Applications for the 2019/20 round are now closed.

What is the RAEng Research Fellowship scheme?

Who can apply?

What are the benefits of the programme?

Is the programme FEC?

What does the programme fund?

What does the programme not fund?

What are the key dates to know?

What is the review process?

How do I apply?

Can I submit two ideas?

Can I reapply?

What reporting requirements will be expected of me throughout the award?

Who to contact for further information?

I am a member of a multidisciplinary research group - can I apply?

Will you help me find a host institution in the UK so that I can apply?

Can Research Fellowships be held at an industrial institution?

Can the Research Fellowship be extended?

How can I tell if the letters of support from my collaborators are relevant?

The company that is providing me with a letter of support cannot provide me with one until after the closing date. Can I submit this afterwards?

I've had a paper published since submitting my Stage one application, can I update it?

Can a RAEng Research Fellow move during the course of the Fellowship?

Can the RAEng Research Fellowship be interrupted?

Can RAEng Research Fellows pursue other work during the course of their Research Fellowship?

Can a Research Fellowship be held part time?

Will I be appointed a mentor?

Can the Research Fellowship be extended?

Will the additional applications submitted by candidates belonging to the underrepresented groups be reviewed separately from other applications? 

Do I need to change to a new institution different to my PhD institution to show my research independence?


What is the Research Fellowship scheme?

The programme is aimed to support outstanding early-career researchers, who have been awarded their PhD in the last four years and do not hold a permanent academic position, to enable them to become future research leaders in engineering.

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Who can apply?

Early-career researchers worldwide with a PhD, which was awarded (or the PhD has been unconditionally approved) no more than four years before the submission deadline. In addition, the applicant must not hold a permanent academic position.

There is no nationality and age restrictions for applicants, but Research Fellowships must be held at a UK higher education institution/university in a department that can show it is capable of fully supporting an engineering-focused research project and researcher. Applications will be assessed on the assumption that applicants have obtained the necessary work permit in the UK. 

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What are the benefits of the programme?

Each application is capped at a maximum contribution from the Academy of £500,000 over a five-year period. The host institution is responsible for providing the remaining costs. Further details of the resources requested, please see the section of completing the application form in the applicant guidance document, available on the How to apply page. 

In addition to the financial support, the scheme also provides mentoring support from an Academy Fellow and training and networking opportunities.

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Is the programme FEC?

The funding is at 80% of full economic costs.

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What does the programme fund?

The funding includes directly incurred costs (e.g. salary, travel and subsistence, other costs), directly allocated costs (e.g. estates) and indirect costs. Further details of the resources requested, please see the section of completing the application form in the applicant guidance document, available on the how to apply page.

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What does the programme not fund?

There are limits on the requested costs (e.g. no computer should cost more than £1,500 and no single item of equipment or upgrade to existing equipment should cost more than £3,000). Further details of the resources requested, please see the section of completing the application form in the applicant guidance document, available on the how to apply page.

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What are the key dates to know?

Frequency of award cycle

Applications are open once a year, usually opening in July and closing in September. There is one stage of applications only.

The closing date for the current round 2019/20 is 4pm on Monday 23 September 2019.

Timeline of review process

  • Stage one: general reviews. Applicants will be informed by Monday 16 December 2019.
  • Stage two: expert reviews. Applicants will be informed by Tuesday 14 April 2020.
  • Stage three: interviews. Interviews will take place at the Academy in London on 29, 30 April and 1 May 2020.

Start date of award

Research Fellowships that are awarded in 2019/20 round must start between 1 August 2020 and 31 October 2020, unless otherwise advised by the Academy.

Duration of award

The duration of a Research Fellowship is five years full time (pro rata for part-time awards). Research Fellowships cannot be held for less than five years as they are intended for projects of significant scope only. Requests for a shorter Research Fellowship are not accepted. 

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What is the review process?

Stage one: general reviews

Each eligible application will be assessed by three reviewers (Academy Fellows or former Research Fellows). The application should be written to help non-expert reviewers understand the research content. Based on the reviewers’ comments and scores on each application, a sift panel (consisting of Academy Fellows) will conduct moderation reviews and select applications proceeding to stage two: expert reviews.

Stage two: expert reviews

Each selected application will be assessed by three expert reviewers. The expert reviewers will be asked to provide comments, a score, and key technical questions (if any) that the applicant should clarify. The technical questions will be forwarded to the applicant for their responses in early March 2020. This will be followed by a shortlist panel to moderate the expert reviewers’ scores and comments along with the applicants’ responses to the technical questions to shortlist candidates for stage three: interviews.

Stage three: interviews

Interviews will take place at the Academy in London. Each interview will be judged by a panel of four to five Academy Fellows and will be 30 minutes long. This includes a five-minute presentation from the candidate.

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How do I apply?

Applications must be submitted via the online grant system. Please read the How to apply page before attempting to complete an application.

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Can I submit two ideas?

No. There is a limit on the number of applications each host institution can submit. Applications that do not come within this limit will be disregarded (see the section of application limit in the applicant guidance notes). Institutions/universities are likely to have an internal selection process that applicants must find out in advance.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the host institution and gain the formal approval from the relevant head of department or school before applying.

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Can I reapply?

Yes. Applicants who have applied to this scheme before and were unsuccessful are eligible to reapply.

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What reporting requirements will be expected of me throughout the duration of the award?

Research Fellows are required to submit a progress and financial summary report to the Academy each year. The Research Fellow, Academy representative and mentor will meet annually to discuss the report, identify progress being made and make plans.

Research Fellows are responsible for arranging the annual progress report meetings with their mentors. The head of department or school should be invited to two out of the five meetings to ensure sufficient support is provided to the Research Fellow. A template will be provided for the meetings. Research Fellows will also be asked to provide some key data of their annual performances (e.g. publications and additional research funding) for the purpose of auditing and reporting to the Academy’s funders.

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Who to contact for further information?

Chung-Chin Kao, Programme Manager.

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I am a member of a multidisciplinary research group - can I apply?

Applications are encouraged from members of multidisciplinary research groups, provided that the research undertaken can be readily classified as engineering and will have engineering outcomes and the Research Fellowship is held in a department that can show it is capable of fully supporting an engineering-focused research project and researcher.  

To see the list of categories your research proposal must fit into, please see the Completing the application form section of the applicant guidance document, available on the How to apply page. 

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Will you help me find a host institution in the UK so that I can apply?

It is the responsibility of the applicant to make contact with a host institution and gain approval to apply from the central grants office (or equivalent) prior to applying.

It is strongly recommended that all potential applicants contact their intended host institution as soon as possible due to the application number limit that applies to all UK higher education institution/universities. Institutions/universities are likely to have an internal selection process that applicants must find out in advance.

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Can Research Fellowships be held at an industrial institution?

Research Fellowships cannot be held at industrial institutions. However, research may be carried out with an industrial collaborator, providing the research is relevant to the programme of Research Fellowships.

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How can I tell if the letters of support from my collaborators are relevant?

If you have a collaborator (not the chosen host institution and current employer) who will be contributing financially or in kind to the Research Fellowship, a letter of support from the collaborator detailing their contribution will be required. Letters of support must:

  • Be on headed paper and clearly state who they are
  • Be external collaborators so people and organisations NOT working at the host institution and its affiliates
  • Be signed
  • Confirm that the author knows the applicant
  • Explain why they are interested in the project
  • Provide details on what form the collaboration will take.
  • Clearly demonstrates the nature of the collaboration and how it will be beneficial to you and the project
  • Be no more than two pages

As reviewers are asked to assess these alongside your plans for collaboration, aim for quality over quantity and keep the letters short and concise to better enable the reviewer to identify the salient information. A bullet-point list of contributions is a highly effective method of making the reviewers’ role easier.

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The company that is providing me with a letter of support cannot provide me with one until after the closing date. Can I submit this afterwards?

No, letters of support need to be submitted by the closing date. You cannot add these to your application once it has been submitted. In cases where an application refers to a collaborator who is contributing to the grant, but does not have a letter of support to corroborate the collaboration, will be considered as 'sought after' rather than agreed.

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I've had a paper published since submitting my application, can I update it?

Once submitted, an application is considered final and cannot be updated or amended. Should you reach the interview stage, you can raise further developments at your presentation to the interview panel.

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Can a Research Fellow move during the course of the fellowship?

A degree of mobility during the Research Fellowship may be beneficial. This would include plans to engage in collaborative research at centres of excellence overseas, but in such cases the Research Fellow will still be employed by the UK host institution.

Any proposal to transfer the Research Fellowship to a different host institution within the UK would need to be discussed with the existing and proposed host institutions. In addition, the research fellow is required to discuss the transfer with the RAEng mentor to have the mentor's advice. If the new host institution agrees to host the Research Fellowship and the mentor supports the transfer, the Academy will normally be agreeable to a transfer should it be justifiable and beneficial for the Research Fellowship.

In such cases, the original Research Fellowship would be closed and a new one issued for the balance of the funding period. Such a transfer would rarely be approved within the first or last years of a fellowship. Research Fellowships cannot be transferred to non-UK institutions.

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Can the Research Fellowship be interrupted?

Research Fellows may interrupt their Research Fellowship on one occasion, if they need to spend time on activities unsupported by it. Although the activities should relate to their overall research programme in some way. Such periods of abeyance must not exceed 12 months. Prior agreement must be sought from the Academy.

Interruptions are not permitted in the first or last years of the Research Fellowship. Where periods of abeyance are agreed, the Academy may also agree to extend the Research Fellowship by a period of time up to the length of the interruption.

Research Fellows are entitled to maternity, paternity and adoption leave under the host institution’s normal conditions of employment. The Academy will extend the duration of the Research Fellowship pro-rata, to take into account such periods of leave and any conversions to part time working.

Research Fellows with caring responsibilities for children, elderly relatives or dependents should liaise directly with the host institution if they wish to apply for part-time or flexible working.

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Can Research Fellows pursue other work during the course of their Research Fellowship?

Research Fellows are expected to devote all their working time to the research project related to their Research Fellowship, and will not undertake any other paid work, hold any other form of paid office or employment. The Research Fellowship must be the Research Fellow's only sour of employment. Up to four hours a week may be spent on teaching duties and consultancy work. 

Research Fellows are encouraged to apply for further funding from other institutions, but these further funding grants should not include a salary component paid to the Research Fellows themselves. In addition, such further funding should not cause any delay and interruption to the Research Fellowship work.

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Can a Research Fellowship be held part-time?

Research Fellowships can be held part-time, but must be the only form of employment. The request for a part-time Research Fellowship (at no less than 50% of full-time equivalent) must be made clear within the application. Alternatively, the Research Fellowship can be converted from full time to part time, or from part time to full time, during the fellowship, assuming the host institution’s HR department supports the request. 

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Can the Research Fellowship be extended?

Extensions beyond five years are not permitted except extenuating circumstance (e.g. maternity, paternity, sick leave and caring responsibility). 

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Will the additional applications submitted by candidates belonging to the underrepresented groups be reviewed separately from other applications?

No. All applications are assessed in the same review process with no regard to the underrepresented groups. 

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Do I need to change to a new institution different to my PhD institution to show my research independence?

No. Applicants' research independence will not be assessed purely by the change of their PhD institutions. The research independence is assessed in terms of candidate's research profile and track record, and the support provided by the host institution and its appropriateness for the proposed research programme. 

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