers after a continuous break from research of at least two years.

Sir Henry Dale Fellowships

Providing support for postdoctoral researchers who aim to become independent scientists leading their own groups. The scheme is a partnership between the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust.

Springboard Awards

Providing small grants to support basic biomedical scientists as they develop their independent research careers. The scheme is a collaboration between the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) and the Wellcome Trust.

Later stages of an independent career

Collaborative Awards in Science

Funding teams of researchers, consisting of independent research groups, to work together on the most important scientific problems that can only be solved through collaborative efforts.

Innovator Awards

Supporting researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health.

Research Career Re-entry Fellowships

Offering postdoctoral research scientists the opportunity to re-establish their scientific careers after a continuous break from research of at least two years.

Senior Research Fellowships

Supporting independent researchers who are emerging as global leaders in their field and want to tackle the most important questions in science.

Our funding in humanities and social science 

After you’ve led a research programme 

Established independent researchers can apply for more funding at this level or consider careers related to research or outside of research.

More information