The Royal Academy of Engineering aims to strengthen the links between industry and academia by sponsoring leading academics to undertake research of industrial relevance and commercialising its outcomes and deliverables.

Since the 1980s, the Research Chairs and Senior Fellowships schemes have successfully supported numerous academic appointments and enhanced internationally renowned centres of excellence, with the help of industrial partners.


Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships are full-time academic appointments. The Chair/Fellowship holder (the awardee) is expected to develop and lead a research group, the members of which will be encouraged to publish the results of their research as widely as possible to gain national and international recognition.

The scheme is open to all areas of engineering and is aimed at research to be conducted at UK universities, supported by industries with a strong UK presence. Applications should come from the university, having identified an industrial sponsor, or from the industrial sponsor directly.

Applications for the Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships are currently invited all year round, with no set closing dates.


The scheme offers a number of benefits to the university, industrial sponsor and incumbent as listed below.

For the university:

  • The scheme provides an additional source of research funding.
  • It helps to develop new links or strengthen existing links between university departments and industry.
  • The incumbent should be counted as a full time member of staff for the purposes of the Research Assessment Exercise and is free to concentrate on research and attracting additional sources of funding to the department.
  • The appointment attracts the highest quality of researcher to the department, raising its standing among other universities.
  • A mentor is appointed, who is a Fellow of The Academy with expertise of particular relevance to the programme of research and able to offer independent advice and guidance on engineering matters as required.

For the industrial sponsor:

  • it strengthens links with academics working in a particular field with a view to benefiting from the results of the research at a later stage.
  • it provides the opportunity for industry to benefit from direct and frequent access to the expertise of a top-class researcher.
  • it enables industry to carry out generic research which cannot be carried out in-house due to a lack of facilities, expertise or resources.
  • it provides the opportunity for a company to sponsor research at the leading edge of technology without the need for additional resources to manage the project, monitoring and assessment being carried out regularly by an Academy representative.
  • it provides a route for the company to establish links at all levels in the university, either to initiate further research programmes or to facilitate the recruitment of graduates.

For the incumbent:

  • It is a prestigious, high-profile appointment.
  • The appointment is for a full-time research professor and frees the incumbent from the majority of teaching and administrative duties for a period of five years.
  • It provides direct access to an Academy Fellow for guidance and support in developing both their research and their careers.