What are Future Leader Fellowships?

What are Future Leader Fellowships?
The 7th round of UKRI's Future Leader Fellowship applications is now open! Img Source: ThisisEngineering RAEng / Unsplash

Applications for Future Leader Fellowships (FLF) are now open. In this latest KEVRI guide, we outline what an FLF is, why they’re important, and how you (as a researcher, innovator, university or business) can get involved.

Now in its seventh round, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has started to accept applications for its Future leader Fellowships.

But what is an FLF?

In a nutshell...🥜

The FLF scheme has been created to:

  • Enhance innovation and talent in the UK
  • Provide sustained funding, resources and support for the best and most promising early career researchers and innovators
  • Support fellows to develop as impactful and influential research or innovation leaders
  • Offer long-term, flexible funding to address complex and novel challenges
  • Support adventurous, ambitious programmes

The fund has a pot of £100 million that is available to support early career researchers and innovators from businesses, universities, and research organisations who are either:

  • Wanting to establish or transition to independence
  • Or developing their own original and ambitious plans within a commercial setting
FLF supports aspiring research and/or innovation leaders. Img Source: Surface / Unsplash

The scheme provides long-term support, helping researchers and innovators to develop world-class research and ambitious programmes. As outlined by UKRI, fellows can be based in universities, businesses or other eligible independent research organisations.

For universities, the benefit is that they are able to develop their most talented early career researchers. For businesses, they are able to attract new talent to their organisations.

However, the host organisation must commit to significant support in order to ensure the successful development of the fellow.

For example, for academic-hosted fellows:

“This includes the commitment to providing an open-ended UK-based independent research and/or innovation position, to be taken up during or upon the completion of the fellowship (in line with organisational employment policies and practices).''

FLF Application Requirements

The applications for the seventh round of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships are open until December 6th 2022.

So if you are an early career researcher or innovator interested in obtaining funding to develop your career as a future leader, now is the time to get working on your application.

According to UKRI you must clearly address the below points in your application:

  • How the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) award will support and enable your long-term career goals
  • Broad knowledge of the area of interest and a compelling vision for the excellence and importance of your proposed research or innovation
  • Your own original and ambitious plans or ideas
  • That you can take a leading role in your area
  • The suitability of the proposed environment or environments for your research or innovation and its impact

Future Leader Fellowships: FAQs 🙋🏾‍♂️

  • Do you need to be established in your industry to apply?

No. The scheme is designed to provide support to early career researchers and innovators to enable them to reach their potential as a future leader. Therefore, candidates early on in their journey, as opposed to fully-established researchers, are encouraged.

  • Does the project need to focus on a particular topic?

The FLF doesn’t require the fellow to focus on research or innovation in a certain area. The main importance is that the research or innovation is challenging and strategically vital to your business, industry, and/or wider society. Projects should also be original and innovative, helping to develop the fellow as a leader in their industry/ area.

  • Should the FLF application be based on funding a project?

No. The FLF is a person-centred funding scheme that aims to develop an individual’s career. The applicant is central to the fellowship and thus the application will need to present how the research/ project is built around their potential as a future leader.

  • How much funding can be requested?

In accordance with the FLF scheme, you are not restricted in how much funding you can ask for, but you must be able to justify your request and demonstrate it is in line with the goals and objectives of your proposal.

For more information on these Future Leader Fellowships and how to apply, head over to UKRI today.

Good luck!



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