UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships

Explore our research
Researcher using laptop

Lead the future

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships are an exciting new opportunity to join the University of Essex. 

This scheme intends to grow the strong supply of talented individuals needed to ensure that UK research and innovation continues to be world class. These Fellowships support applicants from diverse career paths, including those returning from a career break or following time in other roles. If you're intending to join the University of Essex through a UKRI Future Leader Fellowship your application must be made via the University to ensure you have approved support from the University and your proposed host department or school.

Aims of the Fellowship

  • Develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK

  • Foster new research and innovation career paths including those at the academic/business and interdisciplinary boundaries, and facilitate movement of people between sector

  • Provide sustained funding and resources for the best early career researchers and innovators

  • Provide long-term, flexible funding to tackle difficult and novel challenges, and support adventurous, ambitious programmes

Who can apply

This UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) scheme will support early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments including research councils' institutes and laboratories.

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme welcomes applications from both UK and international applicants and individuals should use UKRI's Person Specification (Annex B) to assess and justify their suitability for the scheme. The support of the host institution is a critical component of all Fellowships which will enable the fellow to transition to or establish their research/innovation independence in any area supported by UKRI.

What we're looking for in our UKRI Future Leaders at Essex

We're a top-ranking research-intensive university with one of the most internationally diverse campuses in the UK. We share an equal commitment to excellence in education and excellence in research and we're on a quest to appoint people who will help us achieve our goals. We'll consider supporting applications in any area of our research portfolio but we're particularly inviting expressions of interest from researchers working in one or more of the following key areas of our research interests:

  • Biosocial Research
  • Data Science and Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Genomics and Epigenetics
  • Digital and Creative
  • Mental Health

We're using an open selection process to identify individuals we're willing to support in applying to this UKRI funding opportunity. Interested candidates must submit an outline application which will be shared with the relevant department and a panel of senior academic staff to consider.

How to apply

Candidates should email the following documents to by 5.00pm on Monday 17 April 2023:

  • A one-page CV including education, publications, any awards, PhD thesis information (or equivalent experience).
  • A two-page draft statement of research to be carried out during the fellowship, using similar headings to those described for the Case for Support in the UKRI FLF guidance document (pp. 21-22).
  • A 150 word abstract summarising the research for a general audience.
  • A covering letter outlining the applicant’s fit with the Person Specification (Annex B) for the scheme.

Please use the covering letter to explain why you should be considered as an early career researcher and to make us aware of any career breaks. Please also let us know whether you wish to apply for an FLF on a part-time or job-share basis (but note that a Fellowship cannot be combined with another role). See Annex C and D of the Scheme Guidance Notes for further details.

The selection process

Selection will be made on the basis of application materials. All complete applications will be considered by a panel of senior academic staff that will select which candidates will be put forward to UKRI. In assessing applications, the panel will be guided by the quality of the proposed research project, its relevance to Essex’s research portfolio and the potential of the candidate to become a future research and innovation leader.

Candidates will be informed whether their applications will be supported by the University no later than 4 May. For those candidates successful in obtaining support from the University, we will provide extensive assistance in refining their full applications to UKRI. The completed full application must be submitted to UKRI by 4 July.