External Funding

External Funding

A Guide to Funding Opportunities and Resources available.  

Below are links to current Fellowship and funding opportunities.

You can also visit each funding provider for more details and a link direct to their website.

Funding Opportunities

Expert Advice on Grant Applications

As part of our programme of Funder Insights, our Academic colleagues have shared their expertise on a range of UK Research Councils and EU funding streams. Further "Hints and Tips" will be shared as the programme continues during 2021/2022.

UKRI Funder Insights (BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC)

EU Funder Insights

CRUK Funder Insights

Medical and Clinical Funding Opportunities

A wide variety of medical science and clinical research funding schemes are available to support small pilot studies through to large complex trials. Please refer to the bulletins below for current calls -these are updated regularly but are not exhaustive and other opportunities may be listed on ResearchConnect and  funders’ webpages.

Our office can support both University and NHS Grampian staff identify relevant funding opportunities. Please contact Anne Mcgavigan for assistance.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a public body funded by the UK government. For more information, visit the UK Research and Innovation website.

They drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses and universities to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, to explore opportunities to test ideas and develop innovative products and services in collaboration with industry.


You can search for funding opportunities here, which include Innovate UK Smart Grants, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Industry Strategy Challenge Fund, and SBRI. You can also access support and advice for applicants here.


Research Grants

A Research Grant is suitable for focused research projects that may be short- or long-term in duration. The grant can be used to support the development of new methods and techniques, the development and continuation of research facilities and may involve more than one research group or institution. Increasingly research grants utilise multi-disciplinary teams to develop solutions for challenges of global significance.

Please note that this document represents a snapshot in time.  If the funding opportunity you are looking for is not here please contact the Grants Academy who will get the details for you.


Fellowship Applications Support Process

Fellowship schemes are highly competitive and require the applicant to plan well in advance in order to target their applications correctly. Chances of success are strongly increased by:

  • A strong C.V.
  • Awareness of and alignment with the funding programme
  • Well-designed project plan
  • Highly polished application

In order to provide our candidates with the best chance for success, it is recommended that the following steps are undertaken as part of our internal fellowship applications support process. 

1. Initial discussion

Find out more about the types of fellowship schemes that are available and receive information on the benchmarks of competitiveness that should be achieved through one to one discussion with your School Research Development Executive (RDE), induction workshops and grant writing courses. The Fellowship Applications Support Process varies between Schools and your School RDE will be able to advise on the support available to you.

2. Complete required fellowship documents

At this stage, you are required to provide information regarding the funders/schemes you wish to target, along with an abstract of the proposed project and CV. You would also need to identify a Supervisor.

3. Discussion with senior staff

Potential applicants will have the opportunity to discuss their research idea with a group of senior staff (in person/virtual meeting) to critically assess the strength of their proposal. The discussion outcome will be classified as follows:

  • Proceed with the application.
  • Further development is required e.g. securing additional publications, supporting data or collaborator links.
  • The proposal is unlikely to be competitive with the named funder/call. Senior staff will be on hand to discuss other options to support the researcher’s career development such as alternative projects, training or career development pathways. 

4. Personal timetable

Candidates will be assigned an Application Mentor, peer reviewers and fellowship buddy (if applicable to the scheme), and a timetable towards submission.

It is recommended to have the traffic light interview 3-6 months prior to the funder’s deadline. External fellowship candidates need to go through this process too, so if you are aware of any external fellowship candidates please forward the associated forms to them.

Please refer to the bulletin below for current fellowship calls - these are updated regularly but are not exhaustive and other opportunities may be listed on ResearchConnect and  funders’ webpages.

Research Councils


The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) was established in April 2005 as successor to the Arts and Humanities Research Board and is a British research council; non-departmental public body that provides approximately £102 million from the government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from languages and law, archaeology and English literature to design and creative and performing arts.

Guidance on AHRC Funding can be found here.

For current funding opportunities please see see the AHRC Website.


The Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) deliver funding, training and knowledge transfer in the biotechnology and biological sciences.  They are the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience.  It predominantly funds scientific research institutes and university research departments in the UK.

Guidance on BBSRC funding can be found here.

To view current BBSRC Funding Opportunities please visit their website.


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is a Research Council that provides government funding for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in engineering and the physical sciences (including mathematics, artificial intelligence and computer science), mainly to universities in the United Kingdom.

Guidance on EPSRC Funding can be found here.

Current Funding Opportunites are available by visiting their website.


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) provides a range of funding and support for research and training in social sciences.  It is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues.

The ESRC Funding Guide sets out their funding rules.

Current Funding Opportunities are available on their website.


The Medical Research Council (MRC) is responsible for co-coordinating and funding medical research in the United Kingdom.  The MRC focuses on high-impact research and has provided the financial support and scientific expertise behind a number of medical breakthroughs, including the development of penicillin and the discovery of the structure of DNA. Research funded by the MRC has produced 32 Nobel Prize winners to date.

Guidance on MRC Funding Opportunities is available here.

To browse the current Funding Opportunities, visit the website.


The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) are the UK's largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation, delivered through universities and research centres.

Please see the NERC website for current funding opportunities


STFC are a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

STFC Research Grants Handbook.

STFC Funding Opportunities

Government funding

A number of other Government departments, not in consultation with the Research Councils, provide substantial funding for a wide variety or research areas.

See below for information and links to their websites and information on forthcoming funding deadlines.

Note: Not all Government sponsors are listed below. Rolling calls with no defined deadline will not show up on the calendars below.

Research Connect
Tailor your own searches and make your own personal funding calendar. Instructions are found on the Research Connect website.

You can register or access your Research Connect account here.

Chief Scientist Office

To access forthcoming Chief Scientist Office funding deadlines log in to your Research Connect account and run an Organisation search.

Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

To access forthcoming DSTL funding deadlines log in to your Research Connect account and run an Organisation search.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

To access forthcoming DEFRA funding deadlines log in to your Research Connect account and run an Organisation search.

Department of Health

To access forthcoming Department of Health funding deadlines log in to your Research Connect account and run an Organisation search.

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

To access forthcoming Food Standards Agency funding deadlines log in to your Research Connect account and run an Organisation search.

Scottish Enterprise

To access forthcoming Scottish Enterprise funding deadlines log in to your Research Connect account and run an Organisation search.

Major Charities

British Academy

The British Academy provides a variety of grants and fellowships to support academic research, career development and wider engagement across the full range of the humanities and social sciences. Funding opportunities cover UK and international research from the postdoctoral level upwards, supporting the best ideas, individuals and intellectual resources.

A live link to current funding opportunites can be found here.

British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation fund vital research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases.

More information can be found on what is funded and how to apply by visiting the website.

Funding opportunities can be found here.

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK are the largest independent funder of cancer research in Europe and the world's leading charity dedicated to cancer research. Cancer Resesarch UK work with both commercial and non-commercial research partners across the world to achieve their ambitious vision of bringing forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For more information on how to apply and manage a grant and also to see current calls visit their website here.

Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust is a large national grant-making foundation in the UK. It operates across all the academic disciplines, providing funding for research projects, fellowships, studentships, bursaries and prizes to support talented individuals as they realise their personal vision in research and professional training.

Funding schemes at a glance can be viewed here.

Please see further details here.

Royal Society

The Royal Society are the independent, scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.

 See the Royal Society's website for grant scheme opportunities

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust support thousands of scientists and researchers in more than 70 countries, as well as innovators, educators and artists.

Browse the current funding schemes here.

Funding Guidance is available on the website.

EU Funding

European Research Council (ERC)

Recognised in the academic community as amongst the most prestigious awards in the world, the ERC invests in bottom-up research across all disciplines and all career stages; Starter, Consolidator and Advanced. These highly competitive opportunities are available annually according to the following criteria:

  • Starter – Grants of up to €1.5 million over 5 years for promising Early Career Researchers with 2-7 years postdoctoral experience and at least 1 main authored papers/publications in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals without the involvement of your PhD Supervisor 
  • Consolidator – Grants of up to €2 million over 5 years for excellent, independent researchers with 7 – 12 years postdoctoral experience and at least 5 main authored papers/publications in major international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journals without the involvement of your PhD Supervisor
  • Advanced – Grants of up to €2.5 million over 5 years for established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements (min. 10 years postdoc, significant publication track record)

Guidance and further information can be found HERE.

To browse current and upcoming funding deadlines, visit the Participant’s Portal.

Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA)

The MSCA provide grants for all stages of researchers’ careers – be they doctoral candidates or highly experienced researchers – to pursue transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. The MSCA enable research-focused organisations (universities, research centres, and companies) to host talented foreign researchers and to create strategic partnerships with leading institutions worldwide.

The MSCA aim to equip researchers with the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career, either in the public or the private sector. The MSCA are open to all domains of research and innovation, from fundamental research to market take-up and innovation services. The key investment mechanism of the MSCA are:

  • Doctoral Networks – transnational, collaborative network established to recruit as many as 10 Early Stage Researchers to pursue their PhD and a comprehensive training package to establish their research career
  • Postgraduate Fellowships – global opportunities for ambitious researchers with an established track record to pursue a 12-24-month fellowship where an innovative project can be undertaken under the supervision of an excellent host. These opportunities are available to those who have not spent more than 12 months in the past 3 years of the deadline in the UK.

To browse current and upcoming funding deadlines, visit the Participant’s Portal.

Global Challenges/Clusters & Missions

Topics under this Pillar will boost key technologies and solutions underpinning EU policies and Sustainable Development Goals:

The first calls have been announced and there have been various information events held. You can find the recordings of these webinars below. These webinars cover Pillar II ‘Clusters’. These 6 clusters are inter-disciplinary so there will be opportunity for staff to contribute to different Cluster topics.

Cluster 1 - https://ktn-uk.org/news/horizon-europe-work-programme-funding-calls-health/

Cluster 2 - https://ktn-uk.org/news/horizon-europe-cluster-2-culture-creativity-and-inclusive-society-work-programme/

Custer 3 - https://ktn-uk.org/news/horizon-europe-cluster-3-civil-security-for-society-work-programme/

Cluster 4 - https://ktn-uk.org/news/horizon-europe-cluster-4-digital-industry-and-space-work-programme/

Cluster 5 - https://ktn-uk.org/news/horizon-europe-cluster-5-climate-energy-and-mobility-work-programme/

Cluster 6 - https://ktn-uk.org/news/horizon-europe-cluster-6-food-bioeconomy-natural-resources-agriculture-and-environment-work-programme/

The National Contact Points (NCPs) for these calls are willing to discuss ideas, help find partners and review applications if contacted at an early stage. The list of NCPs can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/horizon-2020-business-grants-uk#find-your-uk-national-contact-point-for-advice

To browse current and upcoming funding deadlines, visit the Participant’s Portal.

Missions: 5 mission areas have been identified, each with a dedicated mission board and assembly:

US Funders


The National Institutes of Health is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world.

A link to the current grants available can be found here along with the NIH Guide.


The National Science Foundation funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants, and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States.

Browse the funding opportunities.