Access information on UKRI and other major funding oportunities, including funding for fellowships and PhD studentships.
- Hints and tips: funder-specific insights
Funder and call insights: Over the Grants Academy programme of Funder Insights sessions recent University of Aberdeen awardees, panel members and funder representatives have shared their expertise, providing 'hints and tips' on a range of funders, summarised below. Please also find funder tips on how to write applicaitons to their schemes.
- UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
UKRI funding opportunities
Please find summary details of UKRI recurring and strategic calls and other UKRI opportunities below. These are not exhaustive; a full listing of calls are available on the UKRI funding finder and ResearchConnect.
High level remits of the UKRI research councils and approaches to cross-council funding are summarised below. Details of activities each council will undertake over the 2022-25 spending review period are set out in the UKRI Delivery Plans.
Cross-council research: UKRI is committed to supporting interdisciplinary (IDR) and multidisciplinary research and the Cross-Council Remit Agreement sets out how UKRI manages research proposals crossing two or more council domains.
For current IDR funding opportunities please refer to the UKRI Funding Finder and Grants Academy Strategic and Interdisciplinary bulletin above. Information on the Grants Academy activities to support the interdisciplinary UKRI cross council response mode call are here.
AHRC: The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) supports 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.
BBSRC: 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. Guidance on BBSRC funding can be found here.
EPSRC: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provides government funding for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in engineering and the physical sciences (including mathematics, artificial intelligence and computer science). Guidance on EPSRC Funding can be found here.
ESRC: 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.
MRC: The Medical Research Council (MRC) supports research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas. Guidance on MRC Funding Opportunities is here.
NERC: The Natural Environment Research Council is the UK's largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation, delivered through universities and research centres. NERC funding guidance and handbooks are here.
STFC: The Science and Technologies Research Council provides research grant funding to UK higher education institutions and research organisations for astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics, and for associated technology development, research infrastructure and knowledge exchange. STFC funding guidance is here.
- Clinical studies and trials funding
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.
Fellowship Support Process: Researchers planning to apply for an independent fellowship are encouraged to engage with the University of Aberdeen Fellowship Support Process. This supportive process is designed to help researchers develop competitve proposals through early idea-stage discussions and refinement, training, mentoring and peer review.
Fellowship calls (non clinical and clinical) are listed in the bulletin below - this is updated monthly but may not be fully exhaustive; other opportunities may also be listed on ResearchConnect and on funders’ webpages.
Most fellowship calls recurr annually; the majority of opportunities listed are expected to open in future rounds.
- 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 (excluding UKRI)
Research grants can support the development of new methods or development or continuation of new research projects or programmes and may involve more than one group or institution.
Many calls support fundamental 'blue sky' research. Increasingly funders are also encouraging proposals from multi-disciplinary teams focussed on novel approaches to tackling challenges of global significance. Grants Academy activities supporting interdisciplinary research are here.
Please find details of opportunities below and under the Major Charities section further down this page. Other opportunities are available on ResearchConnect.
PhD Studentship funding calls (non clinical and clinical) are listed in the bulletin below - this is updated monthly but may not be fully exhaustive; other opportunities may also be listed on ResearchConnect and on funders’ webpages.
Most PhD studentship calls recurr annually; the majority of opportunities listed are expected to open in future rounds.
Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS)
The SGSSS (funded by the ESRC and Scottish Funding Council) funds approximately 60 studentships and organise a year-round programme of training, cohort development and student support. SGSSS work with 16 universities across Scotland, including the University of Aberdeen. Please find details of upcoming PhD funding opportunities for 2024-2029 in the presentation here.
- EU research funding - latest
(The page was last updated on 7 September 2023)
Horizon Europe participation - latest
UK researchers will be able to fully participate in the Horizon Europe programme and Copernicus programmes on the same terms as researchers from other associated countries, including leading consortia, from the 2024 Work Programmes and onwards – including any 2024 calls opening this year. UK and EU scientists and researchers can have confidence in continuing long-term partnerships with their counterparts. The agreement will take effect from 1 January 2024.
For calls from the 2023 Work Programmes, the European Commission will continue to administer transitional arrangements and the UK will continue to provide funding under the UK Guarantee.
Further Information: We will update these pages once more information becomes available. Please contact your EU RDE for further information and support if you are planning to apply to any EU sources of funding.
- Clusters & Missions
Topics under this Pillar will boost key technologies and solutions underpinning EU policies and Sustainable Development Goals:
- Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society
- Civil Security for Society
- Digital, Industry and Space
- Climate, Energy and Mobility
- Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
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.
Missions: 5 mission areas have been identified, each with a dedicated mission board and assembly: EU Missions
- Adaptation to Climate Change: support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030
- Cancer: working with Europe's Beating Cancer Plan to improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and solutions to live longer and better
- Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030
- 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030
- A Soil Deal for Europe: 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030
To browse current and upcoming EU funding deadlines, visit the Participant’s Portal.
- 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.
- Chief Scientist Office
The Chief Scientist Office (CSO) is part of the Scottish Government Health Directorates and has a broad remit to support and increase the level of high-quality health research conducted in Scotland.
Health Improvement, Protection and Services Research £300K (80%fEC) up to 3 years. For projects aimed at improving or protecting population health or improving the quality, safety and/or effectiveness of healthcare in Scotland. 2 calls p.a. (Jan. and Jun.)
Translational Clinical Studies Research £300K (80%fEC) up to 3 years. For research aimed at improving treatments and / or diagnostic approaches for conditions of clinical importance to the population of Scotland. 2 calls p.a. (Jan. and Jun.)
Applied Health Programmes £1M (80%fEC) up to 5 years. For coherent groups of inter-related projects that can have a direct impact in addressing an important Scottish population health or NHS challenge within the lifetime of the programme. 1 call p.a. (Mar.).
Applied Health Centres - new scheme providing 10 years of funding. To be launched 2024.
The Grants Academy will be arranging a Funder Insights session with the CSO in autumn 23 which will be advertised across Schools.
- Defence And Security Accelerator (DASA)
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) funds innovative ideas that benefit the defence and security of the UK and contribute towards growth. Innovation is funded through:
Open Call for Innovation for innovations that address defence and security challenges and receives proposals all year round. Information on assessment dates can be found here.
Themed Competitions offer the opportunity to submit proposals around specific government areas of interest. Themed competitions may only run for a short time and have set closing dates. Themed competitions currently open for applications are available here.
- Scottish and UK government procurement (tender) opportunities (inc. DEFRA)
Public Contracts Scotland is the Scottish Government's official portal for advertising public sector contract opportunities. The University of Aberdeen is a registered supplier on the portal and set up to support University staff apply to public sector calls.
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA): DEFRA advertise regular research and development opportunities, the majority of these are open tender calls advertised on the eCommercial website (Atamis) portal. The University of Aberdeen is a registered supplier on the portal and set up to support University staff apply to DEFRA calls.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO): The FCDO funding finder tool helps potential applicants to view, sort and filter UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding opportunities, across all UK government departments.
Food Standards Agency (FSA): FSA procurement opportunities are advertised on the UK Government Contracts Finder and Find a Tender portals (details below)
All UK Government procurement opportunities: The UK Government searchable Contracts Finder provides information on all procurement contracts opportunities advertised by the UK Government and its agencies in the range £12K to £138,760 (inc VAT).
The UK Government Find a Tender service can be used to search and apply for high value contracts above £138,760, inc. VAT in the UK’s public and utilities sectors.
- Scottish Enterprise
To access forthcoming Scottish Enterprise funding deadlines log in to your Research Connect account and run an Organisation search.
- British Academy
The British Academy provides a variety of grants and fellowships to support academic research, career development and wider engagement across the humanities and social sciences.
Funding is available for UK and international research across all career stages, supporting the best ideas, individuals and intellectual resources. Key calls are listed below. British Academy fellowship schemes are listed in the fellowship bulletin here.
Global Professorships £900K, 4 years. Large investigator-led awards to attract internationally recognised scholars to work in the UK to undertake new, coherent and cutting-edge research. 1 call p.a. (usually Nov.).
ODA International Interdisciplinary Research Projects £300K, up to 2 years. For UK-based early career researchers working with international partners wishing to develop ODA-eligible interdisciplinary projects involving the humanities and the social sciences. Annual (usually Nov.).
Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research Projects £300K, up to 2 years. To support projects which engage questions regarding the relationships between expertise, public understanding and policy delivery internationally. Annual (usually Nov.).
Small Research Grants (with Leverhulme Trust). £10K, up to 2 year. For primary research projects in the humanities and social sciences. 2 calls p.a. (usually May & Nov.).
Talent Development Awards £10K for up to 1 year. To promote the acquisition and advancement of skills in relevant areas by supporting innovative research methods through skills development, collaboration or dissemination. 1 call p.a. (usually Sep.).
- British Heart Foundation
The British Heart Foundation funds research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases.
The BHF supports clinical and non-clinical researchers at all career stages as well as short and long term projects, infrastructure and strategic awards. Key calls are listed below. BHF fellowship opportunities are listed in the fellowship bulletin here.
The BHF operates open deadlines; applications to most schemes can be submitted at any time.
Consultant Research Awards: provide protected time to NHS consultants to undertake substantial cardiovascular research activities in addition to their clinical roles, over 2-5 years.
Clinical Study Grants: For clinical trials and some observational studies of specific patient groups, usually costing more than £350,000 or lasting more than 3 years.
Infrastructure Grants: Up to £1M to fund essential infrastructure to support cardiovascular research; requires an institutional contribution.
New Horizons Grants: To encourage participation in cardiovascular research by scientists from outside cardiovascular biology. To bring novel expertise to the field. Up to £300k for 3 years.
Programme Grants: Longer term (up to five years) and renewable funding to address significant research challenges, intended to support a variety of activities on one strategic research theme.
Project Grants: For short-term research projects lasting up to three years and costing less than £350,000.
Small Meetings & Events Funds: Up to £3,000 towards the support of small meetings in the UK on focused areas of cardiovascular science.
Special Project Grants For projects costing more than £350,000. This grant type supports funding for basic science research and certain observational studies and studies using datasets only.
Strategic Awards: To fund strategic capital needs or a strategic appointment.
Translational Awards: To support the pre-clinical development of new cardiovascular medicines and technologies so that they are attractive for follow-on funding. £750K up to 3 years.
- Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK offers a wide portfolio of funding focussed on discovery research, with priorities in early detection and diagnosis and cancers of unmet need.
Key calls are listed below, in some instances prior approval from CRUK is required before applying – refer to call guidance. CRUK fellowship calls are listed in the fellowship bulletin here.
Biology to Prevention Award: £600K, 5 years. Must contact CRUK to apply. Funding to harness biological and mechanistic insights to provide new targets and approaches to prevention.
Biomarker Project Awards: £300K, 3 years. 3 full stage calls p.a. (usually Feb. Jul., Nov.). For biomarker assay development, validation and qualification, requires clear line of sight to clinical implementation.
Cancer Immunology Project Awards: £300K, 3 years. 2 full stage calls p.a. (usually Jan. & Jul). To build capacity in cancer immunology by funding immunologists from non-cancer fields.
Clinical Trial Award: £1.5M, 10 years. 3 outline calls p.a. (usually Oct., Feb., Jun.). For interventional clinical trials of cancer treatment.
Discovery Programme Awards: £2.5M, 5 years. Outline 2 calls p.a. (Apr & Sep.). Long-term support for broad, multidisciplinary research to answer an interrelated set of questions.
Discovery Programme Foundation Awards: £1.5M, 6 years. Outline 2 calls p.a. (Apr & Sep.). To allow excellent mid-career researchers to develop their independent research group.
Early Detection and Diagnosis Programme Award: £2.5M, 5 years. Outline 2 calls p.a. (Jun & Dec.). For integrated programmes to transform how early cancers and pre-cancerous states are diagnosed
Early Detection and Diagnosis Project Award: £500K, 4 years. Outline 2 calls p.a. (Jun & Dec.). To drive transformational change in how early cancers and pre-cancerous states are diagnosed.
Experimental Medicine Award: £5M, 5 years. 3 outline calls p.a. (usually Oct, Feb. Jun.). For highly ambitious translational research conducted in association with a clinical trial.
Multidisciplinary Project Award: £500K, 4 years. Outline 2 calls p.a. (Jan & Jul.). For collaborations between cancer researchers and engineering/physical science disciplines.
Prevention and Population Research Programme Award: no cap, 5 years. Outline 1 call p.a. (Sep). Long-term support for broad, multidisciplinary research with transformative potential.
Prevention and Population Research Project Award: £300K, 3 years. 2 calls p.a. (Jun. & Dec.). Support for research proposals centred on key questions.
Prospective Sample Collection Awards: Costs per block and blood sample, up to 10 years. 3 calls p.a. (usually Jul, Nov. Feb.). For the prospective collection of samples within a clinical trial.
- Leverhulme Trust
The Leverhulme Trust offers funding across the majority of academic disciplines with the exception of applied medical research.
Early Career Fellowships: £96K up to 3 years for early career researchers who have not held a permanent academic post. Requires a 50% contribution from host institution - please contact relevant Research and Development Executive early to discuss. Annual (usually Feb.).
International Fellowships: £50K up to 2 years. For established researchers to develop new knowledge, skills and ideas in one or more research centres outside the UK. Annual (usually Nov.).
Major Research Fellowships: Replacement salary costs and research expenses for established researchers in the humanities and social sciences to complete a research project for up to 3 years. Annual (usually Feb.).
Philip Leverhulme Prize: £100K for early career researchers whose work has had international impact and whose future research career is exceptionally promising. Annual (usually Jan.).
Research Fellowships: £65K up to 3 years. For experienced researchers in any discipline, must hold a post in a UK university that will extend beyond the fellowship. Annual (usually Nov.).
Research Project Grants: For innovative research projects; £500K can be requested for up to five years. Outline applications can be submitted at any time.
Study Abroad Studentships: Maintenance allowance for postgraduate UK students to study or undertake research for up to 2 years at a centre of learning in any country except the UK or USA. Annual (usually Jan.).
Visiting Professorships: To support UK institutions host eminent overseas researchers for a 3-12month stay. 2 calls p.a. (usually May and Oct.).
- Nuffield Foundation
The Nuffield Foundation awards research funding to original and robust ideas that aim to improve people’s lives. Applications must fall within or across the key areas of Education, Welfare and Justice.
The Foundation will support research from disciplines including, but not limited to: law, psychology, economics, sociology, geography and data and computer sciences. Cross-disciplinary approaches are encouraged as is research that takes into account the trends shaping today’s society.
Research Development & Analysis Fund £300K (will consider awards to £750K where these address the Foundation’s core areas of interest.) For projects focussing on, or cutting across, the domains of Education, Welfare and Justice. 2 calls p.a. (Mar. and Sept.)
Oliver Bird Fund For projects seeking to improve the social and economic well-being of people living with musculoskeletal conditions. Currently closed, future calls will be announced on Nuffield Foundation webpages.
- Royal Society
The Royal Society are the independent, scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.
The Society provide grants and fellowships for outstanding researchers in the UK and internationally including:
APEX Awards (with British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering). £100K up to 2 years to pursue genuine interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research to benefit wider society.
Entrepreneur in Residence: to increase the knowledge and awareness in UK universities of cutting edge industrial science, research and innovation. 1 call p.a. (usually Sep.).
International Exchanges for scientists based in the UK who want to stimulate collaborations with leading scientists overseas through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel
Lisa Jardine Grant Scheme Support for early career scholars to exploit history of science collections in support of research in the field of intellectual history. 1 call p.a. (usually Sep.).
Research Grants £70K up to 18m for scientists in the UK who are at an early stage in their career or returning from a career break and want to purchase specialised equipment and consumables.
Royal Society grant application guidance: see here.
- Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust funds discovery and challenge-led research which has the potential to improve human life, health and wellbeing.
The Trust will support research from across the physical, social, data, life sciences, humanities and clinical research disciplines.
Funding for projects that should generate new knowledge in understanding or new insights into how human life and health work. Types of studies supported include:
- fundamental processes that underpin biology
- complexities of human health and disease, including clinical and population-based approaches
- burden of disease and its determinants, where this brings transformational knowledge
- development of methodologies, conceptual frameworks, technologies, tools or techniques
- needs, values and priorities of people & communities affected by disease and health disparities
- social, ethical, cultural, political, economic and historical contexts of human health and disease.
The Trust's discovery research funding is offered through the following schemes:
Early Career (3 calls p.a. Feb, May, Oct)
Career Development (3 calls p.a. Apr, Jul, Nov)
Discovery Awards (3 calls p.a. Apr, Jul, Nov)
The Wellcome Trust also provide challenge-led research funding in the three areas below.
Essential Open Source Software for Science (Letter of Intent 17 Oct 23)
Strengthening health and disease modeling for public health decision making in Africa (Preliminary deadline: 23 Oct 23)
Neuroscience Capacity Accelerator for Mental Health (Deadline: 24 Oct 23)
Mental Health Award: Understanding how anxiety- and trauma-related problems develop, persist and resolve (Preliminary deadline 14 Nov 23)
The National Institutes of Health is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world.
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.