Career Development Fellowship

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Post doc
Early career researcher
Research area
All research areas
Outline application
Full application
Committee review
Funding period
6 years, or part-time equivalent
Funding amount
Salaries and running expenses and equipment for you and up to two posts

Scheme aim

The Career Development Fellowship supports new group leaders who do not have a salaried independent position to establish their own independent research group.

Applications are considered from any area of our funding remit, with the exception of clinical trials and drug discovery.

You should:

  • Have space and facilities to run an independent research group
  • Be able to demonstrate that you meet the range of skills and experience as outlined in the ‘establishing independence’ career stage in our Fellowships Competency Framework

You should not have:

  • Already received funding to set up your research group
  • A core-funded Group Leader position at one of our Institutes*

Some other locations are not eligible; please contact us before starting your application to check your host institution is covered.

If your salary is fully funded by your host institution you may be eligible to apply for a Career Establishment Award. If you are a clinician, please consider our funding opportunities for clinical academic career development.

Career breaks, flexible working, changes in discipline and other personal circumstances will be taken into consideration when assessing your record of outputs, research achievements and career progression.

*You may apply to hold a Fellowship at a CRUK Institute provided that you are not in receipt of core funding concurrently to the Fellowship.
 

Funding support is provided for up to six years, or equivalent duration for part-time working.

We're very supportive of part-time working and for a Career Development Fellowship we expect at least 0.5 FTE or 80% of your working hours, whichever is greater, to be spent on academic research. Find out more about how we support part-time working and extended leave in our flexible working policies.

We updated our guidelines for this scheme in November 2021. Please refer to the documents in the section 'How to apply to this scheme' for the latest guidance.

Funding will cover:

  • Your salary.
  • Salaries and running expenses for up to two posts. You may choose from a postdoctoral researcher, a technician and/or a (non-clinical) PhD student.
  • Associated running expenses
  • Equipment costs up to £25,000
  • Relocation costs up to £1,000 if you wish to take up your fellowship at a new host institution (see application guidelines for more details)
  • EMBO Lab Leadership for Group Leaders course: we encourage you to attend this course to gain crucial skills to run your own independent research group. Available as either an in-person (in Germany, please check with the Office for future limited UK spaces) or online course. Please see the EMBO website for more information, including costs.

An annual salary enhancement of £6,500 is paid each year of the funding period.

Additional support

Our fellowships offer a range of benefits beyond funding, including access to networking and training opportunities, flexible working policies and an accelerated route through the Tier 1 visa system.

How to apply to this scheme

​Application process

Applications for this scheme are considered twice a year, and the application process has three stages.

  1. Outline application: reviewed and shortlisted by the Research Careers Committee*.
  2. Full application: If shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a full application. This will be assessed by an Expert Review Panel and will include an interview.
  3. Committee Review: The Research Careers Committee meet to review the funding recommendations of the Expert Review Panels and make the final funding decision.

Timelines

Outline application

deadline

Full application

deadline

Expert Panel

Review Interviews

Committee review

28 April 2021 14 September 2021 October 2021 December 2021
30 September 2021 20 January 2022 March 2022 May 2022
30 March 2022 14 July 2022 September 2022 November 2022

*The Research Careers Committee is a new CRUK Committee that combined and replaced both our previous New Investigator Committee and Clinical Careers Committee. The Research Careers Committee covers both remits and reviews all associated schemes.

Before you begin your application

We updated our guidelines for this scheme in November 2021. Please refer to the following documents for the latest guidance.

You must read:

The Research Careers Committee will judge your application on:

  • Scientific quality and originality: your proposal must have a strong scientific rationale.
  • Cancer relevance: value of the proposed work in advancing the fundamental understanding of cancer or improving how cancer is diagnosed and/or treated.
  • Your track record and potential to produce outstanding results.
  • Suitability and strength of your research environment and collaborators: access to resources and facilities required for the fulfillment of the Career Development Fellowship.

The Committee will also consider how closely your research aligns with the priorities laid out in our Research Strategy, including earlier detection and harder-to-treat cancers (brain, lung, oesophageal and pancreatic cancers).

Applications are assessed by international, expert review panels and funding decisions are made by the Research Careers Committee.

Cancer Research UK contact details

Please contact your Research Grants Manager if you have questions about your eligibility for this scheme or require any assistance with your application or active award

For Cambridge, Manchester, The North of England (incl. Newcastle), Wales

Jurga Kaucikiene, Research Grants Manager: fellowships@cancer.org.uk

For London (except for QMUL and UCL), Oxford, Birmingham

Dr Victoria Walker, Research Grants Manager: fellowships@cancer.org.uk

For London (QMUL and UCL only), Southampton, The South, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Dr Catherine Cremona, Research Grants Manager: fellowships@cancer.org.uk

 

Please contact Dr Marjolein (Lein) Schaap, Research Programme Manager, if you would like to hear more about the support we offer e.g. CRUK Fellow meetings, activities and training, and to share any potential challenges you might face: fellowships@cancer.org.uk

Please refer to the 'How to apply to this scheme tab' for further details and dates for this current Autumn 2021 round, and the next Spring 2022 funding round. 

More career development opportunities for researchers

Research Career Development

We offer a range of fellowships, bursaries and other support to help outstanding scientists and clinicians develop their independent research careers.

Dr Charlie Massie

Charlie explains how he demonstrated the skills and experience we expect of a Career Development Fellow. 

Success rates

The average success rate, from preliminary application to award, for fellowships and career support awards through our New Investigator Committee is 8%.

Research events

Our Strategy and Research Funding teams attend and exhibit at conferences, meetings and workshops throughout the year.