Career Establishment Award

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Early career researcher
Established independent researcher
Research area
All research areas
Preliminary submission
Final submission
Committee review
Funding period
6 years, or part-time equivalent
Funding amount
Salaries, running expenses, and equipment for one postdoc and one technician
The Career Establishment Award supports new group leaders who 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:

  • A full-time, fully funded post at a UK university or research institute for the duration of the award
  • Space and facilities to run an independent research group
  • Completed your specialist training, which would normally include obtaining a PhD or MD and have post-doctoral research experience if you are a clinician

You should not have:

  • Already received Fellowship 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 you are applying for funding rounds with a preliminary application deadline up to August 2018, our eligibility rules based on years post-PhD apply:

  • You should typically have between 3 and 8 years postdoctoral experience. However, we exercise flexibility with this criteria, taking into account career breaks, flexible working, changes in discipline and other personal circumstances.

If you are applying for funding rounds with a preliminary application deadline after August 2018, our eligibility rules based on years post-PhD will no longer apply:

  • You should 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

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.


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 Establishment Award we expect at least 15 hours a week (or pro-rata equivalent) to be spent on academic research. For this award, our general rule for fellowships of spending at least 0.5 FTE or 80% of your working hours on research does not apply. Find out more about how we support part-time working and extended leave in our flexible working policies.  

Funding will cover:

  • Salary for one postdoctoral researcher and one technician
  • Associated running expenses
  • Equipment costs up to £25,000

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. Preliminary application: reviewed and short listed by the New Investigator Committee.
  2. Full application: peer-reviewed by international experts and reviewed and short listed by the New Investigator Committee.
  3. Interview: a 35 minute interview carried out by the New Investigator Committee.

All applications must be made through our electronic Grants Management System (eGMS).


Preliminary application deadline

Full application deadline


Committee review

20 August 2018

20 November 2018

18-19 March 2019

March 2019

05 February 2019

21 May 2019

17 - 18 Ocotber 2019

October 2019


Before you begin your application

You must read:

*These guidelines apply up to the August 2018 deadline. New guidelines will be available for subsequent rounds of funding.

The New Investigator 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 Establishment Award.

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 peer review and final funding decisions are made by the New Investigator Committee.

Cancer Research UK contact details

Dr Lorenzo de la Rica

Research Funding Manager

Tel: +44 (0)20 3469 5215

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 Doryen Bubeck

Doryen talked to us about relocating to the UK from the US, and the support she has received to make major advances in her research career at the same time as starting a family.

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.