Competency framework for fellowships

Our competency framework for fellowship applicants is intended as guidance for you to consider which funding opportunity is right for you to support your transition to the next career level.

Why we've introduced our new competency framework

Research Career Development

We aim to support and nurture the most talented and dedicated researchers, which is why in 2018 we are changing the eligibility criteria for our early- and mid-career fellowships. We've removed post-PhD time restrictions and introduced a competency framework outlining the range of skills and experience that applicants should demonstrate.

The framework covers three career stages and for each stage, clarifies the range of skills and experience that we expect you to demonstrate, which includes:

  • Your current research experience and impact at the time of applying
  • Your future research ambitions that we expect you to develop during the fellowship
  • Your wider supporting and enabling skills at the time of applying, which will help you deliver on your research ambitions

The competencies outlined in the framework should be considered holistically. You might be able to demonstrate excellent skills/experience in several competencies, or some skills/experience across all competencies.

You will be assessed based on your body of work and its impact and influence in your field, and on your proposed research. The specific fellowship funding scheme guidelines outline the assessment criteria that the committees will use to make the final funding decision.


Printable document

If you need to save or print the Fellowships Competency Framework, download our printable version.

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Career breaks (due to personal circumstances), part-time working and changes in discipline will be taken into consideration by our panels and committees to make appropriate adjustments when assessing your record of outputs, research achievements and career progression.

Before applying, you will need to assess your suitability for a particular career stage and fellowship funding scheme, and then discuss your application with your host institution. Specific ‘eligibility’ rules may also apply for individual fellowship funding schemes.

If you need further guidance, please contact your relevant Research Funding Manager (listed on each funding scheme) who can advise on your suitability for a particular fellowship scheme.  When contacting us, please include:

  • a short CV, including key research outputs
  • 1 page (max) abstract of your proposed research
  • a short description of why you’re applying for a particular fellowship and how you meet the expected skills and experience



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.