Applications for 2019/20 round is now open and will close on 23 September 2019.


Please read the How to apply page (and the guidance notes therein) before attempting to complete an application.

All information applies to both Research Fellowships and Engineering for Development Research Fellowships, unless otherwise stated.

An existing contract will take precedence over the following answers which are meant only as a guide:

What is the aim of the RAEng Research Fellowship scheme?

How many applications are typically received?

How do I apply?

In which areas must the proposed research lie?

Are there age and experience restrictions for applicants?

Are there nationality or other eligibility restrictions?

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?

What is the duration of the Research Fellowship?

What does the Research Fellowship provide for?

How many Research Fellowships are available this round?

What is the application process?

What is the closing date for submitting a Stage One application?

Where can I get copies of the application forms and guidance notes?

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?

I am having problems completing the application form, who should I contact?

What is the estimated timescale?

What is the employment status of a RAEng Research Fellow?

When can the Research Fellowship commence?

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?

Can I take maternity or paternity leave?

Will I be appointed a mentor?

How will the Academy monitor my progress?

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?

Further information


What is the aim of the Research Fellowship scheme?

The scheme is aimed to support outstanding early-career researchers, who have been awarded their PhD in the last four years, to enable them to become future research leaders in engineering.

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. 

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How many applications are typically received?

We expect to receive approximately 120-150 applications this round.

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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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In which areas must the proposed research lie?

Research Fellowships can be held in any engineering discipline.

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

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Are there age and experience restrictions for applicants?

There is no age restriction for applicants. Applicants must have a PhD, which was awarded (or the PhD has been unconditionally approved) no more than four years before the submission deadline: Monday 23 September 2019. This time period includes applicants’ work experience in academia or/and in industry. A margin of up to three months more than the four-year limit is acceptable. 

If applicants have had maternity/paternity leave or other extenuating circumstances, this will be taken into consideration if the relevant dates and detail are provided in the application form.

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Are there nationality or other eligibility restrictions?

There is no nationality restriction for applicants. The host institution is responsible for securing all necessary work permits and related costs for the Research Fellows. Applications will be assessed on the assumption that applicants have obtained the necessary work permit. 

In addition, the applicant must not hold a permanent academic position. 

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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 by an engineering institution (such as the Institute of Mechanical Engineers) 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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What is the duration of the Research Fellowship?

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 does the Research Fellowship provide for?

The scheme provides funding for five years. Each application is capped at a maximum contribution from the Academy of £500,000 over the five-year period, at 80% of full economic costs. The host institution is responsible for providing the remaining costs. Further details of the resources requested, please see the Completing the application form section of 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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How many Research Fellowships are available this round?

It is anticipated that 14-15 Research Fellowships (including Engineering for Development Research Fellowships) will be awarded for the round 2019/20.

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What is the assessment process?

The application process is split into three stages:

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.

Applicants will be informed of the result of stage one by Monday 16 December 2019.

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.

Applicants will be informed of the result of stage two 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. 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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What is the closing date for submitting an application?

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

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 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 submitting an application.

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Where can I get copies of the application forms and guidance notes?

  • The guidance notes can be downloaded from the How to apply page.
  • The application form is only available via the online grant system
  • Applicants will need to liaise with the central grants office of their intended host institution for advice on the allowable costs to fill in the requested resources section.

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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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I am having problems completing the application form, who should I contact?

First, contact the research office at the host institution as they should be able to help with most aspects of the application, particularly the financial details. If you are having problems with the online grant system, you can contact the Academy Research team.

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What is the employment status of a Research Fellow?

Research Fellows will be employed by the host institution and are required to devote all their working time to the Research Fellowship. The Research Fellowship must be the Research Fellows only source of employment. In addition, the host institution must agree to provide the Research Fellow all the support normal for a permanent employee, and also ensure that adequate facilities are made available for the proposed research project. 

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When can the Research Fellowship commence?

All 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. 

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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. If the new host institution agrees to host the Research Fellowship, 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 100% of 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. Up to four hours a week may be spent on teaching duties and consultancy 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 I take maternity or paternity leave?

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.

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Will I be appointed a mentor?

The scheme’s programme manager will work with each awarded Research Fellow to identify an Academy Fellow to be their mentor. The mentor will support and provide expert advice throughout the fellowship about research and career development.

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How will the Academy monitor my progress?

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 report. 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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Can the Research Fellowship be extended?

Extensions beyond five years are not permitted (see above for exceptions). 

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Will the additional applications submitted by candidates beloning 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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Further information

Please read the guidance document available on the How to apply page before attempting to complete an application.

Information applies to both Research Fellowships and Engineering for Development Research Fellowships, unless otherwise stated.

If you have any questions, after reading the guidance document in full, please email the Research team.